The Human Rights Education and Monitoring Centre (EMC) assesses the restricted materials containing state secrets in the investigation of Temirlan Machalikashvili’s death case, including the records of the member of the Special Forces Unit who fired the shot and other participants in the special operation, and points out the formal, ineffective and illusory nature of the investigation.

Introduction

As is known to the public , EMC requested access to the restricted part of the case from the very beginning (taking into consideration the personal identification data protection of the members of the Special ForcesUnit), and yet the Tbilisi Prosecutor’s Office continues to restrict these documents up to the present day on grounds of the State Secrets Protection law. It was only on January 10th of this year that we were granted access to the restricted materials, when the European Court initiated an communication on the case of Machalikashvili and others v. Georgia, and requested that the Georgian government share with them full information related to the case. As the investigating body explained, they completed their investigation through the materials containing the state secrets data and shared with us all information obtained by the investigation (with the state secrets redacted).

The case involves the records of the interrogations of 32 members of the Special Forces Unit, of several security service officers and relevant correspondence between the Tbilisi Prosecutor’s Office and the State Security Agency relating to the decision-taking process regarding the special operation and its subsequent implementation. As it has become known to us from the case materials, the other significant documents, to which we have been requesting access from the prosecutor’s office since the very beginning of the investigation, such as the verified decision for carrying out the special operation, its written plan, the instructions and guidelines given to the members of the Special Forces Unit, and the mechanisms and documents of monitoring and reporting throughout the process of implementation of the special operation, were not provided in a written form by the State Security Agency and were based only upon oral communication.

It is also noteworthy that all the investigative activities in this part of the case have been carried out relatively late, well after the investigation began, and the State Security Office continually responded to the requests of the Tbilisi Prosecutor’s Office in a delayed manner. In particular, the address of the investigating body dated December 30, 2017, which requested that the identities of the persons involved in the special operation, including those who carried out the shooting, be revealed, was responded to by the state Security Office only on February 1, 2018.

Machalikashvili’s_case.docx