GEORGIAN STATE DOESN'T ENSURE ARMENIAN CITIZENS' SECURITY ANY LONGER, ARMENIAN COOPERATION CENTRE OF GEORGIA EMPHASIZES
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TBILISI, MARCH 15, NOYAN TAPAN

"Sorrowfully, the safety of the Armenian citizens of Georgia is no longer a guarantee of the Georgian state, to which a testimony is a high rise of crime directed against Armenians of Georgia," the official statement of the Armenian Cooperation Centre of Georgia in connection with the Tsalka incident read.

On the 9th of March, as a result of an armed attack in Tsalka Gevorg Gevorkyan was killed, as well as other Georgian citizens of Armenian ethnicity were wounded to different degrees. This caused mass protests in the Armenian-populated region of Samtskhe-Javakheti (Javakhk).

The ACCG is convinced in the necessity of the prompt investigation and solution of the criminal case opened by the county's Ministry of Internal Affairs law enforcement bodies according to the clause 109 of the Penal Code of Georgia, and the pronouncement of just sentence to the group of criminals. The organization will supervise the course of investigation within the framework of its competences. According to the official position of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, the murder in Tsalka has been committed on common grounds and does not have ethnic pretext.

According to the preliminary data of the investigation, it was a usual quarrel, which began at a restaurant between drunk people and developed into a fight and knifing during which one of its participants was stabbed to death and others were wounded. Ministry of Internal Affairs, however, remains silent about the fact that the attacked Armenians were also beaten-up by the employees of that same Ministry.

In the opinion of the ACCG any premature definition of corpus delicti on the government level is inappropriate and can damage the objective investigation of the case. It is also wrong to make premature conclusions regarding the motivations of the crime before the detention of all suspects.

The Armenian Cooperation Centre of Georgia is convinced that such crimes against citizens of Armenian origin are encouraged by the established and growing anti-Armenian atmosphere in the Georgian society. The Georgian mass media plays an active role in this, by promoting negative stereotypes of Armenians in the society and ethnic dissociation in the country. Certain anti-Armenian articles and news releases demonstrate not only chauvinistic sentiments, but also the elementary unprofessional approach of many representatives of the country's mass media. It is significant that besides of citizens of Armenian origin, the subject of such an aggression becomes also the holy of holies of the Armenian people, Armenian Apostolic Holy Church.

Concerning the activities undertaken in Akhalkalaki, the ACCG fully supports the legitimate demands of our fellow citizens and is ready to promote their realization. At the same time, the Armenian Cooperation Centre of Georgia calls on the supreme bodies of the country's government to pay more attention to interethnic relations and the rights of ethnic minorities, as well as to the promotion of principles of tolerance and equality in our country.