UNM demands impartial group monitors investigation into late PM's death

UNM believes that only the truth could bring to end the “public speculations' over the late PM's case.
Agenda.ge, 27 Mar 2014 - 09:03, Tbilisi,Georgia

United National Movement is demanding the creation of an independent group to oversee the investigation into the death of late Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania.

The opposition stated that despite their demands to make investigation materials public, "it seems that the Government is not ready for this”, and this was why UNM wanted a group to oversee the investigation.

UNM wanted the group to consist of representatives from political parties, local and international non-governmental organisations and independent experts.

UNM representative Givi Targamadze voiced the party’s demands at a briefing last night. He said the group had to be familiar with materials from the initial and reviewed investigations.

UNM also wanted the group to have all the materials made public, including the findings of a report by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

It wanted the group to be provided with the full video materials compiled during the initial investigation, and the group must have an opportunity to meet those arrested so they can exclude the possibility that pressure was put on them.

"All the investigative actions including exhumation have to be carried out after fully informing the group, fully recording the process in the form of video and audio in order to avoid fabrication possibilities during the re-examination process,” Targamadze stated.

He added all the renewed expertise must be carried out by recognised agencies without any pressure being put on them.

UNM believed "public speculation” surrounding the death of the ex-Prime Minister would only end when the truth is revealed. Only then people could appreciate his "unique legacy towards Georgia instead of [engaging in] dirty gossip”.

Earlier, the opposition party blamed the Government for leaking graphic photos featuring Zhvania’s corpse with the number of injuries which may have been related to his death.

The photos were compiled into a one-minute youtube clip that was leaked on the internet earlier this month.

"The statement made by Irakli Garibashvili through the media is a direct directive to the investigative bodies about what its findings have to be. In particular PM Garibashvili has clearly stated that Zurab Zhvania was assassinated and [ex-President] Mikheil Saakashvili is possibly guilty of this case,” Targamadze said.

The initiative proposed by the UNM has been responded by the Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili today. He said no independent group of trustees would be created.

"How it is possible to create an independent group of trustees for people who where ruling for nine years and had every condition to investigate any case. Of course, no group will be set up especially with UNM paritcipation. It is a complete nonsense," Garibashvili commented to journalists.

Zhvania died in suspicious circumstances in 2005. The body of Raul Usupov, who at the time was the deputy governor of Georgia's Kvemo Kartli region, was also found at the scene. The first investigation claiming the men died of carbon-monoxide poisoning from a faulty heater, was found to be inaccurate.

Yesterday at a briefing held prior to the release of UNM's statement, the late PM’s wife, brother and mother addressed society and asked politicians and media to restrain from talking about this case as the investigation was still ongoing.

"When there is a verdict and if any political party or the private person will have any questions they will have the right to appeal to the Strasbourg Court [the European Court of Human Rights],” the late PM’s mother, Rema Zhvania said.

"It is a terrible suffering for our family, for the children of Zura," she added.