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Gov’t ready to cooperate with independent investigation

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, October 27
Georgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, says the government is ready to cooperate with any independent investigation over the October 23 incident at the Krtsanisi Military Training Center, when 23 year old Giga Shengelia was killed while allegedly trying to illegally get into the base with two other unknown men.

“I myself studied the case in detail, and I believe the guard who shot the intruders was acting within the law,” PM stated, and welcomed any independent investigation into the case.

Kvirikashvili also sent condolences to the family of Shengelia, but noted that everyone should follow the strict rules of military facilities.

“The investigation is in progress and the results will be revealed in the near future,” said the PM.

Georgia’s Ministry of Defense reported that the three men broke into the training center of Krtsanisi at about 3.30am on Friday. After a verbal warning, they did not obey the watchman’s instructions and warning to leave the base and then attacked him. The guard had to carry out actions against the invasion within the law and shot the attackers.

The Ministry said the body of the killed man was 97 meters away of the base. The MoD says the attackers were shot inside the base, after which they climbed over the wire fence.

The police also reported that they found several items near the base: a mobile phone, a pistol, 5 bullets compatible with an AK-74 type assault rifle and a lantern.

Moreover, the Ministry stated it welcomed the inclusion of independent experts in the investigation of the attempted break-in of the Krtsanisi National Training Centre.

The MoD informed the family of the deceased that it is ready to let an alternative examination be carried out, and to let family members of the killed man visit the center, check the site of the incident and learn what exactly happened and how the guards reacted.

The father of the killed intruder, Roman Shengelia, said the Ministry called him and offered to take him to the scene of the incident.

The family does not trust the Ministry's version of events and is going to consult alternative expertise. They believe Giga Shengelia was shot outside the base and left without providing any medical assistance.

“There are hundreds of versions of the incident. We have the right to know what actually happened,” said Roman Shengelia.

The United National Movement (UNM) opposition has several questions towards the investigation. According to the UNM, the Training Center is not adequately protected.

“There are too many questions…the most suspicious fact is that the deceased was shot in his back,” Giorgi Baramidze from the UNM said, and called on the MoD to give more information to the public.

Former Defense Minister of Georgia Davit Tevzadze also commented on the incident. According to him, the government should change the current Defense Minister Levan Izoria, saying the recent military incidents happened due to Izoria’s “incompetence”.

Tevzadze believes that Izoria should have restrained himself from making any comments yet, when he said that the guard on duty was acting according to the law.

“The Minister of Defense is responsible for this incident, not the ordinary servicemen. The political leadership of Georgia should make immediate steps and dismiss the current incompetent leader of the armed forces,” stated Tevzadze.

Majority member Gia Volski also welcomes the involvement of independent experts in the case, saying this will answer all questions that society might have.

Volski also responded to the comments made by Tevzadze, saying that the MoD and the Minister have enough competence to assess the case adequately.

The investigation underway is being carried out by the Military Police Department of the MoD under the supervision of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia. The police are currently trying to identify the other two attackers.