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On 31 July 2014, whilst discussing the 2013 Report of the Public Defender of Georgia at the extra session of the Parliament, Manana Kobakhidze compared the statistics of not-guilty verdicts during the offices of the United National Movement and the Georgian Dream coalition. According to her, the percentage of not-guilty verdicts was equal to 0.1% whilst nowadays it has significantly increased.

FactCheck

took interest in Manana Kobakhidze’s statement and verified its accuracy.

According to Article 270 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Georgia, a not-guilty verdict means that the charges against the accused could not be confirmed. On the other hand, the court rules the accused to be guilty if the charges have been confirmed beyond reasonable doubt.

FactCheck wrote

about court verdicts from 2004 to 2012 earlier in the year as well. According to the data of the Supreme Court of Georgia, 64 410 guilty verdicts (out of 64,537 cases) were passed in nine years. The average percentage of guilty verdicts of nine years is 98.5%.

Table 1:  Number and Percentage of Guilty Verdicts from 2004 to 2012
Year Court Cases (Number of Persons) Guilty Verdicts Percentage of Guilty Verdicts
2004 9109 9071 99.6
2005 7978 7899 99.0
2006 12101 12063 99.7
2007 10787 10774 99.9
2008 9361 9331 99.7
2009 7365 7347 99.8
2010 4089 4081 99.8
2011 2415 2359 97.7
2012 1332 1215 91.2

Similar data of 2013 and 2014 can be found on the website of the Supreme Court of Georgia. (The court cases are calculated by subtracting the number of discontinued cases from the general number of court cases. The number of guilty verdicts is calculated by subtracting the number of discontinued cases, not-guilty verdicts and partial acquittals from the general number of court cases.)

Table 2:  Number and Percentage of Guilty Verdicts in 2013 and the First Six Months of 2014
Year Court Cases (Number of Persons) Guilty Verdicts Percentage of Guilty Verdicts
2013 1707 1587 92.9
First Six Months of 2014 2463 2318 94.1

According to these tables, the percentage of guilty verdicts from 2004 to 2010 was equal to 99%. These numbers started to reduce from 2011 and reached the minimum of 91% in 2012. The percentage of guilty verdicts was equal to 92% in 2013 whilst in the first six months of 2014 it amounted to 94%.

FactCheck took interest in the statistics of verdicts passed in European countries as well. Based upon the data of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, FactCheck

calculated the percentage of guilty verdicts in European countries from 2004 to 2012.

Table 3:  Percentage of Guilty Verdicts from 2004 to 2012
Country 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Austria 56.3 55.2 53.3 52.3 54.1 52.5 50.9
Bulgaria 76.8 81.7 85.6 88.8 82.1 86.8 85.1
Denmark 83.4 82.8 82.9 83.6 83.1
Latvia 93.1 93.9 96.5
Lithuania 59.4 62.0 62.9 61.9 61.9 59.3 65.4
Romania 73.6 69.9 45.5 41.9 78.0 82.3
Slovakia 80.3 80.2 80.0 79.4 78.3 78.7 81.1
Slovenia 56.2 55.6 57.1 51.4 51.7 54.1 55.1
Hungary 91.1 91.2 92.8 92.5 92.7 88.6
Croatia 71.4 73.1 74.1 75.3 74.3 74.9 77.3

The table makes clear that the percentage of guilty verdicts in the majority of the listed countries is much lower than the Georgian statistics.

Conclusion In order to verify the accuracy of Manana Kobakhidze’s statement, FactCheck

looked into the public information provided by the Supreme Court of Georgia. The lowest number of not-guilty verdicts from 2004 to 2012 – 0.1% was recorded in 2007 whilst the highest number was in 2012 (8.8%). Hence, Manana Kobakhidze’s statement that the percentage of not-guilty verdicts was equal to 0.1% for nine years is exaggerated but not too far from the truth.

Ms Kobakhidze is also right when talking about the high number of guilty verdicts during the office of the previous government. However, it should be pointed out that in the last years of the United National Movement’s office, these numbers started to reduce and the numbers of 2012 are lower than those of 2013 and 2014.

In addition, analysis of the statistics of European countries showed that the number of guilty verdicts in Georgia is still very high and is still more than 90% even during the office of the new government. Only two of ten European countries listed by us have such high numbers (90% or more). Hence, the part of the context of Kobakhidze’s statement about the improved situation is also not accurate.

We conclude that Manana Kobakhidze’s statement:  “We remember when the not-guilty verdicts amounted to 0.1%… the number of not-guilty verdicts has significantly increased,” is HALF TRUE.

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