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Confrontation in Sakrebulo of Bodbe Village Turns into Personal Conflict

Confrontations between the former head of Bodbe village in the Sighnaghi region and members of the Sakrebulo [village council] together with the  incumbent head Mamuka Khunashvili, have grown into a serious conflict which even led to a physical confrontation between the two parties.

The confrontation started after 19 November 2003, when at the Sakrebulo meeting in Bodbe the members of the Sakrebulo announced a vote of no confidence for Nato Usenashvili, and dismissed her from her position. However, the Sakrebulo members did not provide all the necessary documents that could prove she had done anything wrong. One of the members of the Sakrebulo just said fleetingly on the meeting that it seemed to him ‘that the budget was not properly used and that the budget sums looked embezzled.’

Nato Usenashvili has rejected the accusations and thinks that the Sakrebulo members have violated her rights. More exactly, according to the ruling of the Sakrebulo, the law about Local Authorities and Self-Governance, Article 12, subparagraph F, is cited as the grounds for her dismissal. This Article deals with electing and dismissing Heads and Secretary of Sakrebulo. According to Nato Usenashvili’s attorney, there is no ground for dismissing her, since a vote of no confidence is usually made according to Article 13.

‘The ruling should have been registered according to administrative codes with all the due procedures and norms, besides other data which should also be indicated but was not reflected in November 19 ruling. This is an illegitimate piece of paper. The gross violation of law is another fact, when Mamuka Khunashvili, not yet appointed as a Sakrebulo head, signs the ruling about dismissing Nato Usenashvili, which is a complete absurd and is unimaginable according to administrative Code,’ stated Tsira Javakhishvili, attorney for Nato Usenashvili.
Further, according to the law about Local Authorities and Self-Governance, Article 12, subparagraph F, ‘After announcing a vote of no confidence, the duties of the Sakrebulo Head are transferred to the first deputy’. But it seems that the Sakrebulo members did not take the law into consideration and decided to appoint Mamuka Khukhunashvili, head of the Revision Committee, as Sakrebulo Head.

According to Nato Usenashvili, in the November 11 session, the Sakrebulo members decided to announce a vote of no confidence about her, and she knew nothing about this.  She was not notified in advance and she did not attend the session. She found out about the vote only on November 18 and later that day she addressed the Procuracy with a complaint, demanding a financial audit of the Bodbe village to investigate the claims of her supposed embezzlement. She informed the members of the Sakrebulo about this the next day and then left the meeting. On November 25 she found out that a session was held without her, where a vote of no confidence was announced about her and Mamuka Khunashvili was appointed on her place.

According to the decision of Sighnaghi regional court of 25 March 2004, her complaint was not satisfied, where she was asking for the annulment of protocol accepted in the 19 November 2003 session and every ruling that it took.  She also asked to be reinstated in her workplace and to be compensated for this period with the salary that she did not receive during this time. 

‘Because the Gamgebeli is a member of Burjanadze-Democrats, I think that she has support from them,’ claimed Usenashvili. ‘Because of this I encounter problems and I find it difficult to find justice and defend my own rights.’

When Nato Usenashvili appealed the Regional Court Decision at the Administrative and Appelative Chamber of Tbilisi District Court, the decision made by the latter turned out to be unexpected to both parties; the Appelative Chamber decided that the law had been violated by the Regional Court. Since this was an administrative case, the Regional Court announced the defendant not as a physical, but rather as a legal entity, in other words the Sakrebulo as a whole. The ruling says that the District Court partially satisfied Nato Usenashvili’s demand, although it is not clear to the claimant which part of the demand was satisfied. Neither is it mentioned in the decision itself.
‘In the first place, we were asking that the ruling be cancelled, but the court did not discuss this issue,’ said the attorney, Tsira Javakhishvili.

It should also be noted, that on 25 March 2004 Mamuka Khunashvili, the new Head of Bodbe Sakrebulo, his brother Zaza Khunashvili and their friends Lado and Murad Begashvili, who were slightly intoxicated, broke into Nato Usenashvili’s house and physically as well as verbally abused her and members of her family. Neighbors and relatives who witnessed the incident have confirmed that this happened.

‘It is obvious from the case materials that Zaza Khunashvili partially pleaded guilty, and the facts have been confirmed by Nato Usenashvili, Anzor Usenashvili and Makvala (Naili) Usenashvili and by other witnesses as well that the offence had been committed,’ stated Nona Kalandadze, Usenashvili’s attorney.  ‘There is also a result of legal expertise that says that Nato Usenashvili received a concussion of the brain.’

Mamuka Khunashvili denies the accusation made towards him, and says that he did not exercise any pressure on Nato Usenashvili and her family, claiming that it was her and her brother-in-law that made threatening phone calls to him.
Nato Usenashvili, however, insists that Mamuka Usenashvili and his brother were demanding that she withdraw her complaint from the Court and stop the case, otherwise, says Usenashvili, the brothers were threatening that they would not leave her alone.
‘During all this time serious pressure was exercised on my family and the witnesses by Mamuka Khunashvili,’ Nato Usenashvili explained to HRIDC.  ‘The witnesses were repeatedly summoned to the homes of Sakrebulo members, and were told to change their testimony, otherwise they were threatened, after which the witnesses made an official report to the police. Besides this, there were continuous threats to my family, and they were threatening that if I did not stop the case my mother would be fired from her position as school-master.’

It appears that the above-mentioned threats have come true, since after a while Nato Usenashvili’s mother, Naili Macharashvili, was released from the position of a school director of the Bodbe Comprehensive School.  Furthermore, in the protocol of the Didube-Chughureti Regional Court where Macharashvili’s case was being reviewed, the position of Nodar Kochlamazashvili, Head of the Education Department of Sighnaghi Region, is that Naili Macharashvili should not be reinstated to her position as a School Director, since now ‘her cooperation with the Sakrebulo is absolutely not possible.’
On 11 December 2004 Mamuka Khunashvili and Zaza Khuanshvili were accused of criminal mischief, and the case was handed over to District Court for review.

Nino Bestavashvili

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