05:33, Saturday, 23.02.2019
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Property registration issue near the occupation line


Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli

Eredvi municipality was fully occupied as a result of 2008 Russian-Georgian armed conflict. The occupation line divided one of the villages, Berula, in two. The village forest, pastures and agricultural plots are now in the occupied part of the village. 

The demarcation line, so-called “border” is dividing the village in two. The occupation line is not marked accurately in the village and local Ilia Beruashvili said that when Russian and Ossetian soldiers were marking the border, locals protested it and finally part of their land and village cemetery was left behind the occupation line. 

Ilia Beruashvili showed us the iron chocks which were initially installed to make the so-called “border.” Those chocks are now on the Georgia-controlled territory.

“When they were setting up banners and fences here, I and some of my neighbors went out and protested it. Maybe, our protest did not change much, but at least we managed that the so-called border was set up several meters away they had planned,” Beruashvili said. 

The creeping occupation forced Ilia Beruashvili to start registration of his agricultural land.

First he applied to the Gori office of the National Agency of Public Registry, where he received a refusal. The NAPR told him the plot was situated on the occupied territory and they could not register it.

“Regardless many explanations that the plot was situated on the Georgian controlled territory, I could not achieve their positive answer and finally I lodged administrative complaint to the NAPR. The latter answered the same – they refused to register the land,” Beruashvili said.

Ilia Beruashvili appealed the court. On May 16, the Gori district court fully satisfied his administrative lawsuit and ordered the NAPR to register the land located alongside the occupation line as a property of Ilia Beruashvili.

Instead enforcement of the judgment of the Gori district court, the NAPR decided to appeal the decision at the Tbilisi Appeal Court. Their representative stated at the hearing that they planned to appeal the judgment in order to receive the ruling of the Supreme Court of Georgia and establish the common case law over similar cases.

HRC lawyer Aleksi Merebashvili defended interests of Ilia Beruashvili in the court.

“The court satisfied the administrative lawsuit of Ilia Beruashvili and ordered the NAPR to register the land as his property. The Court ruled that the land is not occupied and the NAPR is obliged to register it. As far as I know the Agency has already appealed the decision that is a pity. However, on the other hand, it may become a good practice, as with the established case law, people, who have similar problems, will be able to register their lands without court disputes,” Merebashvili said.

HRC representatives visited Berula village on the ABL and studied the situation on the place. The main problem of locals is registration of agricultural plots.

HRC representative Ucha Nanuashvili said the residents of the villages alongside the occupation line are our fortress guards and the state shall pay attention to them and resolve the problems at least in connection with the registration of their properties.

“Illia Beruashvili’s land is not in the occupied territory; it is situated close to the occupation line but behind the banner. He will not face any problem to cultivate it. The Government of Georgia exercises both de-facto and de-jure jurisdictions over this territory. Regardless that, the NAPR groundlessly refused him to register the property,” Ucha Nanuashvili said.

Ilia Beruashvili is convinced that the higher instances of court will upheld the decision of the Gori district court and he will have his land registered. Moreover, many more residents of his village, who also have similar problems, are waiting for the final decision of the court. 

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