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Vakhtang Khmaladze, Chairperson of the Legal Issues Committee, when discussing draft amendments to the Law on Occupied Territories of Georgia at the plenary session of the Parliament on 15 May 2013 stated the following:

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Under the current Criminal Code, there are two different regimes for illegal crossing of the state border regarding the use of sanctions and the rule of entering the occupied territories. The difference is that the imposed sanction for crossing the border is higher while it is lower in the case of violating the rule for entering the occupied territory. In one case, illegal state border crossing entails criminal liability and is punishable by imprisonment. Breaking the rule for entering the occupied territory also entails criminal liability; however, in this case the sanction can be either a fine or imprisonment."

Shota Malashkhia, Member of the Parliamentary Minority, clarified that under the existing Criminal Code, the same consequences apply to illegal border crossing in both occupied and non-occupied territories.

After the explanation provided by Malashkhia, Khmaladze spoke only about punishment measures: “Illegal crossing of the state border and the breach of the rule for entering the occupied territories are punished differently and measures are different. In the first case, it results in three-to-five years of imprisonment and, in the second case, it is  two-to-four years of imprisonment.”

FactCheck

wondered if there were two different regimes established for state border control under the current Criminal Code.

Under the existing Criminal Code, illegal crossing of the controlled and uncontrolled state border entails the same criminal liability [either fine or imprisonment] which, in the first case, is regulated by Article 344 under the Criminal Code and, in the second case, by Article 3221

under the same Criminal Code as well as by the existing Law on Occupied Territories.

In regard to punishment measures, they differ; namely, illegal state border crossing is punishable by a fine or three-to-five years of imprisonment. Either a fine or two-to-four years of imprisonment applies to illegal state border crossing in the occupied territories.

According to the statement made by Vakhtang Khmaladze, illegal state border crossing is punished by imprisonment and the breach of the rule for entering the occupied territories is punished by either a fine or imprisonment. In reality, the fine and imprisonment apply to both cases. This was explained to Khmaladze at the session but he did not make any further comments.

Conclusion

Under the current Criminal Code, different regimes do not apply to occupied and non-occupied state border crossing and both cases entail criminal liability, although punishment measures are different.

Correspondingly, we rate the statement made by Vakhtang Khmaladze: “Under the existing Criminal Code there are two different regimes for the state border,” MOSTLY FALSE.

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