09:40, Sunday, 17.01.2021
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Renewed investigation into Khorava street murder case


Natia Gogolashvili

The Ministry of Internal Affairs is questioning the witnesses into the murder case of Khorava Street. MIA has been questioning the witnesses for several days already. Among witnesses are the teachers too. The Ministry plans to repeatedly question about 100 individuals. 

Human Rights Center’s lawyer Nestan Londaridze said, who is the advocate of Zaza Saralidze’s family, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has admitted that multiple violations were done during the first investigation. 

“The Head of the Government promised us that there is a political and legal will to effectively investigate the case, study all details and achieve real results. We were told at the MIA, that they have some significant achievements although not many people have been re-interrogated yet. The MIA promised, soon we will see different result. They admitted that there are multiple violations in the investigation and the process was conducted unlawfully. We agreed that the victim side will have access to the case files and we receive information about the ongoing procedures every day,” Nestan Londaridze said.

Public Defender of Georgia also requests re-investigation of the case. Nino Lomjaria said they will request the case files.

“We are studying the case files. I offered Zaza Saralidze to study his case together with his lawyers so that we did not conduct the process separately. It will be better if we have coordination and we all together follow the case proceeding. I expect to have some news from the investigation. There is agreement that all issues will be investigated,” Nino Lomjaria said. 

The Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze also echoed the Khorava street case. He said it is essential that the investigation answered all questions and they are working in several directions. Kaladze said all questions will be answered soon. According to the Mayor’s evaluation, the mentality of the youth is also problematic based on which they refused to cooperate with the investigation.

„The process is going on in several directions. MIA and prosecutor’s office are working and soon the parliamentary commission, which was established, will also commence work. It is very important and if the families have any questions, they will be answered. We know that only 4 out of 100 witnesses cooperated with the investigation and I think it is serious problem. It is problem of our mentality. There was a controversy between the youth and it ended with the murder. Unfortunately, there are witnesses but they are not speaking about details. We need to work hard and it will take a time to change this mentality. It should be a shame; it should be tragedy for everybody and nobody shall be proud for it. It takes a time,” Kakha Kaladze said. 

One of the leaders of the parliamentary majority Mamuka Mdinaradze said that the legislative body took adequate step to establish the temporary investigative commission. 

“It is essential that each child and parent, who witnessed this astonishing crime, took civic responsibility and gave detailed testimony to the investigation,” Mamuka Nadiradze said. 

Human rights organizations disseminated joint statement, which reads that current crisis stresses the need of clear political will for meaningful, timely and fundamental elimination of systemic problems that have built up overtime. The civil society organizations request comprehensive and effective investigation. It is also essential to hold politically responsible and dismiss those officials who failed to ensure implementation of consistent, meaningful and effective reforms in the field of criminal law and justice. 
“The authorities should ensure comprehensive and effective investigation and fair prosecution of the Khorava Street murder case, including abuse of power and possible instances of falsification in service by officials linked with the case. It is essential that the scope of the ad-hoc parliamentary investigation commission is not limited to the investigation of the Khorava Street murders and possible crimes by officials connected with the case. Rather, its mandate should also cover the recently serious cases of excessive use of power by the law enforcement, where the matter of human rights protection was critical. To hold politically responsible and dismiss those officials who failed to ensure implementation of consistent, meaningful and effective reforms in the field of criminal law and justice; To ensure broad involvement in the process of selection of the new Chef Prosecutor, in order to allow selection of an unbiased candidate based on consensus. The authorities should immediately renew the work to create effective and meaningfully independent investigative mechanism that will not only investigate but also have the function to criminally prosecute crimes perpetrated by representatives of the law-enforcement system. The authorities should demonstrate meaningful will for reforming the justice system and launch a fundamental reform of the Prosecutor’s Office, the Interior Ministry and the State Security Service in an immediate manner,” the statement reads. 
MIA renewed the investigation into the Khorava street accident after the Prime Minister assigned the case for renewed investigation to the Minister of Internal Affairs. 

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