News

Georgia creates body to investigate crimes by legal proceedings

by | January 31, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia wants to create a new department which will investigate offenses committed in the course of legal proceedings. The initiative comes after the office has received thousands of applications from victims of alleged

In brief

Ivanishvili plans tv series about Saakashvili’s nine year rule

by | January 30, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili plans a TV series about the nine years of National Movement rule. In an interview with Imedi TV on Wednesday, Ivanishvili said the name of the series will be ‘9+1’, which indicates the nine

News

HRW criticizes Georgia for not prosecuting political violence

by | January 30, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a new report, Human Rights Watch criticizes Georgia for failing to prosecute attacks on activists from the National Movement, even though the perpetrators have been identified. In its latest world report, the organization writes that during

NGO news

Ivanishvili on collision course with the U.S. on role of NGOs

by | January 30, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The godfather of the government in Georgia, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, was rebuked by the US ambassador Thursday after criticizing three of the most influential NGO leaders in the country. In a long TV interview on one of the national TV

Minorities

Quota system in Georgian universities helps ethnic minorities, but is easy to abuse

by | January 30, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch- The possibility to study Georgian intensively for one year and then to continue studies in any Georgian university seems like a great opportunity for students coming from ethnic minority background. How helpful is the integration program

Environment

New day of protest against hotel in Vake Park

by | January 29, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Environmental activists in Tbilisi on Wednesday continued their protest against the construction of a hotel inside one of the city’s central parks. City Hall decided to fine the company for minor violations, but protesters want a halt in the construction

In brief

Gulf under investigation for tax avoidance in Georgia

by | January 29, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Finance Ministry’s investigation service is going through the accounting documents of Gulf, one of the largest oil retail companies in Georgia. According to the vice president of the company’s marketing department, the service entered

News

Ivanishvili’s latest reprimand: Do they think Margvelashvili is doing magic?

by | January 29, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Bidzina Ivanishvili, the businessman who created the Georgian Dream coalition, on Wednesday criticized the president in an interview with Imedi TV. For the last year, the president and prime minister in Georgia have been in a subdued conflict.

News

Ivanishvili criticizes Saakashvili’s party for urging youth to join Ukraine war

by | January 29, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili criticizes the party of ex-President Saakashvili, the National Movement, of encouraging youth to volunteer for the war in Ukraine. “[Mikheil] Saakashvili and others who wish to see Georgians going

News

Leader of 2006 Kodori mutiny released after entering plea deal

by | January 28, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former warlord who was sentenced to 12 years in jail last November, was Wednesday released after entering a plea agreement. Emzar Kvitsiani, who was convicted of leading the mutiny in Kodori Gorge in 2006 and for setting up an illegal paramilitary

News

Lowest lari rate for eleven years

by | January 28, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian lari has dropped in value again and is now traded for more than two US dollars - the lowest exchange rate for the last eleven years. According to the National Bank, the exchange rate for lari on January 28 is 2.0144 for one USD.

In brief

Consultations continue to find new head of Georgia’s Supreme Court

by | January 28, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Consultations are continuing in Tbilisi’s political circles to find a new head of Supreme Court. Current head Kote Kublashvili’s term expires in the end of February. During Kublashvili’s ten year tenure, the court system in Georgia became

News

Prisoner was to have murdered mother of Buta Robakidze

by | January 28, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A prisoner serving time for drug related crime claims he was forced to carry out a murder in 2008, but the plan was called off. The prisoner’s story was discovered by the Georgian ombudsman, who recommended that the case be investigated

Society

Trade union blames weak worker protection for deaths in the workplace

by | January 27, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Trade Union blames a weak labor code for what it says is a rise in the number of deaths in the workplace since the Saakashvili regime took away almost all worker protection in 2006. During Saakashvili, the labor code was changed so there

