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The News in Brief

Friday, January 19
NATO Military Committee Holds Session on Georgia

The Military Committee, NATO’s highest military authority, discussed Georgia’s progress on its defense reform and the way ahead for the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package at its session dedicated to Georgia on January 17.

“NATO Chiefs of Defense stressed continued support to Substantial NATO-Georgia Package and recognized Georgia’s significant and enduring support for NATO’s operations and missions, especially Resolute Support Mission,” Chairman of the Military Committee, General Petr Pavel wrote on his Twitter after the session on January 17.

Chief of General Staff of Georgia, Vladimer Chachibaia, who also attended the session, said that the Georgian side briefed NATO officials on security challenges faced by Georgia and the region and discussed the achievements and future plans on Substantial NATO-Georgia Package.

The Military Committee meets three times a year, at the level of Chiefs of Defense to discuss NATO operations and missions and provide the North Atlantic Council with consensus-based military advice on how the Alliance can best meet global security challenges. (

Local strongman assassinated in South Ossetia

A former militiaman was assassinated in South Ossetia on Tuesday. Breakaway authorities claim the suspect fled to Georgian-controlled territory.

Marek Dudayev was shot three times in Artsevi, his native village near the breakaway capital Tskhinvali, local media reports. His body was found in a building housing the village culture center.

There is no verified information so far about what could have motivated the murder.

Tskhinvali de facto authorities identified a local resident, 32 year old Vyacheslav Koziev as a suspect and said he “presumably found refuge on territory controlled by Georgia.”

The murdered Marek Dudaev was an ethnic Ossetian with Chechen roots. In 2004, he was apprehended by Georgian special forces on territory controlled by breakaway authorities. During the operation, Dudayev sustained seven bullet wounds but managed to recover.

The following year, a Georgian court sentenced him to 23 years in jail for homicide, abduction, money extortion and other grave crimes, but in 2013, he was released after having served nine years due to an amnesty. South Ossetian de facto authorities and many Georgian human rights activists had also demanded his release.

Dudaev pleaded innocent to all but one of the charges, related to the vendetta-style murder of an ethnic Georgian man, who allegedly was involved in a brutal crime against members of Dudayev’s family.

That tragedy occurred in the early 1990s, on the eve of Georgian-Ossetian conflict. A group of men burst into the Dudaev’s house in Artsevi presumably to plunder it. They brutally tortured both Dudaev’s parents and raped his sister. The father died of wounds received in the crime. Marek Dudayev was 14 at the time.

Three men believed to have had ties to the crime were subsequently killed, but Dudayev pleaded guilty of only one murder, that of Besik Tenadze. He distanced himself from the other crimes and dubbed it a “Georgian provocation”.

Before and after his release from a Tbilisi prison, Marek Dudayev was deemed to have a strong informal – many believe a criminal – authority in Artsevi and throughout South Ossetia. (

State Audit Office says it does not question state immunization program

The State Audit Office does not question the state immunization program, including the anti-rabies vaccine, - the State Audit Office says in a statement.

According to the statement, the preliminary inquiry revealed that the World Health Organization recommended the suspension of a specific of vaccine against rabies.

"This fact has become one of the reasons for including the audit of the immunization program in the Audit Plan 2018. The State Audit Office considered it necessary to study the implementation of the recommendations issued by the World Health Organization. After the publication of the Audit Plan 2018, a work meeting was held between the State Audit Office and the Ministry, where the Ministry presented various arguments and evidence, including the quality of the anti- rabies vaccine. The State Audit Office does not doubt the state immunization program, including the vaccine against rabies," reads the statement.

According to the State Audit Office, the audit showed that the vaccines used in the amount of 29 999 doses in Georgia, could not pass the registration and was to be withdrawn by the recommendation of the World Health Organization, but was still allowed on the Georgian market by a commission on the basis of satisfying the minimal standard. (IPN)