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Thomas Hammarberg says both parties severely violated human rights during the August war

By Ana Robakidze
Tuesday, April 16
EU special representative to Georgia, Thomas Hammarberg held a press conference on Sunday, where he spoke about the violation of social and economic rights in Georgia and the troublesome situation in children’s education and said Georgia trails European countries in children’s academic success.

The EU special representative in Georgia welcomes the idea of reinvestigating the August War of 2008, as he has no doubts about who started the war. It is perfectly described in the Tagliavini report. "Everything is perfectly reflected in the conclusion of Tagliavini, and I advise you to read it properly, as long as this commission is international and there's no doubt about the conclusion," Hammerberg said. However, he is sure both parties severely violated human rights in August.

“Many complaints have been filed at The Hague and Strasbourg Courts regarding human rights violations during wars, violation of hostages’ rights and other military crimes. The Hague and Strasbourg Courts started the investigation on the basis of the complaints and this concerns only human rights and war crimes," Hammerberg said.

He regrets there has been a misunderstanding in the media around the issue of investigation. "It is not about who started the war and whether it was possible to avoid the war," he said, advising the Georgian government to once again review the Tagliavini report, “My advice is to return to the Tagliavini report and read it fully. This report says what was done or was not done to avoid the 2008 War,” Hammerberg said.

While speaking about the amended law on common courts, which was recently approved by the Georgian parliament and among other changes also establishes a new way of selecting members of the high Council of Justice, Hammerberg said he welcomes the reforms. Hammerberg believes that ongoing changes will improve the system of justice. He also emphasized that the law does not oppose the Venice Commission recommendations.

Hammerberg agrees with one of the major recommendations of the commission and says it is important to make sure that the high Council of Justice is free from political influence and members are not changed after every election in the country.

“The government, including the Prime Minister, confirmed that there will not be attempt to gain political influence on justice. We hope there will not be political interference and the system will be refined,” he said.

The EU special representative to Georgia announced that a report on human rights in Georgia will be presented by him in September.