News

Deputy head of NATO visiting Georgia, will visit planned training center

by | January 27, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO's deputy secretary general, Alexander Vershbow, will visit Georgia January 29-30. The purpose of the trip is to monitor the implementation of a 'substantive package' offered by the alliance at the Wales summit last summer, according

News

Prisoners with life sentence on hunger strike to be part of 2013 amnesty

by | January 27, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--At least 50 prisoners serving life sentences have gone on hunger strike to demand to benefit from a mass amnesty introduced in early 2013. The prisoners want to change their life sentences into a set number of years, after which

In brief

Georgian PM appoints new interior minister

by | January 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Monday appointed Vakhtang Gomelarui as new interior minister after the previous minister resigned in connection with the bombing of a human rights activist. Until now, Gomelauri served as first deputy

In brief

Yuri Vazagashvili buried Sunday

by | January 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch---Yuri Vazagashvili was Sunday buried in the village Karapila, near Kaspi, 50 km west of the capital. He was buried next to his son Zurab, who died in a police operation in 2006 during the Saakashvili regime and became a symbol of the heavy-handed

In brief

Lithuanian PM starts two day visit to Georgia

by | January 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Lithuanian prime minister on Monday starts a two day visit to Georgia. On the first day of his visit, Algirdas Butkevičius will meet his Georgian counterpart Irakli Garibashivli after an official welcoming ceremony at the government office

News

Few of the ombudsman’s recommendations are followed

by | January 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Only 35 out of 154 of the ombudsman recommendations in 2014 were followed, according to a report published on Friday. 22 out of the 154 recommendations to central and local government bodies, or the government officials were partly fulfilled, 47 not fulfilled

News

More people leave Georgia’s law enforcement after activist’s death

by | January 25, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The fallout from a bombing of a rights activist in Georgia last week continued Sunday with several prosecutors asking to be suspended and police officers being fired. On Friday, the interior minister resigned. This was followed by the

In brief

Police official in Georgia resigns following bombing of activist

by | January 24, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A high-ranking police official in Georgia resigned Friday evening. His resignation follows that of the interior minister, and is related to the bombing of a rights activist last Wednesday. The activist, Yuri Vazagasvili, was blown up while standing

News

Georgia’s interior minister resigns

by | January 23, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Interior Minister Alexandre Chikaidze, who was hardly seen in public during his tenure, on Friday resigned following the controversial murder of Yuri Vazagashvili. In his letter of resignation to the PM, Chikaidze writes that he made the

News

Appeals Court upholds nine year sentence against Megis Kardava

by | January 23, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former government official charged in the case of Sergo Tetradze’s murder, was on Friday sentenced to nine years in jail by the Appeals Court of Georgia. Megis Kardava, who held the post of deputy at the military police department, was found

News

Georgian Dream hesitates over inquest into destruction of gold mine

by | January 23, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Doubt has been cast on the Georgian parliament's plans to have an inquest into the destruction of a prehistoric gold mine, as a leading parliamentarian says he no longer thinks it's a good idea. The ancient cave complex in Sakdrisi in southern

News

Suspect in Batumi murder of girl, 16, detained in Iran

by | January 23, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Iran has detained the suspect in the murder of a 16 year old girl in Batumi in July, 2013. Mariam Kochalidze was found dead with her throat slashed and a large stone on her back near the new boulevard in Batumi, a city on the Black Sea coast. The 28-year old Iranian suspect in the murder was identified as Mohamadamin Ruintan. He came to Georgia from Turkey on June, 23 entering at Sarpi, according to the Interior Ministry. He went back to Turkey on the day of the murder. Batumi City Court sentenced him to pre-trial detention in absentia. On Wednesday, Interpol’s Georgian bureau received a letter from the organization’s office in Tehran, saying that Ruintan had been detained. The letter says that there was no record of the suspect crossing into Iran, so he might have entered illegally. Local police say Ruintan may have committed another murder of an underage boy. Police detained him a few hours after the murder. Interpol announced a search for the suspect on October 24, 2013.

