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Address of Human Rights Center to the Government of Georgia with regard to Archil Tatunashvili’s case

11.05.2018

Human Rights Center (HRC) call on the Government of Georgia to actively use all international mechanisms to ensure effective investigation into the case of Archil Tatunashvili’s murder and prepare and submit inter-state application to the European Court of Human Rights against the Russian Federation. 
 
The facts of kidnapping of people, illegal restriction of movement and disappearance alongside the occupied territories of Georgia and occupation line cause serious concerns. Every year, hundreds of citizens of Georgia become subjects of kidnapping and illegal restriction of movement in the occupied territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which is becoming more and more alarming. Kidnapping and alleged intentional murder of Archil Tatunashvili in Tskhinvali is the fact of our particular concern.  
 
On February 22, 2018 Archil Tatunashvili died in the occupied Tskhinvali as a result of physical violence and ill-treatment. The family received the body of the deceased man a month later on March 20 as a result of oppression from the Government of Georgia, civil society and international organizations. He had multiple injuries on the body, which indicate at his torture. Later, it became known that during the expertise carried out by the de-facto authority of South Ossetia, the internal organs were removed from the deceased. Currently, Levan Samkharauli National Forensic Bureau is carrying out the expertise to estimate the causes of Archil Tatunashvili’s death. In order to conduct comprehensive research, the forensic bureau needs the internal organs of the deceased man and the de-facto authority of Tskhinvali and the Russian Federation are responsible to send them the organs.  
 
Mtskheta district prosecutor’s office started investigation into Archil Tatunashvili’s case under Article 108 of the Criminal Code of Georgia (intentional murder). Giorgi 
Tatunashvili, the father of the deceased man, received the status of victim’s representative, who visited the Mtskheta district prosecutor’s office several times together with his advocate Tamar Avaliani, head of the HRC legal aid service; he was interrogated in the prosecutor’s office and had access to the case files. 
 
Considering the abovementioned situation, it is necessary that the Government of Georgia used all international legal and diplomatic mechanisms to estimate the real causes of Archil Tatunashvili’s death and to punish perpetrators. 
 
In accordance to the European Convention on Human Rights, the member state shall appeal to the European Court of Human Rights with regard to alleged violation of the European Convention and its additional protocols. Consequently, it is necessary that the State of Georgia submitted the inter-state application to the ECtHR against the Russian Federation. The Russian Federation is the state which has control over the occupied South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Consequently, the application shall be submitted against the Russian Federation. 
 
Georgian human rights organizations (including HRC), two months ago, addressed and called on the Government of Georgia to avail itself of the legal mechanism envisaged by the European Convention on Human Rights – the inter-state application – in connection to gross violations of human rights by Russia in the occupied territories of Georgia . Unfortunately the society has not received information about the future plans of the GoG with regard to this issue. 
 
At the same time, it is important that the GoG, in the frame of all international negotiation formats, raised the issue of transferring the internal organs and medical documents of Archil Tatunashvili to the Georgian side and the forensic expertise bureau in order to ensure comprehensive and effective expertise and effective investigation. 
  
HRC calls on the Government of Georgia: 
 
 to effectively investigate the case of kidnapping and alleged intentional murder of Archil Tatunashvili in order to timely identify the perpetrators and impose sanctions on them; 
 to submit the inter-state application against the Russian Federation to the European Court of Human Rights; 
 to raise the issue of transferring the organs and medical documents of Archil Tatunashvili to the Georgian side in the frame of all international formats. 
 
Human Rights Center  
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