Public Defender Describes Imprisonment of Drug Users as Unconstitutional
On June 15, 2016, the Public Defender filed a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court, in which he disputes the constitutionality of article 45 of the Code of Administrative Offences of Georgia and article 273 of the Criminal Code of Georgia.
According to the Public Defender, the use of drugs without doctor's prescription is punished by a 15-day administrative detention, while in the repeated case drug users are punished by a fine of up to 1000 GEL and a 1-year jail, which is not in line with the public threat that may be caused by the actions envisaged by the mentioned articles, and therefore, is contrary to paragraphs 1 and 2 of article 17 of the Constitution of Georgia, pertaining to protection of a person from degrading and inhuman punishment.
It should be noted that a necessary element of a crime envisaged by article 273 of the Criminal Code of Georgia is an action, for which a person had already been held responsible; this is contrary to the principle of prohibition of repeated punishment of a person for one and the same crime, enshrined in article 42 of the Constitution of Georgia - "No one shall be convicted twice for the same offense."
In addition, the Public Defender considers that it is necessary the country to carry out humane drug policy and to focus on rehabilitation and treatment rather than on punitive measures.