Office of the Prosecutors granted the Status of Victim to the Citizen Affected during the Rally of June 20-21, 2019 in 2 Years and 5 Months Late

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The Office of the General Prosecutor recognized Vakhtang Berikashvili as a victim, who was affected during the dispersal of the protest rally on June 20-21, 2019,  and whose legal interests are protected by HRC.  

HRC demanded that the persons affected on June 20-21 be granted the status of victim immediately. HRC used all the legal remedies available at the national level so that the Office of the Prosecutor General could conduct a timely, effective and impartial investigation. HRC appealed to the Strasbourg Court after the just demands of those affected were denied. 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.

HRC defends three more citizens affected during the events of June 20-21, 2019. The Office of the Prosecutor granted them the status of 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 the status of victim, however,  notwithstanding the experience from the previous cases, HRC received once again a refusal from the Office of Prosecutors. On December 9, 2021, already after the Strasbourg Court started communicating with the Georgian authorities referring also to this case, the Office of Prosecutors granted Berikashvili the status of victim.

As a result of the dispersal of the rally of June 20-21, 2019 by the Ministry of Interior using disproportionate force, Vakhtang Berikashvili received significant bodily injuries from a bullet of unclear production 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 shown in the media several times 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.  The police used rubber bullets in violation of international standards using them under the circumstances when there was no need for using them as a last resort and above all using the bullets against those protesters who were posing no real and instant threat of violence in particular/individual cases. Using excessive force caused severe and in some cases irreparable damages to the health of numerous protesters and reporters.

Human Rights Center