The European Court of Human Rights has received another application prepared by HRC related to the events of June 20-21, 2019. The case named Berikashvili v. Georgia has been registered with the Court. The citizen affected during the dispersal of the demonstration by the Ministry of Interior requests the Court to find in his case the violations of Articles 3, 10, 11, and 13 of the European Convention.
Vakhtang Berikashvili, whose legal interests have been defended by HRC since 2019, was present at the protest rally in front of the Parliament on June 20, 2019, to protest peacefully against the ongoing processes in Georgia.
As a result of the dispersal of the rally by the Ministry of Interior using disproportionate force, Vakhtang Berikashvili received significant bodily injuries from a bullet allegedly made of special plastic and rubber as it was fired by the riot police at him; the bullet was removed out of the body in a medical facility from the area of the shoulder. A picture of the bullet removed from his body was repeatedly shown in the media confirming the cruel treatment exerted against the protesters. In addition to the wound, Vakhtang Berikashvili experienced strong emotional stress as he watched the law enforcement officers firing the rubber bullets directly at the protesters.
Vakhtang Berikashvili is still not recognized as a victim by the investigative bodies, even though HRC requested from the very beginning that he would be granted the status of a victim at once. HRC used all the legal remedies available at the national level so that the Office of the Prosecutor General could have all the possibilities to conduct a timely, effective and impartial investigation. Moreover, HRC lodged an appealed regarding the refusal of the Prosecutor's Office with the court but the court rejected the claim.
Following the rejection of the just claims of the victim, HRC applied to the Strasbourg Court and requested to identify the violations of Article 3 (prohibition of torture), Article 10 (freedom of expression), Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association), and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
HRC defends three more citizens affected during the events of June 20-21, 2019. The Prosecutor's Office granted them the status of a victim only after the Strasbourg Court registered the application and began communication with the authorities. It was during that period when HRC once again requested from the investigative authorities to grant Vakhtang Berikashvili a status of victim, however, notwithstanding the experience from the previous cases, HRC received once again a refusal from the Prosecutor's Office.
Human Rights Center