ESTSS Virtual Conference 2021

The European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies is proud to present its very first Virtual Conference, which will happen on June 17th and 18th 2021. The topic of the conference will be: Trauma and mental health during the global pandemic.


The global COVID-19 pandemic has brought many unexpected changes regarding how we live our lives, from the way we connect with others, to the way we work. It has therefore never been more important to come together and exchange the latest research findings and clinical work experiences related to the global pandemic.  Guest speakers will present their research and clinical work experiences regarding this complex topic from different perspectives, leading to an exciting, enriching discussion of this current topic.

Please find out more on the conference’s website:

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ICC Trust Fund for Victims Starts Assistance Mandate in Georgia for Victims of 2008 August War


The Georgian Coalition for International Criminal Court (GCICC) welcomes the decision of the board of directors of the ICC Trust Fund for Victims regarding starting of assistance mandate for the support of victims of the 2008 August War.

12 Years since the August War, the victims live in unbearable socio-economic conditions in the places of resettlement and near the administrative boundary line. The grave housing conditions, the non-existence of the employment opportunities, impossibility of agricultural work, lack of medical services, lack of income generating activities and educational opportunities are especially problematic. Covid-19 pandemic further aggravated the existing conditions. The worsened conditions revive the traumas of the 2008 August War. The report published by the Georgian Coalition for ICC “10 Years after the August War – Victims of the Situation in Georgia describes the problems that victims come across in their daily life in detail.

In order to advocate for the solution of the problems revealed as a result of the report, the GCICC held numerous meetings with the ICC Trust Fund for Victims. As a result, the Trust Fund started to assess the situation of the victims. The assessment aimed to reveal as to what kind of harm the victims suffered as a result of the August War and what impact it had on their current state. During this period, the GCICC actively cooperated with the Trust Fund and provided information for the relevant assessment of the current state of the victims.

The Trust Fund for Victims decided to start assistance mandate in Georgia after the completion of the assessment, on November 10, 2020. This information became known to wider society on December 1, 2020. According to the information disseminated by the Trust Fund, the program is addressed for victims of the 2008 August War who live in the IDP settlements, as well as those living on both sides of the administrative boundary line. The program covers several types of assistance, including, medical treatment, psychological rehabilitation and material support for the improvement of the livelihood conditions. This program will be implemented for 3 years at this stage. According to the Trust Fund, additional detailed information regarding the program will be published after the consultation with the government of Georgia, civil society and the victims of the August War.

The GCICC welcomes the decision of the Trust Fund for Victims and considers that in this situation, the starting of concrete assistance programs for the victims has substantial meaning for easing their hard livelihood.

The GCICC expresses readiness to continue active cooperation with the ICC Trust Fund and promote timely and effective implementation of the assistance mandate.


The member organizations of GCICC:


Georgian Center for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT)


Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA)


Human Rights Center


Rights Georgia


Justice International

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IRCT elects new Executive Committee and President

IRCT elects new Executive Committee and President

The IRCT General Assembly was held on October 6 - 9, 2020 with an impressive participation and accountability from IRCT members across the globe. Although the General Assembly was virtual, due to the extraordinary circumstances, the connectedness and togetherness was felt and celebrated by all participants. The General Assembly culminated in the unanimous approval of the Global Standards on Rehabilitation and the election of the new Executive Committee and President.

IRCT warmly welcomes Lela Tsiskarishvili as President. Lela is Executive Director at the Georgian Centre for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT). Cristian Urbalejo was elected as Vice-President. Cristian is the Executive Co-coordinator at Collective against Torture and Impunity (CCTI).

The new Executive Committee and President Lela Tsiskarishvili bring new ideas and a fresh direction for IRCT. Lela Tsiskarishvili is especially learned on issues of sexual gender-based violence and LGBTQI rights and brings with her extensive experience from the field and from her previous position as Executive Committee member.


"In an increasingly violent world, with a shrinking space for human rights and civil society, we can only do this if we support each other and act in unison, both within IRCT and within the global human rights community. The coming years we will do all that is within our power to make our voice heard, and make a strong contribution to the defense of human rights globally."Lela Tsiskarishvili, IRCT President

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Training on Istanbul Protocol

On July 20 -23 an online training was held in Ukraine focused on the provisions of the Istanbul protocol presenting the international guidelines for effective investigation and documentation of torture ill treatment. The training was organized by the Georgian center for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT) and Association of Psychiatrists of Ukraine (UPA). The training was implemented within the frame of the EU funded project Combating Torture and Ill-treatment in Georgia, Armenia and Ukraine.

The training was attended by 53 representatives of Ukrainian penitentiary system and was conducted by Georgian and Ukrainian experts (doctors, psychiatrists and lawyers), who have practical experience in working with Istanbul Protocol guidelines. During the meeting further cooperation was planned between the participants, which will contribute to the process of implementation of Istanbul Protocol in Ukraine.

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Training for Trainers

Online training skills for trainers– TOT training was held via Zoom platform in Ukraine on July 9-10 by Yuriy Trokhymenko, the director of development of the Center for Humane Technologies (AHALAR). The event had 8 participants, who are supposed to conduct trainings about Istanbul Protocol in the future. The training was also attended by project coordinators from Georgia and Ukraine: Sophio Tabaghua (GCRT ) and Julia Pievskaya (UPA).

The main objective of the training was to discuss the important issues, related to pandemic restrictions and the ways to conduct the trainings online.

The topics of the discussions were:       

● Challenges of online trainings ● working with the ZOOM video service ● working with online boards ● Methods of team involvement ● Services for creating surveys ● Warm-ups and energizers online ● Motivation ● Communication

Another online training was held on July 15-16, for multidisciplinary team of 11 participants, consisting of psychiatrists, psychologists and lawyers. The topic of the training was “Istanbul protocol investigation and documentation of torture and ill treatment”. Trainers and organizer of the event were: Lela Tsiskarishvili (GCRT), Sopio Tabaghua (GCRT) Julia Pievskaya (UPA).

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