Watch Video Tapes!
14 April, 2011
Watch Video Tapes!

Court refuses to accept documents  that prove innocence of defendant

Georgian courts are adamant not to retrieve and watch video tapes believed to be the evidence. It goes on even today.

Gela Nikoleishvili, lawyer: The Georgian justice serves public interests of opportunists lounging in the Government, not the interests of justice. How many instances shall I name? Take the recent example when they detained famous Georgian actor Gia Burjanadze and four other participants – Lasha Chkhartishvili, Jaba Jishkariani, Irakli Kakabadze.

Video recordings were immediately available for the court hearings where veterans were tried for allegedly resisting police. There too, the court did not accept the video proof. Consequently, the above said people were accused of confronting police and decreed by court to be guilty based only on the words of policemen, disregarding all witnesses and tapes that could have spoken otherwise. It is because tapes would show clearly that no one resisted the police and that the policemen lied in the court. The judges and the policemen – all of them knew it very well but nevertheless they lied.
Q: According to the relevant articles of European Convention, a judge has no right to reject familiarization with the evidence. Then why does the Georgian justice system refuse to even recognize the documented evidence?
A: They claim that video tapes could be faked or chopped to omit the needed moments. If a court doubts genuineness of a tape, what on earth could prevent them from holding an expertise to ascertain whether the evidence is indeed rigged? If you do not watch the tape how would you know whether it is useful or useless? This means they made the decision in advance.
They prohibited us - lawyers – from not only collecting evidence but even requesting a permission from the court to collect such evidence (i.e. phone data, etc.). If we decide to retrieve a video record, an organization in question says a court order is required for that, while the court points at the law and the vicious circle is closed up.
Ernest Isaakovich, Russian human rights activist: ‘I happened to attend a court hearing in Georgia. I was flabbergasted. The judge refused to accept documents proving innocence of the indicted person! The poor person was saying to the judge: ‘Here, take the evidence –video tape, audio material, documents, testimonies - that prove I am innocent…Please, watch the tape! In reply, the judge said he did not need any of it!
If a judge does not care about the documents, what sense is having the courts? Every Authority in Georgia resembles the other. There are no honest courts either in Russia or in Georgia.
Kakha Lomia, lawyer: I am a lawyer of Prof. Vakhtang Vakhania. Vakhania was arrested in his own apartment where law enforcers “found” a whole depot of weapons and ammunition. He had a CCTV installed inside his apartment. So, the tape gives full account of who did what there. Officially, only two policemen searched the apartment. But actually, the apartment was swarming with the whole squadron of masked men armed up to their ears. They ripped the monitor off and took it away. Soon they returned it but the tape was spoiled. The family sent the monitor to its manufacturer abroad who found that the tape had been subjected to the high voltage electricity current. They nonetheless managed to restore and send back the tape. Yet, the court refused even to look at it, saying that it did not contain scenes of searching of the apartment, despite the fact that the tape basically contains exactly such scenes and nothing else.
P.S. Readers can watch the above mentioned video records on and and judge themselves.


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