In brief

Coffin of Georgian who fought in Ukraine greeted at Tbilisi airport

by | January 22, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The body of a Georgian volunteer fighter who died in Ukraine on January 17 arrived in Georgia on Wednesday and will be brought to his hometown Khashuri today. Earlier, there was a public funeral for Tamaz Sukhiashvili, 36, in Kiev, which was attended

News

Over 30 witnesses questioned about Yuri Vazagashvili’s death

by | January 22, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--At least thirty people have so far been questioned about the death of Yuri Vazagashvili, father of a victim of a controversial police operation in 2006. Zurab Vazagashvili’s death nearly nine years ago became a symbol of the heavy-handed police

Economy

China’s ambassador briefed about investment prospects in agriculture

by | January 22, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s agriculture minister on Wednesday met with the Chinese ambassador to discuss bilateral relations and the mostly positive dynamic in trade relations. Ambassador Yue Bin said that the year 2014 was the most successful, fruitful and positive

News

Return of dead 19 year old discussed at IPRM meeting

by | January 21, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--At a regular field meeting Tuesday between the parties in the 2008 South Ossetia war, Georgia brought up the question of how to bring home the body of a 19 year old boy who was recently found dead in South Ossetia after being missing for six months.

News

Man blaming police of the son’s death, killed at his grave

by | January 21, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - A father of a victim of controversial police special operation back in 2006 was found dead on the grave of his son as result of an explosion on Tuesday. It is still unknown whether it was a suicide or a homicide,

Minorities

Muslims in northeast Georgia demonstrate against Charlie Hebdo

by | January 20, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Muslims in a valley northeast in Georgia demonstrated Monday against the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo for publishing a caricature depicting Prophet Mohammad on January 14. People in the village Duisi, in Pankisi Gorge, believe the cartoon

In brief

Body of Georgian priest from Norman Atlantic arrives in Tbilisi

by | January 20, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Monday posthumously honored priest Ilia Kartozia, 27, for his bravery rescuing people in the Norman Atlantic ferry disaster. The fire on Norman Atlantic started on December 28. There were eight Georgians aboard, all of whom

News

Third Georgian fighter dies in the war in Ukraine

by | January 19, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A third Georgian has died in the war in Ukraine. Tamaz Sukhiashvili, 36, was killed in the battle for Donetsk Airport near the village of Pisky on January 17, fighting alongside Kiev’s forces. Three more Georgians were slightly wounded in the same battle.

Economy

Georgia’s foreign trade grew 5% in 2014

by | January 19, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in 2014 was five percent more than the previous year according to preliminary data from the National Statistics Department, GeoStat. The turnover totalled USD 11,459 million. According to the preliminary

In brief

Chinese citizen detained for facilitating prostitution

by | January 18, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Chinese citizen was on Sunday detained in Georgia’s second largest city Kutaisi for providing premises used for prostitution. According to the Interior Ministry, the suspect rented a house on Chavchavadze Avenue 33 and opened a parlour offering

In brief

23 Georgian sailors stranded on five ships in Benin

by | January 18, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--23 Georgian sailors have been stuck on five ships under Greek management close to Benin in western Africa. The sailors are asking for help because their supplies of food and water are running low and they haven’t received their salaries for about six months.

News

Georgian Church explains its position regarding Charlie Hebdo

by | January 17, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--In its first comments about the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, the Georgian Orthodox Church condemns the terror act but also calls on the government 'to set a limit to freedom of expression in order to protect other internationally recognized human rights.'

