Georgia has set up a special investigative group which will arrive in the Central African Republic to investigate the alleged participation of Georgian peacekeepers in the sexual abuse of local minors. The group is composed of members of the military police, representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office and independent experts.
Minister: special group of Georgians will investigate military sex scandal in the Central African Republic
By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, February 29
The information was released by the Defense Minister, Tina Khidasheli after a session of the Security Council held on February 27.
According to Khidasheli, the first stage of the investigation has been completed and the Defence Ministry is doing its best to effectively investigate the case.
“For me, the Minister of Defence, it is a matter of dignity to wash this stain off the Georgian Army,” stated Khidasheli .
Moreover, the Minister added that the Georgiam side has already met with European commanders and examined archival materials kept in Brussels. Georgian representatives had consultations with the French side as well, whose peacekeepers are also named amongst the suspects.
Khidasheli hopes that after the group of Georgians arrives in the Central African Republic (CAR), the government will let them meet the victims of the abuse.
The Chief of the General Staff, Vakhtang Kapanadze, believes that Georgian soldiers are not involved in the case.
“I believe that my soldiers when they say they are not guilty. Nobody has been dismissed from their positions. However, the authority of several military officials has been suspended until the investigation is over,” said Kapanadze.
It should be mentioned that in late January 2016, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, reported on the sexual exploitation and abuse of local minors in CAR by members of foreign military forces.
A joint UN team in the CAR interviewed a number of girls, aged between 14-16, who said they had been sexually exploited or abused by foreign soldiers, Georgians among them.
The Georgian side says that according to preliminary data, no violence was committed by Georgian military servicemen in the CAR. The soldiers who participated in the mission deny having any close contact with the locals.