Georgia is not a significant producer of narcotics or precursor chemicals, but is a secondary transit route for narcotics flowing from Central Asia to Europe. Although the government is aware of the potential problems, counternarcotics remained a low priority issue for Georgian law enforcement agencies, which continued to focus their efforts on perceived threats to political stability. Law enforcement agencies are over-staffed, under-equipped, poorly paid, and have a reputation for corruption. Corrupt and ineffective law enforcement, combined with Georgia’s geographic location as the focal point of an emerging “Eurasian transit corridor,” creates the potential for Georgia to become an important narcotics transit route in the future. The situation is exacerbated by the government’s lack of control over all of its territory and borders. Responsible government officials have requested US assistance in training and equipping their personnel. Through the export control program the US has provided limited training for the border guards and customs officials. A team from the UN Drug Control Program (UNDCP) visited Tbilisi in November to discuss cooperative activities.
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Developments
Human rights progress in Georgia stagnated in 1996. Abuses persisted, especially torture and other forms of mistreatment in detention, arbitrary detention, appalling prison conditions, use of the death sentence, corruption of law enforcement officials and the judiciary, and harassment of some political dissidents.
The cease-fires relating to the internal wars between the central government and the breakaway regions of South Ossetia (1992) and Abkhazia (1992-94) continued to hold, preventing a return to large-scale violations of the laws of war. Spontaneous returnees to Abkhazia suffered reprisals and death, and most of the estimated 250,000 people, overwhelmingly Georgian, who fled that region were afraid to return. The Georgian side made some progress in determining accountability for war crimes committed by Abkhazian fighters, but most war criminals from both sides went unprosecuted, fueling an atmosphere of lawlessness and impunity that adversely influenced general human rights protection.