The messenger logo

Georgian NGOs Address European Court against Russia on Notorious Murder Case

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, January 15
(TBILISI) - Two Georgian leading Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Georgia’s Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) and the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC), have filed a lawsuit against Russia in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The NGOs say that Russia, which now occupies Georgia’s Abkhazia region in the country’s west, is responsible for the brutal murder case committed by Russia’s controlled so-called border guard in 2016.

It is a high profile case of 30-year-old Giga Otkhozoria, who was killed by Rashid Kanji-ogli on May 19, 2016, at the occupation line between Georgia and Abkhazia, on the territory currently controlled by Georgia.

“Russia, which occupies the region and carries out the effective control of the territory, is responsible for violating human rights specified by the European convention in the breakaway region, as well as by the activities of de facto authorities,” GYLA stated, which represented the family of Otkhozitia in the lawsuit.

Despite dozens of demands from Tbilisi the Abkhazian de facto leadership refuses the handing over of the offender, who was sentenced to 14 years in absentia by the Georgian court in 2017.

Kanji-ogli now walks free and faces no persecution.

Last year the so-called Prosecutor’s Office of Abkhazia claimed they had no evidence against the offender and released him from the home imprisonment. Kanji-ogli was sentenced by the Abkhazian court in 2016, shortly after the incident.

Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs has a video footage, which was aired in 2016, depicting how Kanji-ogli shoots Otkhozoria several times, runs after him and carries out the control shot.

Witnesses of the incident were afraid to get involved in the case.

Information published by Georgia’s law enforcement agencies read that Otkhozoria wished to go to Abkhazia and in the process a verbal dispute emerged between him and Kanji-ogli.

To avoid additional complications Otkhozoria retreated to Khurcha, to the village he lived, controlled by the government of Georgia. However, Kanji-ogli ran after him and killed the man who left behind wife and two underage children.

In its previous statements Russian official figures said the case needed to be settled by “Georgian and Abkhazian leaderships,” without Russia’s interference.