Tamar Gegelia


This article discusses self-defense in the context of domestic violence. In Georgian reality, the boundaries of self-defense are generally narrowly defined; however, when self-defensive violence occurs in the family when the aggressor is an intimate partner and the defender is a woman, the accused faces even more barriers to justice, which is determined by gender stereotypes and traditional views on domestic violence. There is a difficult situation regarding femicide in Georgia; in 2021, 22 women were killed just because they were women. Women are killed by their intimate partners, and the antecedents of the murder are similar. Women turn to the police for protection from violence, but to no avail. In such a horrifying reality, where the state, whose obligation it is, does not protect a woman from a violent partner, limiting the right to self-defense is another violation of the state’s obligation to protect life and physical integrity. A correct and bold interpretation of the right to self-defense by the court is necessary to weaken the aggressor on the one hand and to strengthen the defender on the other hand. In the Georgian reality, by trivializing domestic violence and leaving it in the personal space, more barriers are created for women to reach justice by being obliged to endure the aggression of a tyrant husband/partner. In the article, the author tries to show by observing a judicial practice that artificial barriers limit the right to defend oneself against the aggression of an intimate partner; a woman is punished for injuring the aggressor, while the law should justify her. Single acquittals cannot change systemic injustice, but the author’s goal is to show and analyze such significant decisions so that more people can learn about correct judicial interpretations. According to the author, discrimination based on gender is characteristic of Georgian justice; by identifying problems and critically analyzing court decisions, she tries to show the ways of legal regulation of the problem.