Will Nobody Be Punished for the Tragedy Which Ended With Death?!
Three people died in Gurjaani on the construction which was carried out through violating security norms. Tamaz Kavlashvili, Vasiko Abesadze and juvenile Imeda Sisiauri died under ruins. They were building a wine-cellar in the yard of Zurab Ferishvili, former partner of the Air Company “Georgian Airways”. Regarding the accident, criminal case was launched at the Internal Ministry’s Gurjaani Office; however, victims do not bring suit against the employer and the investigation might be dropped.
The tragedy happened on May 28 2007 near the village of Velistsikhe in Gurjaani district. When wine-cellar was being built in the yard of Zurab Ferishvili’s house, the wall of the neighbor’s house was pulled down. Four men were caught under the ruins. Three of them died and one survived. The witnesses say that Ferishvili was there during the accident. “He was observing the construction process and was giving directions to the workers. He has been building a wine-cellar in his yard for a year already. He left the place when the wall pulled down,” said one of the witnesses.
Nino Abesadze, a neighbor of Ferishvili, whose wall was pulled down, said that they had warned their neighbor to stop illegal construction several times. They also warned him against the danger.
According to the Construction and Architect Department within the Gurjaani Municipality, the construction in Ferishvili’s yard was illegal. “We learned about the construction when the wall pulled down and people died as a result. The building was so large that it could not have been built on the area. No security measures were taken during the construction; there was neither project, nor ecological conclusion nor permission on construction. Nobody has applied to us regarding the illegal construction,” said Lali Khachishvili, a specialist-in-chief for the Architect Department.
Although residents of the village of Velistsikhe claim that territorial representatives of the Municipality and local authority had information about the construction, district governor, Ramaz Kerechashvili categorically denies it.
“Nobody has applied to the Municipality regarding the construction. I really did not know anything. I cannot claim if any official had information about it and kept it in secret. I had conversation with the head of the village administration and he also confirmed that had no information about the construction. It was an accident and those people, who were responsible for the building, will be punished. Those people who gave permission on construction will be severely punished,” said Kerechashvili.
Gia Natsvlishvili, President’s Representative to Kakheti Region, visited the scene of tragedy and stated that criminals would be severely punished. “Even a dilettante could guess that it was impossible to build something here. It is a crime and any person, who carried out illegal construction here, will be severely punished,” the gubernator could not help his astonishment.
Internal Ministry’s Gurjaani Department launched criminal case on the. However, according to our information, the investigation might be dropped. “The criminal case was launched under the Georgian Criminal Code Article 240, Section II which envisages the restriction of freedom for five years or imprisonment for the same term. Zurab Kumelashvili, an investigator of the Internal Ministry’s Gurjaani Department was in charge of the investigation. We will make final decisions after the investigation finishes. As for the using juvenile labor on the construction, it is not envisaged by the criminal code,” said Zurab Bikashvili, Gurjaani Deputy Prosecutor. Gurjaani district Prosecutor’s Office monitors the investigation on the accident.
According to the testimonies of witnesses, the wine-cellar was being built under Ferishvili’s directives. Thus, the construction was not being carried out by any building company or group of qualified builders. Ferishvili had hired the workers. “Sixteen-year-old Imeda Sisauri had just left the school. He started working on construction to earn money to buy clothes for school farewell party. Some other children worked here like him. The fourth person, who survived, Vasiko Abesadze, is seventeen years old too. His father pushed him away and he survived,” said neighbors of Ferishvili who want to stay anonymous.
Lawyers define that sixteen-year-old juvenile can start work; however, s/he cannot be employed at hard work which might damage his mental or physical development.
“In this particular case, the employer had blatantly violated Labor Code as well as Criminal Code though labor deal was not official. Juvenile cannot be employed at dangerous work even though a legal representative agrees with it. Other questions, related to the labor deal, which are not regulated by Labor Code or some other special law, are envisaged udner the Georgian Civil Code. According to the latter, family members of the dead people, if they are found victims, can launch civil argument and demand reimbursement for the damage,” said Lia Khuroshvili, lawyer for the Human Rights Center.
Relatives of the dead people said that they are not going to appeal to the police. According to the spread information, Zurab Fersivhili has financially supported them.
Zurab Ferishvili does not want to make any comments on the situation.
Criminal investigation might be dropped because of victim side does not bring suit and the fact is not denied at the Prosecutor’s Office in private talks. It must be pointed out that the investigation does not have any suspect so far.
Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti
Grazi for mkanig it nice and EZ.
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