Perpetrators of Otkhozoria’s murder are still unpunished

Date: 19 May 2020

Today, 4 years have passed since the murder of Giga Otkhozoria. On May 19th, 2016, Giga was killed at the checkpoint of Khurcha Nabakevi near the occupation line of Abkhazia by so-called Abkhaz border guards. Following Giga's murder, the Abkhazian de facto Military Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation but was soon suspended under the pretext of lack of evidence. Although the identities of the perpetrators of Otkhozoria's murder are known, they have not yet been brought to justice by the de facto authorities. The Russian Federation bears full responsibility for the murder of Giga Otkhozoria and the improper investigation of this fact because Russia is exercising effective control over Abkhazia.

The case of Otkhozoria – a violation of the right to life is being considered by the European Court of Human Rights. GYLA and EHRAC represent the interests of Otkhozoria's family members. The internal communication between the parties in the European Court has already ended and the announcement of the judgment is pending. Otkhozoria's case has a precedential value because the court will have to consider whether Russia exercises effective control over Abkhazia and what responsibility is imposed on it for the actions of the de facto authorities in Abkhazia. Successful completion of the case has essential importance for Otkhozoria's family members for the restoration of their violated rights and justice to be done.

The case of Otkhozoria also clearly demonstrates the existence of an alarming human rights situation in the territories of occupied Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region and surrounding villages along the occupation line.