Economy

Sharp drop in money transfers into Georgia

by | January 16, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Money transfers to Georgia in December 2014 were 24.9 percent lower than in the same period in 2013, according to new figures from the National Bank. The amount of money transfers in December was USD 116.1 milllion, which was USD 38.5 million

News

Film made by Georgian director nominated for Oscar

by | January 16, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A film made by a Georgian filmmaker which was previously nominated for a Golden Globe, was Thursday nominated for an Oscar. Tangerines, a Georgian-Estonian co-production, was selected for the short list of foreign language film nominees together

In brief

Missing 77 year old found dead near South Ossetia

by | January 16, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 77 year old man who went missing a few days ago in the village Ergneti next to South Ossetia was found dead on Thursday. Valiko Kasradze disappeared late at night on January 12. His family thought he might have lost his way and been detained

News

Georgian government plans to sell university tower in Batumi

by | January 16, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia wants to sell a high-rise in Batumi that was built during the previous government to be used for a new university. Then president Mikeil Saakashvili opened the 35-storey tower in 2012, which has a small ferris wheel

Opinion

#jesuisgeorge

by | January 15, 2015

“Freedom of speech and the press are supreme values that must be duly protected everywhere and at all times,” Irakli Garibashvili stated before flying to the global peace rally in Paris. These are the words of the man who was the head of the Ministry of Internal

News

Four Georgians nominated for Ukraine’s Justice Ministry

by | January 15, 2015

Former deputy interior minister and three more former Georgian officials have been nominated on high positions in Ukaraine Justice Ministry and will officially be appointed immediately after getting Ukrainian citizenship. All of them have already applied for Ukrainian citizenship that is a requirement for appointment by the Ukraine law and will probably get it after a special presidential commission that grants citizenship to foreign nationals announces its decision. Pavlo Petrenko, Ukraine’s justice minister, who announced the nominations during a press conference on Wednesday, said he hoped the commission’s decision would be positive. Among the nominees are Gia Getsadze, former deputy interior minister and former governor of Imereti region in western Georgia, Jambul (Jaba) Ebanoidze, former head of the revenue service and Khatia Shelia and Giorgi Tsiklauri, both holding various leading positions in the Georgian Justice Ministry under Mikheil Saakashvili government. Gia Getsadze, who is nominated for the position of the first deputy justice minister in charge of fighting corruption, was elected as a dean of the law faculty at Ilia University in Tbilisi in July, 2014. He is also a founder partner of the ...

News

PM Garibashvili: no obligation to attend the presidents ‘symbolic’ address

by | January 14, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Irakli Garibashvili, the PM, once more publicly disregards the President stating that government members have no obligation to attend the latter's the state of the nation address at the parliament in February. The constitution doesn’t oblige government

News

Georgian parliamentarians visit Kiev

by | January 14, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Amid tensions over appointment of former Georgian officials on the high positions in Ukraine, Georgian parliamentary delegation visits Kiev Nov. 19, according to the chair of parliament’s foreign affairs committee. Tedo Japaridze,

News

Saakashvili criticized for his Syria statement

by | January 13, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--President of Georgia slammed his predecessor Mikheil Saakashvili, accusing him of manipulating with important and strategic issues of the country's security just for his own interests. Mikheil Saakashvili earlier in Monday criticized

News

Man taken from his garden at South Ossetia border

by | January 13, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--One Georgian was detained Monday in a village that lies on the de facto border with the breakaway region South Ossetia. One more is missing in another village, and presumed detained. The first incident took place in Dvani, a village which

News

One Chinese worker injured in fire at youth Olympic festival site

by | January 12, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Chinese worker was injured in a fire on Sunday on the construction site of the future Olympic village in Tbilisi. About 700 square meters was burned in the fire. The Chinese worker who was injured was taken to hospital. The fire spread across

News

Ivanishvili has abandoned the idea of hosting TV show

by | January 12, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian PM Bidzina Ivanishvili has finally abandoned the idea to host a political talk show on a TV channel owned by his rapper son Bera.  The launch of the talk show has been postponed several times. Finally, in the end of 2014, it was announced

