The Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC) expresses sorrow over the brutal murder of the Georgian citizen Zelimkhan Khangoshvili (Tornike Kavtarashvili) in Germany and wishes strength to the family and friends of the victim.

Yesterday, on 23 August, in Berlin, Zelimkhan Khangoshvili was on his way to Mosque for Friday prayers when a passerby on bicycle shot him into his head. Khangoshvili dies instantly.

Zelimkhan Khangoshvili was a veteran of the Russian-Chechen war in 2001-2005 years and he was the commander of one of the field armies. Demonstrative murders in public space of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili and his co-fighters reveals that Russian Special Services has always had high interests towards him.

The society is aware of the fact that on 28 May, 2015 Zelimkhan Khangoshvili was attacked in Tbilisi city center with firearms. He was shot 8 bullets in the car and he survived by chance. The Khangoshvili family was forced to leave Georgia and seek asylum in other countries.

EMC was monitoring the process of investigation concerning the firearm attack. Along with his attorney, EMC was representing the interests of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili.

The analysis of the ongoing investigation demonstrates that the investigation is conducted pro forma and it is characterized by significant legal flaws including:

  1. Although the factual circumstances of the case referred to the attempt of murder, the investigation qualified the case as less grave bodily injury and illegal carrying of firearms.
  2. Despite the high risk of endangering lives of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili’s family members, the Ministry of Internal Affairs declined to apply special protection measures for the victims.
  3. Necessary investigating actions, including the seizure of video recording, either were not carried out or were carried out lately, that lead to the destruction of evidence and made it impossible to timely identify and arrest the attackers.
  4. The investigation did not involve Zelimkhan Khangoshvili in identification procedure and important forensics were only conducted three years later.

The investigation does not have any legal outcome so far as long as it is characterized with legal flaws and formal nature. The dynamics of the investigation demonstrates that the prosecution was unwilling to establish the truth and to effectively react on this criminal case. For that reason, it delayed important investigating actions and showed negligence. EMC and the attorney of Zelimkhan Khangoshvili submitted a number of applications to the Public Defender of Georgia and to General Inspection of the Prosecutor's Office of Georgia over the negligence and legal flaws of the investigation.

We expect that Federal Republic of Germany conducts a comprehensive investigation and identifies the offenders. It is substantial to take into account the episode of attack of 2015 in Tbilisi while investigating the murder case. We hope that the Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia effectively collaborates with the competent German bodies in order to establish the truth and to hold the offenders criminally liable.