Loading

On air on Imedi TV, the Minister of Defence of Georgia, Tina Khidasheli, stated: "I made a simple decision, abolishing the practice of disciplinary barracks in the Georgian Army. All of the previous ministers, including the ones previously appointed by the Georgian Dream coalition, failed to make this decision before me."

FactCheck

took interest in the accuracy of this statement.

According to the 15 April 2015 Directive of the Minister of Defence of Georgia, the use of disciplinary barracks in the defence system was banned.

Disciplinary barracks comprised a detention facility for soldiers arrested during their duty and have existed in Georgia since Soviet times. This form of detention, for various violations provided for by the Administrative Code of Georgia, was used against professional soldiers and conscripts on duty for a maximum of 30 days. The placement of a soldier in the disciplinary barracks was first recorded in the legislature of the independent Georgian state in 1994 in the form of the Disciplinary Code of the Armed Forces issued by the President of Georgia. In 2006, on the orders of the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, the Disciplinary Code of the Armed Forces was reregulated. This document regulated, among many other issues, the use of disciplinary barracks in the army. The most recent changes to the legislature were made in 2014, under Minister Mindia Janelidze, after which the functioning of the detention facilities in the defence system was regulated once again.

The Minister of Defence of Georgia first presented the initiative of abolishing the practice of the detention of military personnel on 6 November 2015. According to the information

of the Ministry of Defence of Georgia, this initiative was based upon the internal inspection of the Ministry which found that the disciplinary barracks were not an effective means of detention and, therefore, needed to be abolished. In addition to abolishing these facilities, harsh financial sanctions were to be put in place for disciplinary violations previously punishable by administrative incarceration.

The situations in the disciplinary barracks have upon numerous occasions been criticised by the Public Defender of Georgia. According to the 2006 and 2007 Reports of the Public Defender of Georgia, among other things, conditions unsuitable for living were also observed in the military detention facilities. According to the 2006 data, a total of six disciplinary barracks were functioning throughout the country; however, this went down to just two facilities in the following years (those situated at the Senaki and Vaziani military bases).

Conclusion

The practice of placing military personnel in disciplinary barracks was established in the Soviet era and was used continuously in the Georgian Army after independence as well. The 15 April 2016 Directive of the Minister of Defence of Georgia prohibited the placement of military personnel in disciplinary barracks and was substituted by financial sanctions (deduction of fines from wages and so on).

FactCheck concludes that the statement made by the Minister of Defence of Georgia is TRUE.