Gov’t to pay compensation to victims of previous authorities ‘much earlier than demanded’

Zurab Vazagashvili was killed in 2006, under the United National Movement leadership. Photo: RFE/RL., 01 Nov 2019 - 17:00, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian government will pay €50,000 compensation to the family of Zurab Vazagashvili, the man who was shot and killed under United National Movement (UNM) leadership in 2006, “much earlier” than demanded by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Georgian Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani said.

The ECHR announced its verdict in the case of Zurab Vazagashvili in July 2019, which came into force on October 18, 2019.

Starting October 18 we had three months to pay the compensation. We discussed the issue at today’s governmental meeting and the money has already been allocated for this purpose,” Tsulukiani said.

The ECHR said in its judgement that the right to life was violated and the investigation was delayed and ineffective in the case.

The Georgian Chief Prosecutor’s Office under the Georgian Dream leadership opened the case in February 2015, which resulted in the arrest of 11 former police officers.

Father of Zurab Vazagashvili, Yuri Vazagashvili was killed at his son's grave in the winter of 2015. Photo: RFE/RL. 

The ex-officials conducted premeditated murder motivated by revenge of Zurab Vazagashvili and Aleksandre Khubulow,” the Prosecutor’s Office stated then.

Before the case was opened, Vazagashvili’s father Yuri Vazagashvili was killed by an alleged bomb detonation while visiting his son’s grave in their native village in January 2015.

  • Vazagashvili and Khubulov were shot and killed by a police special unit while the pair were driving in a car in central Tbilisi on May 2, 2006. 
  • Police claimed they responded with gunfire only after shots were fired from the men's vehicle. But families of the two young men and their lawyers challenged the official account. 
  • Authorities closed the investigation into allegations that police used excessive force for lack of evidence in April 2007. 
  • After the change of government in 2012, Georgian Dream coalition legislators said new evidence had emerged after the family of Vazagashvili and its lawyers obtained alternative ballistic examination results, reportedly showing that no shots were fired from inside the car.
  • The Vazagashvili family appealed to the ECHR in 2007.