Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL)

The U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) assists the Government of Georgia (GOG) to strengthen the rule of law through practical skills training for law enforcement officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges.  INL efforts also focus on improving local capacity to fight transnational crime, including human trafficking and narcotics trafficking, and advancing implementation of criminal procedure reforms to create a justice system that meets international standards, enhances regional stability and security, and helps support Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration.

For more than a decade, INL has implemented various law enforcement, criminal justice, and rule of law projects and held trainings locally and overseas. INL funds a number of implementers, including the Resident Legal Adviser Office of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (DOJ/ODPAT), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Rule of Law Initiative of the American Bar Association (ABA-ROLI), and the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Budapest, Hungary.

International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Staff

The INL section is currently staffed by eight full-time employees:  The INL Program Director; Senior Police Advisor; Police Advisor; Probation Advisor; and four Foreign Service Nationals. The INL-funded Resident Legal Advisor (RLA) section includes an Assistant U.S. Attorney and two Foreign Service National staff attorneys.

Click here to see all INL Projects throughout Georgia

To mark International Anti-corruption Day, the Bureau of International Law Enforcement and Narcotics (INL) continued its efforts to strengthen the capacity and independence of Georgia`s criminal justice system and improve its ability to fight organized crime and corruption by partnering with the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) to host a three-day virtual “Public Corruption and Law Enforcement Techniques” course conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Investigators from the Anti-Corruption Agency of the State Security Service of Georgia (SSSG) along with the prosecutors will learn how the FBI conducts investigations into all manners of Public Corruption in the US. In addition to Georgia, participants from Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan will take the course.

Every year on December 9th, International Anti-corruption Day raises public awareness on the importance of fighting against corruption, which is criminal, immoral, and the ultimate betrayal of public trust.  Corruption thrives in times of crisis and the ongoing global pandemic is no exception. Reducing the risks of mismanagement and corruption during the pandemic requires the involvement of even stronger anti-corruption bodies, better oversight over emergency support packages, more open and transparent public procurement, and enhanced anti-corruption compliance by the private sector.  INL’s partnership with ILEA takes another important step toward a society empowered to fight corruption.

On December 2, as part of The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (reftel 20 STATE 113288), INL-Tbilisi delivered donated clothes, food, and toiletries to the Tbilisi domestic violence intake center. This center is the first point of entry for victims of domestic violence into the social safety net that will enable them to leave their abusers and begin new lives.  Director Indira Robakidze was thrilled that we included men’s clothing in this series of gifts – unfortunately, Georgian victims of domestic violence regularly include male LGBTQI persons and victims of elder abuse.  The center has taken over the *111 children’s hotline for reports of abuse/neglect of children, which will help facilitate removing children from abusive homes, but also took away three dormitory spaces to house the operators and intake office.  INL’s Senior Police Advisor and Program Manager discussed with Director Robakidze the need to open another shelter in Mtskheta due to the increase of domestic violence in Georgia even before the COVID lockdown-caused increase. They also talked about future needs for the center: a learning center to teach work skills, structural and equipment improvements to the medical facility, and a proposed intake facility modeled on U.S. best practices that will enable police, prosecutors, medical officers, counselors, and DV advocates to process incoming sexual assault, DV, and child case victims.

The United States continues to actively support Georgia’s judicial reform and development amid pandemic. We are pleased to announce that the exchange of best practices and training for Georgian criminal judges is actively being conducted, most recently through a series of workshops by U.S. judges and experts in cooperation with Georgia’s High School of Justice. Workshops are focused on practical subjects such as the admissibility of relevant evidence, evaluating hearsay, and presiding over domestic violence trials.
We are happy to see a great interest from participants and their wish to continue such exchanges in the future. Ambassador Kelly Degnan will also join one of the sessions on managing document-intensive cases to provide introductory remarks and encourage Georgian judges.

Special thanks to the U.S. Embassy’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) for funding these workshops. We are looking forward to future cooperation between our DOJ legal advisors, the judiciary, and the High School of Justice.

Employees of the U.S. Embassy donated 19 “Personal Care” bags to the Tbilisi Domestic Violence Intake Center as care packages for women seeking safety and a new beginning after experiencing domestic violence.  The bags contained personal care items necessary to support women who arrive at the shelter without any support or belongings. The supplies are intended to fill the void between arrival and the beginning of state services after a woman is classified as a victim. 

For more than seven years INL has provided classes to the Ministry of Internal Affairs on both the response and investigation of domestic violence incidents.  Additionally, INL has been instrumental in the development, adoption, and training of domestic violence advocates for police and prosecutors.

Today Ambassador Kelly Degnan opened the 9th Annual Women in Policing Conference organized by U.S. Embassy’s International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau (INL). This conference is designed to empower, inspire, and educate female members of the criminal justice system.

