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 interior minister. Before starting to work at the Interior Ministry in 2013, he was head of the security guards of Bidzina Ivanishivli, the businessman and godfather for the Georgian Dream coalition who served as prime minister for almost a year. Before that, Gomelauri worked in the state-run security guard service which protects shops and other private properties, beginning in 2002.
January 23, Alexandre Chikaize, the former police colonel who replaced Irakli Garibashvili as interior minister in late 2013, resigned after the fatal bombing of human rights activist Yuri Vazagashvili, who for many years campaigned for justice for his son Zurab and others who were killed in “shoot first, ask later” type police operations during Saakashvili.
Chikaidze explained in a short statement that he made his decision in order to preempt accusations that he was protecting the policemen who murdered Zurab Vazagashvili in 2006. He said he feels responsibility for distancing himself from law enforcement so there won’t be questions hanging over the government as it proceeds with the investigation.