Report on violations of Human Rights during the Russian-Georgian war
By Messenger Staff
Thursday, May 6
On May 5 Open Society Georgia Foundation and Georgian Human Rights NGOs released a report on violations of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law during the Russian-Georgian war of August 2008.
The report presentation took place in the Exhibition hall of the National Library of the Parliament of Georgia. On February 2, 2010 Georgian NGOs presented the draft report to the Prosecutor Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague. After the presentation the final version of the report will be sent to ICC and this will be the start for further investigation.
With the support of the Open Society Georgian Foundation the report was prepared based on the materials collected by the five Georgian non-governmental organizations, such as: Georgian Young Lawyers' Association, Human Rights Center, Union "21st Century", Article 42 of Constitution, Center for Protection of Constitutional Rights.
Present Report is based on stories presented by IDPs and enables to demonstrate to the world and to the ICC the facts and documentary materials on cruel and inhuman actions committed massively on the Georgian territory.
“Our report does not and cannot reflect the complete investigation of the outcomes of August war, though the tragic stories of the IDPs, facts and documental materials described are the clear evidence of the cruel and inhuman actions carried out on the territory of Georgia”.
The main value of the given report is that it is the result of the immediate action implemented by the Georgian organizations for human rights protection. Upon the end of the military actions, in September 2008, the organizations in coordination with each other started revealing the facts of human rights and humanitarian law violations. It should be mentioned that the organizations participating in the project still continue advocating about 1000 war victims in the European court.
The report refers only to the events occurred in South Ossetia Autonomic Region and Shida Kartli region and does not give the picture of the activities implemented in Kodori Gorge due to the lack of information.
According to the authors they were unable to access the information possessed by the Ossetian side and check the reality of the facts in open resources due to the restrictions on traveling in the conflict zone. Therefore this report describes only those facts and events that could be identified and proved by our side’’-the Executive Director of the Open Society Georgia Foundation, Keti Khutsishvili says.
During the work on the present document NGOs collected and analyzed materials, which depict the 2008 conflict. 1055 IDPs were interviewed and all the collected materials were processed statistically as well as with application of fact-comparison methodology.
Pursuant to the stories of IDPs, statements made by the representatives of the de facto authorities, photo and video materials, assessments of numerous international organizations and researchers and reporters, it can be stated with full confidence:
“The goal of the so-called “peace enforcement operation” carried out jointly by the Russian and the South Ossetian authorities was to clean Georgian villages on the South Ossetian territory from ethnically Georgian population. Ethnic cleansing was carried out in a well planned and systematic manner.
The information and documents collected by NGOs are extensive and enough to show the widespread and systematic nature of the attacks on villages in South Ossetia. Massive bombing of residential houses, agricultural lands, orchards, schools and entire city/village civilian infrastructure by the Russian aviation, as well as burning of houses and annihilation of the entire villages by South Ossetia armed authorities was another prove of targeted ethnic cleansing. The evidence indicates indiscriminate and disproportionate bombing resulting in the deaths of numerous civilians.
Georgian NGOs believe that when the crime is committed, issue of liability should be addressed. International law and the protection mechanisms set up by the democratic world have to be applied equally and regardless the size and influence of the state and/or duration of the war.