The family house in Pankisi valley was burnt to ground in a suspected arson case linked to a family feud (

The victim’s family demands an urgent and comprehensive investigation into a suspected arson case, which will otherwise be solved through the application of traditional law.

A family house in Pankisi valley was burnt to ground in a suspected arson case linked to a family feud, Pankisi-based Radio Way  (‘We’) and the Kakheti Information Centre (ICK) reported.

The incident happened on the night of 18 April in the village of Duisi and is believed to have been motivated by a family feud.

The house, which belonged to Omar Kavtarov, managed to burn to the ground before the fire brigade arrived to the site. No-one was present in the house at the time of the incident. Mr Kavtarov and his family live permanently in Grozny and they only come to Duisi periodically, usually during the summer months.

According to Mr Kavtarov, there were two attempts at setting fire under his house. During the alleged first attempt, he was in Duisi, staying at his cousin’s house.

‘My neighbours managed to extinguish the fire during the first attempt. In the morning, I told the head of Duisi police department that someone tried to set fire under my house and a part of one room was burnt down. He said that I could file a report and they would launch an investigation. I didn’t write the report and they didn’t come. The next day, I went back to Chechnya. I was called today morning and told that my house burnt down’, Mr Kavtarov told  ICK on 18 April.

Relatives of the victim assembled immediately after the incident in order to discuss their next steps, awaiting the police’s arrival and the beginning of the investigation. They also declared that they believed that the arson was motivated by feud and that they had a suspect.

‘We are waiting for [the reaction of] the law enforcement. If they don’t come, then we’ll decide something’, victim’s relative Pido Kavtatashvili told ICK after the incident.

According to ICK, the feud might be link to an alleged incident, in which in the summer of last year a group of Omar Kavtarov’s relatives severely beat a ‘former relative’. In result of the violence, he’s suffered a grave health impairment and requires a constant medical care. Police allegedly didn’t react to the report of the incident.

The Kavtarashvili family has already issued a ‘suspicion warning’ (echvmitanilis gaprtkhileba) to the suspect of the arson, which in the region’s traditional legal system means that he is required to take a position — to confirm the allegation or to deny it, presenting a proof of innocence. The case will be later brought into a joint consideration of both families’ elders, who will issue a verdict. In case they rule that the deed was intentionally committed, the family of the perpetrator will need to pay twice the cost of damages.

The police launched an investigation into a possible case of international damage to property through negligence, punished by a fine, up to one year of corrective labour, or up to two years of restriction of freedom.

Kakheti Information Centre contributed to this report.