Statement by non-governmental organizations on the death of Paata Pavliashvili - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

Statement by non-governmental organizations on the death of Paata Pavliashvili

30 October, 2017

We, the undersigned organizations, would like to comment on the incident that took place on the Nutsubidze Plateau on 25 October 2017. As it is known, the police detained a citizen, which was followed by the deterioration of health and death of the latter. The Georgian Prosecutor's Office is investigating the case and, at this point, it is impossible to talk about a concrete version or the culpability of the law enforcers. At the same time, the investigation has become a subject of a strong public interest, and we therefore consider it important to make an assessment of the information available with regard to the case so far.

After 25 October, the public expected that the video recordings made during the incident by the police officers' shoulder cameras and the camera installed on the patrol police vehicle would be made public. However, as it became known from the statement the Prosecutor's Office made yesterday, no police officer's camera or the police vehicle camera fully caught the unfolding of the incident, including the actual arrest and the period leading to it, which would show whether the detention of the citizen had any grounds, what kind of force was used by the police during the arrest, how the police behaved after they learned that the person's health deteriorated and whether there was professional negligence or any other violation on the part of the police which could lead to death by negligence.

The fact that there is no video recording depicting the incident causes the public to have more questions about it, especially given that, according to the internal rules of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Code of Ethics, the patrol police officers are obliged to make video recordings. The recordings made by shoulder cameras are important and often the only key evidence to establish whether the police abused their power or committed some other violation. Correspondingly, such a recording can be used by the citizens in order to prove their innocence or, on the contrary, by the law enforcers in order to prove the lawfulness of their actions. This case has once again demonstrated that proper documentation of communication between the police and the citizens is a problem, which, as a rule, works against the interests of the citizens. Needless to say, video recording should not be left to the discretion of police officers, and it is important that all police or investigative actions be continuously recorded by shoulder cameras.

Despite the absence of the video recording of the moment of the arrest itself, the state has the responsibility to answer with appropriate credibility to all the questions that exist with regard to the death of Paata Pavliashvili. Furthermore, the investigation must begin to establish the true reasons why video recordings do not exist. The forensic expertise should establish whether the video recordings were tempered with in order to damage or destroy them. At the same time, the Prosecutor's Office should conduct the ongoing investigation as transparently as possible and ensure the involvement of the victim's family members in the case in order for them to have complete information about the investigation process.

We would also like to comment on the unethical form with which the Ministry of Internal Affairs responded to the tragic incident of 25 October, specifically, the special video report made by this agency in which one of the neighbours of the deceased talks about him, revealing the details of the victim's personal life and health and naming one of the possible reasons for his death – alcohol intoxication. With this video report, the agency clearly tried to form a negative perception about the deceased and offer a preliminary version of his death to the public.

The incident in question is an unfortunate confirmation of the problem that has been actively discussed by the non-governmental sector in the course of the recent years. This tragic occurrence has once again put on the agenda the need for the systemic reform of the police which would create a law enforcement body that truly serves the people, enjoys high level of public trust and makes people want to cooperate with it. At the same time, an effective legal mechanism needs to be created to address the problem of impunity of law enforcers.

We, the undersigned organizations, call on:

  • The Georgian Prosecutor's Office – to ensure timely, effective and impartial investigation of the case and involvement in it of the victim's family in order for them to have complete information about the process of the investigation and the implemented measures;
  • The Ministry of Internal Affairs:
  • To elaborate a unified strategy of prevention of excessive use of force by the police;
  • To equip all police officers who have direct contact with citizens with shoulder cameras and establish unified rules for the use of this equipment;
  • To provide the public with an explanation about who is responsible for the video created about the incident and the purpose served by the preparation of this material;
  • The Government and Parliament of Georgia:
  • To take concrete steps to carry out a systemic reform of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and to start working on the creation of the new type of law enforcement agencies, oriented to serving every citizen, protection of their rights and their voluntary cooperation;
  • To create an independent investigative mechanism authorized to investigate and institute criminal proceedings with regard to possible violations committed by law enforcers.


Human Rights and Monitoring Centre (EMC)

Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia)

Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI)

Partnership for Human Rights (PHR)

International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)

 Human Rights Centre

Article 42 of the Constitution