The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
Challenges: The Rose Revolution in November 2003 brought to power reformers dedicated to building U.S.-style law enforcement and legal systems consistent with international standards. A strong foundation for law enforcement cooperation, judicial/court structure transformations, and probation reform has taken shape. Widely publicized corrections system abuses contributed to a change in elected government officials in 2012 which produced reforms in the corrections system implemented to enhance respect for human rights. The establishment of a jury trial system in 2017 presents new challenges for the judiciary and the public in understanding and implementation. The need for increased judicial independence also persists. Law enforcement requires continued training on engaging with the public, appropriate crowd management tactics, and service-oriented policing.
Goals: INL assistance aims to strengthen the rule of law through practical skills training for law enforcement officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges, and corrections and probation officers. Efforts also focus on improving Georgia’s capacity to fight transnational crime, including human trafficking, narcotics trafficking, and cybercrime, counter corruption, increase judicial independence, and advance implementation of criminal procedure reforms needed to create a justice system that meets international standards. Additional goals include: enhancing forensic capacities to scientifically examine evidence and crimes scenes; supporting the implementation of the new jury trial system; assisting with prison reform, including improving the effectiveness of probation as an alternative to incarceration; building relationships between the police and wider community, including high schools students and educators; designing and expanding strategies and curriculum to address juvenile delinquency; and increasing access to justice. INL programming contributes to the broader U.S. objective of assisting Georgia in its efforts to realize its goals for Euro-Atlantic integration through implementation of its Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free-Trade Agreement with the European Union. INL’s programs bolster democracy and the rule of law in Georgia and ultimately enhance regional stability.
- INL programs have helped Georgia establish the use of jury trials in criminal cases through advising on legislation and training judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys.
- INL funding has advanced Georgia’s ability to detect and investigate narcotics trafficking through its law enforcement and canine training programs.
- INL programs have supported the first operations central emergency dispatch system in a country formerly under Soviet rule, vastly improving both response times and coordination of emergency services.
- INL programs have also redeveloped and professionalized the Patrol Police; trained and certified crowd management personnel; expanded the length of the police academy training; introduced scenario-based instruction to supplement theoretical instruction at the police academy; fostered joint exchanges between the U.S. state of Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Laboratory and Georgia Public Safety Training Center and their country of Georgia counterparts; and provided domestic violence training and criminal procedure code training and assistance in implementation across the justice sector.
- INL’s work with the forensic pathology laboratory and morgue to conduct autopsies and develop forensics evidence for criminal cases has led to the international certification of several forensics disciplines in Georgia’s laboratories.
- Since 2011, INL has hosted a Women in Policing Conference each year, highlighting the work of and challenges faced by females in law enforcement. The annual event, which provides training and networking opportunities, began with a focus on Georgian law enforcement and has grown to include 300 female police officers from 11 European countries.
- INL also funds probation and corrections program training, assistance, and advising to improve the system and reduce abuses. In 2016, INL’s anti-Trafficking in Persons (TIP) program helped Georgia achieve Tier 1 ranking in the annual Trafficking in Persons Report and continued programming to combat trafficking in persons serves to maintain the Tier 1 designation for Georgia.