Georgian authorities must pay €25,000 over Temirlan Machalikashvili’s murder
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the Georgian State Security Services (SSG) violated the right to life of 19-year-old Temirlan Machalikashvili, who was shot dead in a raid on his home in the Pankisi Valley in December 2017.
According to the ruling, the Court found in particular that the authorities had failed to comply with the requirements of an effective and thorough investigation. Especially in the way the important evidence was collected and handled. It also found that the investigative activities were conducted superficially. But at the same time, the Court considered that there was insufficient evidence to conclude, beyond a reasonable doubt, that TM had died in the circumstances engaging the responsibility of the State.
“The Court found that the version of events provided by the authorities was plausible and that it could not assess the conflicting versions due in part to the shortcomings of the investigation and in part because no judicial assessment of the exact circumstances had been carried out at the domestic level,” the ruling reads.
Moreover, the Court rejected the applicants’ complaint of ill-treatment under Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) as manifestly ill-founded. “The Court observed that there was no evidence in the case file that TM’s family had suffered stress and anxiety beyond what could have been expected in that type of law-enforcement operation, particularly given how the operation unfolded,” the Court explained.
The Court finally held that Georgia was to pay the applicants jointly 10,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 15,000 in respect of costs and expenses. Reacting to the ruling, Temirlan Machalikashvili’s father, Malkhaz Machalikashvili, expressed disappointment that the court did not find his son was unlawfully killed but said he was nevertheless “satisfied”. “With today’s decision, I received an answer that this case is investigated very rudely and ineffectively”, – Malkhaz Machalikashvili said when evaluating today’s decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Machalakashvili and others v. Georgia.
As he told InterPressNews, the investigation should resume into the case.
“For me, the main thing is that they discovered too many gross violations, and ineffective investigation, which is directly stated in the decision of the Court. There are many issues that can be mentioned. From what I saw and what I see, the investigation should resume into the case, the ministerial committee should discuss it, and finally, we should get answers. The case will be appealed again”.
“The family had no access to anything, no power to appeal, and no victim status. The investigation was launched by the one who committed this crime – the State Security Service, and now all this means to me is that I am right. The case should be returned to the investigation,” added Machalikashvili.
Temirlan Machalikashvili was shot dead in his bed in the town of Duisi by heavily armed and masked security officers during a counterterror sweep in 2017. The ruling follows a years-long campaign by the family for justice. Temirlan’s father, Malkhaz Machalikashvili, spent a year and a half protesting around the clock outside parliament following the killing before being evicted by police to make room for New Year decorations in December 2019. ECtHR finding a procedural violation of Article 2 may become grounds for re-opening the national investigation.