Environment

Traffic restrictions lifted on most roads in Georgia after heavy snowfall

by | January 11, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Traffic restrictions have been lifted on most road sections in Georgia after being closed due to heavy snowfall that began on January 6. According to the most recent data from the road department, traffic is now moving freely through the Rikoti

Interviews

Chemtai Yegon – a Kenyan woman living and teaching in Georgia

by | January 10, 2015

When Chemtai Yegon, a young woman from Kenya, came to Georgia a few years ago to teach English and study Georgian, she faced a lot of challenges, like her first real winter with frost and snow, 'no one speaking English', and some encounters with aggressive

News

Another archaeological site in Georgia being destroyed

by | January 10, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Another historical object allegedly more than 6,000 years old is believed to be destroyed by a construction company. In a report by the TV channel Rustavi 2, archeologist Iulon Gagoshidze tried to raise the alarm about excavation work at Beri Kldeebi settlement,

Environment

Locals in Tbilisi demonstrating against Chinese road construction company

by | January 9, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a village just south of the Georgian capital Tbilisi, locals are protesting against a Chinese company which they claim is destroying their farm land. Residents in Krtsanisi fear that if the company continues its work, a road leading to the village

In brief

Snowfall causing interruptions several places in Georgia

by | January 8, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two Latvian tourists are stranded in Jvari pass in the north of Georgia. Snowfall is also causing other problems in parts of Georgia. Some areas in the north are without electricity and food supplies. A rescue operation is underway in Jvari pass

Minorities

Weak ruble and new immigration law impacting Armenians in Georgia’s south

by | January 8, 2015

It is a hard winter for ethnic Armenians living in Georgia’s southern Samtskhe-Javakheti region. The fall of the ruble has led to less money being sent home from relatives who have found jobs in Russia, and Georgia’s new immigration law is forcing people

News

Heavy snow and avalanche danger on Georgian roads

by | January 7, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Parts of the important roads in Georgia, including a highway connecting it with Armenia are still blocked due to heavy snow and danger of the deadly avalanches. According to the most recent data of the Georgia’s Road Department,

Economy

Georgia had 2% growth in tourism in 2014

by | January 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia had a two percent growth in tourism in 2014. More than 5.4 million people visited the country last year, which is a 1.9 percent increase compared to 2013. The Interior Ministry published its monthly statistics of visitors to Georgia,

News

Three suspects admit double murder during robbery

by | January 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Tbilisi on Sunday detained three suspects who all pleaded guilty of the murder of two brothers during a robbery of an office. According to the Interior Ministry, the crime took place in Dighomi, a northern Tbilisi suburb. The perpetrators,

In brief

Missing 19-year old boy found dead in Akhalgori

by | January 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 19-year-old boy who has been missing for six month has been found dead in South Ossetia. Davit Basharuli was declared missed last summer. On Monday, locals discovered his body hanging from a tree between Akhalgori and the village Ikoti,

News

Three killed when train crashed with minibus

by | January 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three died and dozens were injured as result of a minibus crashing with a train in western Georgia on January 2. The injured remain in hospital, several of them in a serious condition. Among the injured there were four minors. The accident

News

Georgian priest who died in ferry disaster praised for heroic rescue effort

by | January 4, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A witness has told how a Georgian priest helped save people before he himself perished in the Norman Atlantic disaster. Father Ilia Kartozia reinforced other passengers' confidence, which aided in the evacuation of the doomed ferry, Irakli, a Georgian survivor,

News

One believed dead, three more missing after avalanche

by | January 3, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--One person is believed to have been taken by an avalanche in Bakhmaro, in the Guria region of western Georgia. The victim was part of a group of four youth who were visiting the winter resort on December 31. All of them are still missing and rescue

Opinion

Eurasian Customs Union Crawling Closer to Georgia

by | January 2, 2015

In 2015 Armenia became a full-fledged member of the Russian-led Eurasian Customs Union (ECU). Georgia, on the other hand signed Association Agreement (AA) and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement (DCFTA) with the European Union.

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