On 31 March 2015, after the President’s annual address before the Parliament, a member of the Parliamentary Majority, Giga Bukia, discussed the issue of Georgia’s judiciary. In his speech, he underscored the shortcomings in the judicial system under the previous government and stated: "I want to give an example of what was happening in the judiciary under the previous government. There was only one case of acquittal out of 18,000 cases discussed in the courts throughout 2008."

FactCheck

took interest in the accuracy of Giga Bukia’s statement.

In speaking of the statistics of the judiciary, the MP referred to criminal cases and we analysed the respective data. According to statistical data of the Supreme Court of Georgia there was a total of 17,878 cases discussed in the courts of first instance against 21,287 individuals.

Of this amount, 8,432 criminal trials (against 9,361 individuals) were held and 30 individuals (21 cases) were fully acquitted whilst 234 individuals (183 cases) were partially acquitted.

The table below illustrates the statistics of the cases where individuals were convicted.

Year

Number of Cases Heard in Court (Individuals)

Conviction Verdict

Conviction Verdict Rate (%)

2004

9,109

9,071

99.6

2005

7,978

7,899

99.0

2006

12,101

12,063

99.7

2007

10,787

10,774

99.9

2008

9,361

9,331

99.7

2009

7,365

7,347

99.8

2010

4,089

4,081

99.8

2011

2,415

2,359

97.7

2012

1,332

1,215

91.2

The next table illustrates the statistics of the years 2013-2014.

Year

Number of Cases Heard in Court (Individuals)

Conviction Verdict

Conviction Verdict Rate (%)

2013

1,707

1,587

92.9

2014

5,098

4,830

94.7

FactCheck has written on court verdicts before (see link 1, link 2).

Conclusion

Throughout 2004-2012 of the cases considered at the courts of first instance the lowest acquittal rate was registered in 2007 at 0.1% whilst the highest acquittal rate was registered in 2012 (8.8%). Thirty individuals (21 cases) were acquitted in 2008 of a total of 21,787 individuals (17,798 cases).

Giga Bukia is not right to claim that there was only one case of acquittal. However, it must be noted that the context of Mr Bukia’s statement is appropriate to point out a very small number of acquittals.

FactCheck concludes that Giga Bukia’s statement: "There was only one case of acquittal out of 18,000 cases discussed in the courts throughout 2008," is MOSTLY FALSE.

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