The messenger logo

Occupied territories: between the law and the strategy

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, November 4
Georgia has adopted two very important documents concerning its occupied territories. One is the law on occupied territories and second is its strategy in regards to the occupied territories. In a way these two documents contradict each other, because the law on occupied territories means and demands exclusion, whereas the second document promotes inclusion. Therefore both documents were modified while being implemented. The law on occupied territories envisages a special legislative regime, restricting free entry territories and movement thereto as well as restriction of economic activities, any kind of judicial deals over real estate and other similar steps. Strategy on occupied territories envisages many such activities which are restricted by law.

So, there is difference between law and an action strategy plan. The occupied territories are isolated from Georgia by Russia. Georgia cannot refute such policy, so it is in the best interests of Georgia to maintain contacts with its population staying in occupied territories which is the activity area for the strategy. But the realization of this strategy practically depends on Russian good will and Moscow has no good will whatsoever. Therefore the strategy adopted several months ago does not yield any visible results.

On November 1, State Minister for Reintegration Temur Iakobashvili introduced to the parliament new recommendations for the amendments in the law on occupied territories. So, the organistaions wanting to carry out some activities in the occupied territories, according to the strategy, would be allowed to do so. The projects would be discussed and approved by the Reintegration Ministry. Of course, this activity should be carried out in compliance with Georgian legislation including using toponyms.

It also envisages preserving parity so that representatives of both sides, those who live in the occupied territories and IDPs, should participate in equal numbers.

Certain changes will be introduced concerning passports. The Reintegration Ministry should facilitate the restoring of confidence between the Abkhaz and Georgian population, as well as the Georgian and Ossetian population. Iakobashvili once again confirmed that Georgia is not going to sign a non use of force agreement with its own territories of Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, because the similar document has already been signed with Russia under French brokerage.

So, Georgia is trying to take some extra steps to make it easy for international organizations to facilitate Georgia’s territorial reintegration, but there remains a long and difficult way sto go.