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Supreme Court exonerates expert

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, December 7
The Supreme Court of Georgia has delivered a verdict saying that a medical expert involved in expertise studies of the late Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania’s body was not guilty of negligence in his role.

The prosecution claimed that expert Levan Chachua did not report obvious injuries inflicted on the body of the late PM in his autopsy report.

However, the Court dismissed the allegation on December 5.

Zhvania, one of the main contributors to the 2003 Rose Revolution and an ally of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, was found dead in a rented apartment with then-Kvemo Kartli region deputy Governor Raul Usupov in February 2005.

An investigation under the previous United National Movement Government said the cause of the death was monoxide poisoning, however the family of the late Prime Minister claimed that Zurab Zhvania was murdered.

A new investigation into Zhvania’s death was launched in late 2012 after the Georgian Dream coalition defeated the nine-year rule of the United National Movement.

Three separate investigations were carried out in connection with Zhvania and Usupov’s case.

The first was to determine the exact cause of the men’s death; the investigation is still in progress in Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office.

The second concerned Levan Chachua, while the final investigation related to negligence charges against Zhvania’s security guards Koba Kharshiladze and Mikheil Dzadzamia.

The jury has previously delivered a guilty verdict against the bodyguards, as they were not with Zhvania at the moment of death.

However, the jury declared that they would be sentenced for no more than one year.

The guards stated they left Zhvania as he [the late Prime Minister] demanded that they leave.

Lawyer Beka Basilia, who defended Kharshiladze and Dzadzamia stated the fact that the Supreme Court found Chachua innocent revealed Zhvania was dead really because of the monoxide poisoning and not murdered as the “current Georgian Government wanted to illustrate it and thus accuse former officials”.

Basilia stressed that over the past four years, the current Government could provide evidence if Zhvania was really killed and even address the possibility of an exhumation, however they refrained from doing this as they knew they would find no proof of murder.

The late Zhvania’s brother, Gogla Zhvania, who was a lawmaker of the current ruling party, said Chachua was just one “insignificant component of the case”, as the key investigation was now on-going in the Prosecutor’s Office to “establish real reasons of Zhvania’s death”.

Gogla Zhvania stated he had access to evidence that indicated his brother was killed and not poisoned.