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Kakheti Population Demands to Remove the Polygon of Reservists Unit from the Area

July 3, 2007


Residents of the villages of Gremi and Grdzelichala in the Kvareli district demand either to remove the polygon of the Telavi Reservists’ Unit from the area or to severe the security measures for reservists. The villagers became furious after the accident several days ago. According to the initial information reservists murdered Aleksi Khutsurauli by a machine gun. Local people claim that very often gun blazing result into a fire. Villagers find bullets on the pasture and in their yards.

Telavi Reservists’ Unit is trained on the polygon close to the village of Shakriani in the Kvareli District. Although Shakriani and other villages in the district are separated by a high mountain, population of the villages of Gremi and Grdzelichala complain about the noise and bullets that fall in the surrounding area. The villagers petitioned to the Kvareli District Administration regarding the problem and urged for the assistance; however there was no result. “We have applied to the Administrative Board but nobody replied to us. Reservists are trained on the polygon. In addition to terrible noise bullets from the automatic gun are falling down in the area,” said Vano Tsigroshvili, a resident of the village of Grdzelichala in his conversation with the Human Rights Center.

“Gun shooting very often results into a fire and we live in constant danger. As we are far from the district center and the road is in bad conditions, fire-engines cannot get to our village on time. We have to put out the fire on our own,” said Besik Gozalishvili.

Short time ago, eighty-year-old Aleksi Khutsurauli was murdered by the gun machine and local people got more concerned regarding the situation.

“My husband and I were working on the plot. Suddenly I heard gun shot and asked my husband if he had heard the noise, but he did not answer, just moaned and fell down. Coming up closer I noticed he was wounded. I called the neighbor for help they called for the first aid but they could not help him. They withdrew bullet from his abdomen,” said Tebro Khutsurauli, wife of the dead man.

 Law enforcers launched criminal case under the Criminal Code Article 116 on the accident. The article envisages imprisonment from one to four years for a murder without due caution. According to Archil Bozhadze, the head of the Kvareli District Police Department, the case was passed over to the Military Police of the Ministry of Defense after the scene of the accident and the body of the murdered person was examined. Officials from the District Police Department sent the case materials to the Ministry because of the reason of Khutsurauli’s death.

Officials from the Military Police Department within the Defense Ministry confirm that on Shakariani Polygon reservists were firing from gun machines on the day of Aleksi Khutsurauli’s death.

“The reservists were really trained on the day of the accident. Although they were shooting in the area, the distance between the scene of the accident and the polygon was more than two kilometers. In addition to that there is high mountain between those scenes. Consequently, we cannot claim anything until investigation finishes,” said   Archil Mamageishvili, Deputy Chief of the Military Police Department.

Lawyers state that if the investigation concludes that Khutsurauli was murdered by reservists, the family of the dead person will have right to demand compensation from the Ministry of Defense under the Georgian Civil Code. However, the lawyers doubt the investigation will be carried out impartially.

In order to avoid the danger the local population demand to remove the Shakriani Military Polygon from the area or to severe the security measures. They will petition to the Ministry of Defense with the demand.

Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti