A former warlord, Emzar Kvitsiani, who was in charge of Kodori gorge in breakaway Abkhazia before being ousted from there by government forces in 2006 after he declared defiance to the authorities in Tbilisi, was found guilty of forming illegal armed group and mutiny and sentenced by court in the town of Zugdidi to 12 years in prison.
Kvitsiani, who denied charges, was detained upon arrival in Tbilisi from Moscow in February, 2014. Prosecutors said at the time that Kvitsiani had to return to Georgia after Russia “deported” him. Kvitsiani’s defense lawyer said that the verdict would be appealed in the higher court.
Before the 2008 August war, upper part of Kodori gorge was the only area in breakaway Abkhazia under Tbilisi’s control. The Monadire (Hunter) paramilitary group was formed by the local Georgian residents after the armed conflict broke out in Abkhazia in 1992 to protect the gorge from potential Abkhaz offensive. The group was in charge of the gorge and central government’s authority was nominal over Kodori. It, however, changed in summer 2006. On July 22, 2006 Kvitsiani, who was head of the Monadire paramilitary group, announced defiance to the Georgian central authorities and refused to disarm his paramilitary group; authorities responded by sending troops to Kodori, forcing Kvitsiani to flee.