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Georgian citizens detained at the administrative border with South Ossetia

By Mzia Kupunia
Thursday, May 20
The de facto South Ossetian law enforcers and the Russian border police deployed at the administrative border between Georgia and its breakaway region of South Ossetia detained 8 Georgian citizens, news agency Osinform reported. The de facto South Ossetian deputy Special Representative in Post Conflict Regulation Issues, Merab Chigoev said that on May 18 five Georgian citizens were detained in the village of Znauri on “illegal border crossing charges.”

“The same day one more Georgian citizen was detained at the village of Artsevi, Tskhinvali region - again on illegal border crossing charges,” Chigoev told Osinform. “Right now we are investigating the reasons of violation of the border by the Georgian citizens,” Chigoev was quoted as saying.

2 more citizens of Georgia were detained on May 18 in the village of Znauri again on “illegal border crossing charges.” Osinform reported that both of them were teenagers. “The teens were notified verbally and released,” Chigoev said.

Later on Wednesday, the Georgian media reported on the detention of two citizens of Georgia, Murman Makatsarashvili and Mirian Burjenidze. They were detained at the village of Jria, Sachkhere region. Both are members of the Movement for Fair Georgia, led by ex-Prime Minister, Zurab Noghaideli. “The reason for the detention is that neither had IDs with them,” officials from Movement for Fair Georgia said.

Incidents connected with the detention of the Georgian citizens at the administrative border with de facto South Ossetia happen almost every week, deputy Governor of Shida Kartli region, Giorgi Avaliani said.

We do not have exact information or details of the matter; however we know that several Georgians have been detained and that they were detained at the administrative border. “The reason for these incidents is that the territories bordering the occupied regions of Georgia are now left almost without any control. The monitoring missions and the observers have no access to control both sides of the conditional border and these kinds of provocations take place frequently. These incidents will not end until the international society becomes even more active and effective security measures are implemented in the region,” Avaliani told The Messenger.

As for the preventive measures that the Georgian side can make by itself, the Deputy Governor of Shida Kartli noted that the officials can only warn the local population about the threats. “All we can do is to have an information campaign to keep people informed about the real threats. This is the only mechanism for now. The most correct way to solve the problem would be to implement an international police monitoring mission so that the monitors have a chance to observe the situation on the ground. To see in what conditions the population is living and the kind of risks they are facing. The aggression comes from the other side of the administrative border; here on the Georgian side everything is normal and the people are living peacefully,” Avaliani said.