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Mikheil Saakashvili

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Current president of Georgia. Many Armenians believe Saakashvili has Armenian roots, due to his last name. "Saak" would be how the Armenian name Sahak would be transliterated in Russian, the lingua franca of the region, and -ashvili is a common way of Georgianizing an Armenian last name.

Met with Minasyan family

Georgian president meets survivors of murdered Armenian family

18:09 - 19.11.11

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has met the relatives of the Minasyan family three of whom had 17 years ago been murdered by Georgians citizens.

According to Georgian media, Saakashvili said that `he was sure that justice would prevail' in the case.

`What happened years ago was a tragedy: members of your family were killed. But justice won. This was the first court case with an attending jury,' said Saakashvili.

`We were very concerned about it, and I think it was extremely necessary that this process had a fair solution,' added the Georgian president.

The murder took place in January 1994 when three ethnic Georgians killed three members of the Georgian-Armenian family of Minasyans and wounded two more.

First, the gangs kidnapped Minasyan's son, Vazgen, and demanded a $15,000 ransom. Having received it, they decided to kill them in an attempt to hide the fact of kidnapping.

Mikheil Saakashvili further said that though two of the jury members were against the verdict, the majority of them found the defendant guilty.

It comes after a Tbilisi court found one of the perpetrators named Revaz Demetrashvili guilty in the case, giving him a 17-year sentence in prison.

`It refers to justice, and those people who treated your family members with that much of cruelty, must not evade punishment,' said Saakashvili.

`Most of them are not alive any more, while the rest has already been sentenced. That means that justice always wins. Justice is with you, and I was sure in that,' explained he.

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