ECHR Accepts Georgia's Lawsuit against Russia over Tatunashvili Case

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has accepted the lawsuit of Empathy- the Georgian rehabilitation center for victims of torture -“Tatunashvili against the Russian Federation."

Mariam Jishkariani, the head of the center, says the lawsuit is accompanied by voluminous evidence confirming that Archil Tatunashvili was tortured in Tskhinvali (South Ossetia), a region of Georgia occupied by the Russian Federation.

Jishkariani says that Russia is to be held responsible for Tatunashvili’s murder in breakaway Tskhinvali, as it exercises power there.

“The lawsuit contains about 800 pages, including the 87-page forensic examination report and around 40 pieces of evidence confirming that Tatunashvili was tortured in Tskhinvali,” she stressed.

Georgian citizen and former soldier, Archil Tatunashvili, detained in late February by de facto South Ossetian forces, was tortured using various methods, as a result of which he died. The Empathy report was released on August 22 and contains the assessment of 10 experts who participated in the examination of Tatunashvili’s body.

The experts agreed that Tatunashvili had more than 100 injuries on different parts of his body. The report says that these injuries were inflicted by thick, blunt objects many times to cause pain, by a group of people.

“In the detention facility of breakaway Tskhinvali, law enforcers inflicted strong physical and mental trauma or injury to Archil Tatunashvili, followed by the loss of human life, against the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of an international human rights treaty, under the United Nations,” the report reads.

The center said Tatunashvili had wounds on his legs, hands and palms. Also, as report says, some of his fingers were broken and his genitals damaged. The 35-year-old man also had many bruises all over his body, and a skull injury.

“Taking into account these facts, Archil Tatunashvili's death is directly related to his torture, which took place on February 22, 2018 in the occupied Tskhinvali territory. As a result, the main cause of his death was established – torture,” the report reads.

Tatunashvili and two other Georgian men were detained by occupant forces on February 22 and taken to a breakaway Tskhinvali detention facility. The next day, the de facto law enforcers released information that Tatunashvili had died. The puppet regime stated he died of heart failure but later said he resisted the guards and fell down the stairs and was taken to hospital, where he passed away.

De facto authorities of South Ossetia handed the body to the Georgian side only on March 20. After the autopsy, Tatunashvili was buried with military honor at the Mukhatgverdi Brothers Cemetery near Tbilisi.

Tatunashvili's father Givi Tatunashvili hopes that the European Court of Human Rights will deliver a guilty verdict against the murderers of his son.

“I hope that the criminals will be charged and a guilty verdict will be delivered," he said.

By Thea Morrison

Image source: Council of Europe

10 December 2018 16:35