General Proposal on Age-Based Discriminatory Practices against Children under 10
On July 20, 2020, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed the Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, and the Head of the Levan Samkharauli National Forensics Bureau with a general proposal relating to the prevention of age-based discriminatory practices during forensic psychiatric and complex psychiatric-psychological examinations.
A motive for the examination of the case was the statement of Sapari (a non-commercial legal entity), according to which, they identified several cases when the Forensics Bureau did not evaluate the information obtained during the several-hour questioning of juvenile witnesses under the age of 10.
After summarizing the factual circumstances of the case and the obtained statistical information, the Public Defender concluded that the results of the above examination of children under the age of 10 were similar to each other, as it had not been established in any of the cases studied since 2017 that during the forensic psychiatric and complex psychiatric-psychological examination, the child under 10 could correctly perceive, remember or convey important circumstances of the case. In addition, the relevant legal act does not establish a different rule for the questioning of juveniles.
The Public Defender explained that children under the age of 10 need to be treated differently from people over the age of 10, depending on their mental maturity. The fact that there are no special guidelines for conducting forensic psychiatric or complex psychiatric-psychological examination of juveniles at this stage puts minors under the age of 10 in an unequal position. Such a practice constitutes discriminatory treatment on the ground of age, as the existing general rule has a negative impact on children under 10.
Therefore, the Public Defender addressed the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia with a general proposal to develop special guidelines and regulations at the normative level for conducting forensic psychiatric and complex psychiatric-psychological examination of juveniles under 10 and those aged between the ages of 10 and 18. The Public Defender also addressed the Levan Samkharauli National Forensics Bureau with a general proposal to take into account the best interests and needs of juveniles in the process of conducting forensic psychiatric and complex psychiatric-psychological examinations and evaluating the examination results, as well as to assess each case on the basis of individual and factual circumstances and characteristics.
 Order N142 of the Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia on the Rules of Forensic Psychiatric Examination, 19 June 2008.