Georgia

Overview:  Georgia continued its robust engagement on counterterrorism issues in 2022 and remained a strong U.S. security partner.  The terrorism situation in Georgia remained quiet and stable, although the State Security Service of Georgia (SSSG) thwarted an attempted assassination of an Israeli national in a plot allegedly led by Iranians associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in November.  In 2022, Georgia convicted five Georgian citizens who had been detained in 2021 for affiliation with ISIS and arrested another individual on similar charges.  Georgia enacted its 2022-26 National Counterterrorism Strategy and Action Plan, introduced harsher measures for the false reporting of terrorist acts, and enhanced its anti-money laundering/threat finance and countering WMD efforts.  The country worked to improve its land border and maritime security by participating in international exercises and U.S.-conducted trainings.

2022 Terrorist Incidents:  There were no terrorist incidents in Georgia during 2022.  However, in November the SSSG reported that it had detained a Pakistani national and dual Iranian-Georgian national in connection with an attempted murder of an Israeli national in Georgia.

Legislation Law Enforcement and Border Security:  The Georgian Criminal Code criminalizes terrorism and acts that support terrorism, including terror financing, cyberterrorism, training, incitement, and recruitment into terrorist organizations, as well as foreign terrorist fighters.

In 2022, Georgia began implementation of its second National Counterterrorism Strategy and Action Plan for 2022-26, following the conclusion of the 2019-21 Action Plan.  The Georgian government also introduced harsher measures for the false reporting of terrorist acts.

Georgia is generally capable of detecting, deterring, and responding to terrorism incidents.  The SSSG has the mandate for terrorism-related incidents and investigations and works closely through its Counterterrorism Center with the Ministries of Internal Affairs, Justice, and Defense and the Prosecution Service of Georgia, among others, as well as with international partners.  SSSG is generally well equipped and well trained, and its Counterterrorism Unit continues to receive regular training and equipment from international partners and conducts internal training.

Because Russia occupies the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia does not control a portion of its internationally recognized land border with Russia and therefore must enforce security along administrative boundary lines with its occupied territories.  Georgia’s Border Police and Coast Guard, both competent and organized, provide the initial response capability along Georgia’s land and maritime borders, respectively, except along the occupied territories.

In 2022, Georgia worked to improve its land border, aviation, and maritime security.  It finalized the 2023-27 Integrated Border Management Strategy in December.  Early in 2022 the country operationalized its Advanced Passenger Information and Passenger Name Record systems in close cooperation with airlines, international partners, and relevant government agencies.  In May, NATO recognized Georgia’s Border Police Coast Guard Boarding Team as an Operational Partner to the NATO-led maritime antiterrorist operation “Sea Guardian.”  Georgia equipped a substantial segment of its border with Azerbaijan with a 24/7 video surveillance system.  Additionally, authorities increased security measures and reinforced the border protection by constructing e-fences and barrier ditches across the perimeter of the southern border of Georgia.  Georgia regularly participates in INTERPOL document and traveler information sharing, to include stolen and lost travel documents.

No Georgian nationals were identified as traveling to Syria or Iraq in 2022 for terrorist activities.  Georgia did not repatriate any FTFs or associated family members from Syria or Iraq.  In May, Tbilisi City Court convicted five individuals who had been arrested in August 2021 for membership in ISIS and plans to travel to a terrorist camp in Syria.  In December, SSSG detained Tsiskara Tokhosashvili, the brother of ISIS commander Tsezar Tokhosashvili, on charges of joining ISIS and assisting terrorist activities in Syria and Iraq.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs has requested U.S. government support to address resource constraints that inhibit efforts to secure the borders, such as procuring iris readers for airports, replacement engines for patrol boats, and equipment for Rapid Response teams.  The Border Police maintains control of Georgia’s green borders by patrolling from 65 border outposts, about 10 of which are primitive or in poor condition — inadequate for housing personnel year-round.  As a result, sections of the border in high-altitude locations along the northern border with Russia cannot be manned during the winter months, leaving these areas open to illicit activity.

Georgia’s law enforcement prevented far-right, pro-Russia group Alt-Info’s plans from disrupting Tbilisi Pride in June 2022.  Alt-Info is a far-right, pro-Russia group associated with violent extremism including with the organization of and the execution of violent attacks against dozens of journalists and activists during the July 5, 2021 Tbilisi Pride event and a July 6, 2021 protest against the July 5 violence.   Alt-Info protestors demonstrated in a separate location during the event.  No group leaders or organizers of the violence at the 2021 event, including Alt-Info and far-right networks associated with violent extremism, were held legally responsible in 2022.  Alt-Info and its political party arm Conservative Movement also expanded its presence throughout the country.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism:  Georgia is a member of MONEYVAL (the Committee of Experts on the Evaluation of Anti-Money Laundering Measures and the Financing of Terrorism).  Its FIU, the Financial Monitoring Service of Georgia, is a member of the Egmont Group.

In May, Georgia established a new commission aimed at preventing, detecting, and suppressing money laundering/threat finance and WMD proliferation.  The commission held two sessions in 2022 dedicated to implementing MONEYVAL recommendations, including the application of targeted financial sanctions in relation to persons linked to terrorism and terrorist financing and strengthening its capacities on practical enforcement of UNSC sanctions at the national level.  In December, Georgia became a member of the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation’s (Europol’s) Terrorist Finance Tracking Program.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2022 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes.

Countering Violent Extremism:  In 2022, Georgia continued efforts, including CVE, focused on minority integration, education, media access, youth, and cultural diversity.

International and Regional Cooperation:  Georgia is actively engaged on CT issues at international, regional, and bilateral levels.  Georgia is a member of the following organizations:

  • The United Nations
  • The Council of Europe
  • The OSCE
  • INTERPOL
  • The Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova Organization for Democracy and Economic Development

In 2022, Georgia participated in UN, EU, U.S., and NATO training and conferences, including the Eighth Council of Europe Committee on Counterterrorism in May.  The nation also joined Europol’s Counterterrorism Joint Liaison Team in December.  Georgia cooperates closely with NATO.  Georgia applied to join the European Union in March.  In June the European Commission established Georgia’s eligibility to become a member of the EU, but deferred giving it official candidate status until after certain conditions are met.

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