Public Defender’s Statement on Conflict between Locals in Dmanisi
As it is known to the public, on May 16 and 17, violent incidents took place among the local population in Dmanisi, which requires immediate and active steps by the state agencies in order to effectively investigate the case and prevent similar incidents in the future.
On May 18, 2021, representatives of the Public Defender arrived in Dmanisi. They met with the local population and talked about the conflict. According to the information received, a minor conflict among locals escalated into a two-day uncontrolled violent confrontation. Similar development of events created the threat of confrontation among the multi-ethnic population of Dmanisi. Therefore, it is important for the State to pay special attention to the correct assessment and understanding of the causes of the conflict, as well as to pursue a more active policy towards civic integration.
According to the Public Defender, the response of the law enforcement agency was ineffective to a number of incidents during the conflict. The persons involved in the conflict physically assaulted each other in the presence of the police, who were unable to respond timely or defuse the situation.
The physical assaults on representatives of the media and damages to their equipment are of particular concern. The Public Defender calls on the law enforcement agencies not to leave any case of assault on media representatives without an effective investigation and to hold perpetrators responsible. The Public Defender will monitor the investigation into the case.
At the same time, the Public Defender critically assesses the statement of a high-ranking political official, referring to a foreign country in connection with the alleged criminal confrontation between the locals of Dmanisi.
At this stage, it is important to take effective steps to respond to alleged violations, make proper legal assessment of the incident, conduct effective investigation and administer justice. In addition, the above events have clearly shown that the policy of civil integration needs to be analyzed and strengthened in order to prevent similar incidents in the future.