Concerns continued over the progress of investigations into crimes under international law during the war between Georgia and Russia in August 2008 and in its immediate aftermath. Despite some progress, solutions for the housing and integration of internally displaced people remained insufficient.
The May municipal elections, while assessed favourably by international observers, were accompanied by reports of harassment and intimidation of some opposition candidates. In October, amendments to the Constitution due to enter into force in 2013 were made which will significantly reduce the presidential powers, and increase the powers of the Prime Minister and the government.
The situation remained tense in and around Abkhazia and South Ossetia, regions of Georgia which had declared themselves independent in 2008 following the war between Russia and Georgia. Discussions in Geneva which began that year as part of the ceasefire agreement remained largely deadlocked.
Civilians also continued to suffer from harassment and insecurity in the Gali region of Abkhazia, where shoot-outs, killings and acts of arson were reported in June.
Apart from small-scale production of ATS, Georgia produces no narcotic drugs. However, because of its location bridging Asia and Europe, Georgia is becoming a major transit corridor for drugs of abuse produced elsewhere. One major drug route runs from Afghanistan and Iran through Azerbaijan and on to Western Europe and Russia. Drugs also transit through Georgia to Western Europe from Greece and Turkey. Another suspected route involves long-haul TIR trucks. These trucks are supposed to be inspected for contraband at their place of origination, and then sealed for their trip onward. However, many observers believe that they represent a major corridor for drug smuggling. The separatist territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia are beyond the control of Georgian law enforcement, and there is speculation that drugs flow through these areas. This information cannot be verified as there is little or no exchange of information on drug trafficking between the Russian occupying forces or the de facto governments of these territories and the Government of Georgia.
Georgia has a domestic drug problem. Among other drugs, heroin, Subutex, methadone and marijuana are available on the domestic market. Subutex is a trade name for buprenorphine, produced throughout Europe, and used for the treatment of opiate addiction. However, this substance is not a registered medication in Georgia and thus not legally available. The drug is smuggled in and abused for its opioid content. Street prices for intravenous drugs continued to increase in 2010. Domestic production and use of methamphetamines, pseudo-ephedrine derived drugs and abuse of other pharmaceutical drugs, especially in urban areas, is also on the rise.
The country entries are prefaced by five regional overviews (Africa; Americas; Asia-Pacific, Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa) and a foreword by Claudio Cordone, interim Secretary General of Amnesty International, entitled Pursuing Justice: For all rights, for all people.
Together, the different elements detail a year in which accountability and effective justice seemed a remote ideal for many, as people’s lives continued to be torn apart by repression, violence, discrimination, power plays and political stalemates. But the report also celebrates real progress. It reveals how it is harder now for perpetrators of the worst crimes to feel confident that they will escape justice.