Studies show that female law enforcement officers police differently than their male counterparts – they use less force when confronted with resistance, they are less likely to be the subject of citizen complaints, and they often use their verbal skills to de-escalate situations without resorting to physical force. Although the percentage of women involved in law enforcement has increased throughout the world, there are still barriers to their full participation in both promotions and assignments. Through this conference, the U.S. aims to play part in addressing these issues and empower women to help them serve the public at their maximum capacity.

The U.S. Embassy’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) joined the 16-day campaign against gender-based violence by providing a weeklong training to the Georgian police titled “Domestic Violence Practical Intervention.” The classes were taught by U.S. police officers from the Covington Police Department in the state of Georgia, who shared best practices in law enforcement with their Georgian counterparts in order to improve Georgian law enforcement officer’s capacity to effectively respond to gender-based crimes by ensuring the safety of all parties including police officers.

The INL bureau has been working with Georgian law enforcement agencies for many years. Training needs are defined in close cooperation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia and in response, the INL bureau offers specialized, needs-based training programs to improve the capacities of Georgian law enforcement officers.

Each year, the world marks “16 days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence” starting on November 25 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), and ending on December 10 (Human Rights Day). This campaign is used to call for global actions to increase awareness and take action for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

Last week (April 15-18, 2019) the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs section of U.S. Embassy Tbilisi, in cooperation with the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) Budapest hosted the 8th Annual International Women in Policing workshop (WIP) in Budapest, Hungary. INL began hosting the workshop in Tbilisi in 2012, offering female police officers the opportunity to meet their counterparts from around the world, to share experience, exchange best practices, and learn new skills from experienced instructors.

WIP 2019 attracted 101 female police officers from Georgia, Hungary, Ukraine, Moldova, Kosovo, Albania, North Macedonia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Bosnia Herzegovina. The workshop focused on leadership topics presented by law enforcement leaders from the United States, Canada, and the Tbilisi, Georgia police academy.

US Department of State and INL strive to empower and inspire women police officers from around the world and promote their involvement into law enforcement and their country’s decision-making process. At the end of the workshop. U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Richard Glenn, joined the event to address the participants during the closing ceremony.

A human trafficking operation in Marneuli might have gone undetected if police from this small city in the southern portion of the nation of Georgia hadn’t known what to look for and how to ferret out this pervasive and inhuman crime.

Only a month earlier, at the invitation of the U.S. Department of State, officers from Georgia’s Central Criminal Police Department attended training in combating human trafficking. Officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) provided the training at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest.

Run for more than two decades by the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, the International Law Enforcement Academies (ILEAs) bring together law enforcement professionals from around the world to combat transnational organized crime, including trafficking and terrorism, through strengthened international cooperation.

Grigol Gogochashvili from Georgia’s Central Criminal Police Department was the team leader for a group at the ICE Trafficking in Persons Course in April 2018, part of the broader ILEA Budapest Anticorruption Series.

The weeklong course, which is offered 10 times annually across the five overseas ILEAs, aims to build the ability of law enforcement officials to monitor and combat trafficking in persons. The training covers victim identification techniques as well as best practices for how to work with a victim and get a conviction of the trafficker.

Specific topics include fundamentals of victim assistance, the cycle of violence in trafficking and the role of social media in trafficking, among others.

Carlos Ortiz of ICE, who has given anti-trafficking training at a number of ILEAs, describes the training as victim-based.

“There’s nobody — no part of the investigation — more important than the victim,” ~ ILEA instructor Carlos Ortiz

Gogochashvili did not know how soon he would use that training. Within a month of his team’s return to Georgia, the police department was informed of suspicious activity at a “hotel-type facility.” Gogochashvili recognized the unusual behavior of two women at the scene from his recent training.

“We got these indicators, exactly like the indicators we’d learned about at the ILEA training,” he said through an interpreter. Using procedures learned through ILEA, the department gathered information and conducted a covert investigation into the operation, said Gogochashvili. The police removed the victims and soon after made two arrests.

Gogochashvili said that what made the April course valuable to him was both the instructors and the participants “sharing hands-on experience that I would later use in my job. The trainers there were active law enforcement officials with vast experience in working with trafficking cases.”

The International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Section (INL) of the United States Embassy in Tbilisi continues assisting the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia Patrol Police Department.   December 110-14,INL and Dunwoody, GA Police Department delivered the third training this year in the traffic and accident prevention program.   20 patrol police officers from Tbilisi and the regions attended the course on “Traffic Crash Investigation”.  Traffic crash investigations consume an inordinate amount of a police officer’s duty hours.  However, this training detailed techniques to significantly reduce the time spent investigating and documenting (non-injury) crashes.  Dunwoody police taught the officers how to investigate and appropriately document non-injury accidents that will satisfy legal standards, citizen’s concerns, and provide the necessary information for insurance companies.  All training participants received a certification of completion and were able to successfully demonstrate their understanding of traffic crash investigations during practical exercises.   As a result of the training, the patrol police will use new tools for documenting traffic crashes and significantly shorten time spent on the entire process.

