DRI: The Court of Appeal issues ruling inciting hate-motivated violence

DRI is echoing the ruling made by Tbilisi Court of Appeal Judge Maia Tetrauli relating to the persons accused of the July 5, 2021 violence. According to the ruling of January 16, 2023, those convicted in the episode of Lekso Lashkarava and Miranda Baghaturia have their sentences reduced and have been acquitted of participation in organized group crime.

The commission of organized crime during the mass violence of July 5, 2021 was proved by a number of pieces of evidence submitted and witnesses questioned at the stage of the examination of evidence in Tbilisi City Court. In both first and second instance courts, the failure of the Prosecutor’s Office to present relevant evidence gave the court the opportunity to reclassify the charges against the defendants from serious to light articles. Judge Tetrauli fully used this opportunity.

The reclassification of organized group crime to group violence led to the reduction in the punishment for the convicted. The 4-year imprisonment determined by the first instance court for the violence against Lekso Lashkarava and Miranda Baghaturia has been reduced for all six convicts. It is alarming that the acquittal of those convicted in organized crime has created the ground for excluding the existence of the organizers of the July 5 violence.

The Tbilisi Court of Appeal judge upheld the charge against Tsotne Chikhladze. The prosecution has not submitted the medical examination report of victim Ilia Tsiliashvili to the Tbilisi Court of Appeal either. In case of proving the charge filed initially, Tsotne Chikhladze would have been sentenced to 7 to 10 years.[1]

DRI believes that the ruling passed by Tbilisi Court of Appeal judge Maia Tetrauli will incite the commission of hate crimes.

[1] For more information, see the DRI report on the judicial monitoring of the cases of violent crackdown of July 5, 2021, available -