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The News in Brief

Wednesday, January 10
Khajimba Reacts to Lukava Case Commission Decision

Russian-backed Abkhaz leader Raul Khajimba claims in his statement released on January 6, that he intended to work with Sokhumi parliament to present the fifth and final “constitutional court” judge in the shortest possible time.

The statement was issued in response to the decision of the “parliamentary” investigative commission on the case of Giorgi Lukava , a native of Abkhazia’s Gali district , whose release sparked anti-government protests in Abkhazia.

On january 5, the commission decided to envision full staffing of the “constitutional court” and transfer Lukava’s released materials to it. Hence the court will assess the legitimacy of Khajimba’s pardoning of the prisoner.

The commission also intended on producing a draft law “limiting pardon of those who have committed grave crimes on the territory of Abkhazia”. The commission also recommended Khajimba to suspend his head of administration until the constitutional court reviewed the pardon case.

In his statement Khajimba agreed with the commission’s decision on limiting “presidential pardon” on grave crimes. However, he rejects the recommendation on suspending his head of administration.

Three opposition “MPs”– Batal Tabaghua, Batal Aiba and Aslan Bzhania - challenged the commission’s decision to refer the case to a court that has not been fully formed yet. Instead, they insist on involving the “supreme court” .The decision was adopted despite their protest, with Tabaghua and Aiba voting against it.

On January 5, prior to the commission’s decision, , Khajimba visited the “parliament,” and later addressed the protest rally in front of the legislature’s building. The “president” insisted that Lukava’s release was a “political decision” which aimed at Russian-backed authorities of Tskhinvali within the tripartite prisoner exchange arrangement.

Tskhinvali leader Anatoly Bibilov had issued a statement on January 4, confirming that Sokhumi actions in relation to the prisoners release were accommodating the interests of Tskhinvali. Bibilov added he hopes that “the help to the brotherly Ossetian people, expressed in the good political will of president R. Khajimba, will not become a reason for a socio-political tension in Abkhazia.”

The protest rally participants, who remained in front of the “parliament” until late on January 5, were displeased by the commission’s decision to defer the final assessment of Khajimba’s actions to the “constitutional court.” Several deputies, however, asked the rally participants to remain calm. The deputies included the “parliament speaker” Valery Kvarchia and a former Sokhumi leader, deposed by Khajimba’s supporters in 2014, Alexander Ankvab.

According to the regional “constitution”, Khajimba may be impeached due to the illegal pardoning of Lukava if the parliament’s two-third agrees on it. However, majority of the 34- member ‘parliament’ consists of Khajimba’s supporters. (

Lado Chanturia starts fulfilling duties in Strasbourg Court

Lado Chanturia started fulfilling duties in the Strasbourg Court. The oath ceremony was held on January 8 at the European Court of Human Rights. On the event were present the Permanent Representative of Georgia to the Council of Europe, the President of the European Court of Human Rights, judges and representatives of the Court’s Secretariat.

Lado Chanturia replaced Nona Tsotsoria in the position. The duties of the Strasbourg Judge shall be performed for a term of 9 years from 8 January 2018 to 8 January 2027.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe elected Lado Chanturia as the Strasbourg Court Judge on October 10, following the recommendation of the Special Committee of the Council of Europe. (IPN)