Nineteen inmates at the Rustavi #16 prison have successfully completed the first prison culinary course, funded by the U.S. Embassy’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. Deputy Chief of Mission Nicholas Berliner personally congratulated participants on this achievement and enjoyed trying their food. This innovative program aims to give inmates the skills they need after release to find gainful employment and reintegrate into society.

The International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Bureau (INL) of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi continued to support training on domestic violence response for criminal justice practitioners.  On October 24-28,  INL sponsored two classes on domestic violence, domestic violence investigation and domestic violence intervention, for Adjara police officers in Batumi.  Over 40 representatives of the patrol police, district police, and criminal police from Adjara learned about U.S. law enforcement best practices on domestic violence, including coordinating with victims’ advocates, interview techniques, investigationand officer safety skills.  Police officers and victims’ advocates from Seattle Police Department and Covington Police Department taught the two classes. INL is committed to working with local partners to fight injustice and promote laws and court systems that are fair, legitimate, and accountable.

On September 20, Ambassador Kelly visited Georgia’s 112 Emergency Dispatch center, where operators receive, analyze, and transfer incoming calls to police, fire rescue, and ambulance.  The center operates 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.  Founded in 2012, the center serves all of Georgia and was the first 112 center in the post-Soviet region.  The U.S. government, through the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, donated 14 dispatch consoles to the center in 2014 and continues to support the center by organizing and funding study visits to internationally accredited 911 centers in the United States.  Ambassador Kelly met with the center’s director, Giorgi Bichashvili, and learned about the center’s capabilities.

The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) of the U.S. Department of State and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) will present the newly published Commentaries on Georgia’s Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, December 1, at 4:00 p.m.

One of the U.S. Government’s top foreign assistance priorities in Georgia is to support rule of law reform efforts, and the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) is central to this process.  INL has been funding the American Bar Association Rule of Initiative`s (ABA ROLI) four year-long “Program to Support Judicial Sector Reform in Georgia” since 2012.  The program aims to build a more effective criminal justice sector by promoting the professionalism and preparedness of the defense bar to conduct criminal cases under the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).

ABA ROLI has recently completed a year-long process of developing the CPC commentaries, and will host an official launch event to mark this success.

The commentaries aim to provide a non-binding interpretation of complex legal provisions, with the goal of facilitating uniformity of practice and clarity of law in an important criminal justice field.  ABA will present the compilation of commentaries that Georgian practitioners – judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and academics – have developed over the past year.

The event will once again demonstrate high-level U.S. support for Georgia’s important and ongoing reforms in the rule of law.  Supreme Court Chairperson Nino Gvenetadze,  Alexander Baramidze, First Deputy Minister of Justice of Georgia and Chief Prosecutor Shotadze will participate in the event.

US Embassy Press Officer Dan Hastings took part in a weeklong Public Information training seminar provided by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs at Georgia’s Police Academy.  Approximately 30 press officers from various sections of the Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of State Security  attended the seminar which taught best practices in the sharing of public information by law enforcement bodies.  Press Officer Dan Hastings shared his insights on the importance of maintaining effective communication with the media. The training is part of the United States long-standing commitment to help partner countries around the world strengthen law enforcement and community relations practices.

On July 16 a delegation from the Wisconsin Corrections Department led by Secretary Edward Wall attended the opening of prison #16 in Rustavi with the Prime Minister Gharibashvili and the Minister of Corrections and Probation Giorgi Mgebrishvili. Speaking at the event, INL Director Tracey Newell underscored the U.S. government’s ongoing commitment to promoting greater development of Georgia’s correction system and expanded cooperation with Wisconsin Corrections Department in Georgia

On July 16 in Rustavi, Georgia, representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) will join their Georgian counterparts, U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland, and the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) to unveil a new model prison.  The facility will serve as a prototype for reform and a more effective correctional system in Georgia, thanks in part to resources and training provided by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

The exchange and development program between Georgia and Wisconsin began in 2013 at the request of the Georgian Government.  Previous to this exchange INL, together with other international donors, conducted an evaluation of the Georgian prison system that identified critical training needs for the Ministry.  INL has partnered with the Wisconsin Corrections Department to provide corrections officer staff with a set of trainings in security measures, prisoner classification, and prisoner behavior and risk analysis.

The resulting partnership, facilitated by INL, has allowed the Wisconsin DOC to share its operational and rehabilitation program knowledge with the Government of Georgia.  The Wisconsin’s DOC system is designed to safely and humanely house prisoners while offering programs for prisoners to successfully reenter the community upon release.  Aspects of these principles of prisoner management and best practices will be piloted at the new medium risk prison, to further model professional, internationally accepted practices for the rest of the Georgian correctional system.