Georgia submits new lawsuit against Russia to European Court of Human Rights

Archil Tatunashvili's body was returned to his family only 26 days after his death and all inner organs were removed. Photo:Nino Alavidze/, 22 Aug 2018 - 15:24, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian Justice Ministry has submitted a suit against Russia to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg.

The suit accuses Russia of being responsible for several murders and multiple human rights violations in the occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia).

“Massive assaults, detainment, harassment and the murders of Georgian citizens has become administrative practice in the occupied regions and in settlements along the occupation line."

"These violations were reinforced after the Russia-Georgia August 2008 war and reached a critical peak in February 2018 with the torture and murder of Archil Tatunashvili,” reads the statement from the Justice Ministry.

35-year-old Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili died in unclear circumstances in Georgia’s occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region on February 23. His body was returned to his family only 26 days after his death and all inner organs, including his brain, had been removed from the body.

The results of the autopsy carried out by the Georgian National Forensics Bureau show that he was tortured and sustained more than 100 injuries all over his body while alive.

Georgia demands that the European Court of Human Rights find Russia responsible for violating several articles of the European Convention of Human Rights:

  •  the right to life
  •  the prohibition of torture
  •   the right to liberty and security
  •   the right to respect private and family life
  •  the right to an effective legal remedy
  •    the right to property
  •   the right to education
  •   the right to free movement

Officials stressed that that these violations are discriminative and are targeted to oppress and intimidate ethnic Georgians to prevent the return of Georgians to the occupied regions.

Archil Tatunashvili was posthumously awarded the Order of Honour. Photo: Ministry of Defence

The ministry placed special emphasis on the high-profile murder cases of Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria and David Basharuli as the most important part of the suit.

The Georgian Prosecutor’s Office is investigating Tatunashvili’s case but as Tskhinvali region is occupied and controlled by Russia, it does not have the ability to identify all circumstances of the murder and to charge all persons involved in the case.

Georgian investigators do not have the possibility to observe the place of the murder. The representatives of the occupied region have refused to return the inner organs, clothes and mobile phone of the victim. The persons charged for the crime have not been detained as they are on Russian controlled territory.

Another individual lawsuit Archil Tatunashvili v.s. Russia was also submitted today to the ECHR by Georgian non-governmental organisation Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture Empathy.

Experts prepared the report consisting of 87 pages and concluded that Tatunashvili’s death was the result of severe torture.

According to the results of the Russian autopsy that de-facto Tskhinvali officials gave to the International Committee of the Red Cross while transferring the body, Tatunashvili died of acute heart failure caused by myocardial ischemia on February 23.