Georgia's Ombudsman conducted press-conference regarding Tsalka events
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Armenian Center for Cooperation in Georgia
MAR 12, 2006

On the 11th of March a press conference was conducted in public defender's
office regarding the incident that took place on the 9th of March as a
result of which Mr. Gevorg Gevorgyan was killed and other ethnic Armenian
citizens of Georgia were injured to various degrees.

According to official data, five suspects were detained by the Police of
Georgia and other suspects are searched for.

The incident provoked a mass protest of ethnic Armenian residents of Javakhk
region, which later grew into violence. The demonstration was dismissed by
special security service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia
based in other regions of Georgia.

The next day after the collision a group of representatives of the Public
Defender of Georgia arrived in Tsalka.

After having preliminarily studied the case the Ombudsman of Georgia Mr.
Sozar Subari stated that the conflict happened based on 'common' grounds.
Public defender called to let government officials finish the investigation
of Tsalka events without any pressure or hindrance.

Mr. Karen Elchyan, President of the Armenian Centre of Cooperation of
Georgia, has also come out with a statement. He expressed condolences to the
family of the murder victim and presented the official position of his
organization. He stated that there are two different versions of the
motivation of the crime, and one of the versions, namely the ethnic hatred
motivation, is held by the victims of the crime.

Responding to a journalist's question regarding Javakhk Armenians' requests
of autonomy for Javakhk he noted that such requests are entirely lawful and
are based on the principles of federalism and territorial integrity of
state.  Residents of the region, he stated, are convinced that granting
Javakhk autonomy would contribute to fulfillment of their obligations and
rights as of citizens of Georgia.

The Armenian Apostolic Church Diocese of Georgia has also commented on the
events in Tsalka. The Assistant to the Head of the Diocese of Armenian
Apostolic Church, Mr. Levon Isakhanyan supported the position of Mr. Karen
Elchyan regarding the existence of two versions of motivation of the crime.
He added that such crimes are consequence of anti-Armenian hysteria,
launched by the means of Georgian mass-media.

On behalf of the Diocese, he called for the appropriate government bodies to
pay sufficient attention to the problems of the Armenian Apostolic Church
Diocese of Georgia, interethnic relations and defending rights of the ethnic
minorities residing in Georgia.