The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers has adopted a decision on the agenda item “Council of Europe and Conflict in Georgia”Thursday, 05 May 2022 12:43
The Council of Europe Committee of Ministers adopted its ninth decision on the agenda item “Council of Europe and Conflict in Georgia” on 4 May 2022.
The decision of the Committee of Ministers establishes the responsibility of the Russian Federation for the grave situation in Georgia’s occupied regions as the State exercising effective control over those regions. The document welcomes the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case Georgia v. Russia that established the responsibility of the Russian Federation for grave human rights violations during the period of occupation of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia following the August 2008 war, as the State exercising effective control over those regions
The Committee of Ministers also welcomes the decision of the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant application for the war crimes committed in the context of the August 2008 armed conflict in Georgia, and calls on the Russian Federation to execute the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case Georgia v. Russia as well as to co-operate with the Office of prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
The Committee of Ministers expresses deep concern over the death of Genadi Bestaev, calls for removal of any obstacles to ending impunity in cases concerning the murder of ethnic Georgians in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia and recalls the “Otkhozaria-Tatunashvili List” adopted by the Parliament of Georgia, and the national restrictive measures decided on by the Georgian Government against those responsible for grave human rights abuses in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia.
The Decision reiterates the call to the Russian Federation as the State exercising effective control: to immediately release Irakli Bebua, Mamuka Chkhikvadze and all other illegal detainees; to create conditions for the voluntary, safe and dignified return of all IDPs and refugees; calls for ensuring that the Council of Europe monitoring bodies are granted access to the Georgian regions concerned.
The document highlights the importance of engagement of the Commissioner for Human Rights and the Secretary General in monitoring the human righst situation in the Russian-occupied regions of Georgia.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia welcomes yet another decision of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers on the conflict in Georgia and thanks the CoE Member States for firm support and cooperation.
MFA of Georgia
Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia regarding the so-called elections in the occupied Tskhinvali Region/South OssetiaMonday, 11 April 2022 11:00
Such provocative actions are aimed to legitimize the illegal occupation of the Georgian regions and the ethnic cleansing of Georgians.
Given the illegal occupation of Georgia’s two regions and the occupying power exercising an effective control on the ground, the so-called elections cannot have any legal effect. The so-called referendum on unification with Russia recently announced by the Tskhinvali occupation regime will likewise be null and void as another illegal step taken towards annexation.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia calls on the Russian Federation to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and to comply with its international obligations, including the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, and to reverse its illegal decision on recognition of so-called independence of the occupied regions.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia appeals to the international community to give a due assessment and take effective measures on the illegal step aimed to infringe on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.
“The decision of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe is unprecedented, as it introduces the term occupation at the executive level for the first time,” the Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani declared on Thursday.
“Our main priority is to make the Russian-Georgian conflict issue real in the international arena and mobilize the support of the international community. We have another important success in this direction. The CoE Committee of Ministers in Strasbourg has adopted a decision on Georgia. We have been adopting such documents within this organization every year since 2014. But the decision is unprecedented this year as the term occupation has been introduced at the executive level for the first time,” FM said.
Zalkaliani underscored that the Committee of Ministers welcomed the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the Georgia v. Russia war case.
“Committee of Ministers welcomed the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the Georgia v. Russia 2008 war case that established the responsibility of the Russian Federation for grave human rights violations during the occupation of the Georgian Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region following the August 2008 war,” the Minister said.
According to Zalkaliani, the Committee of Ministers called on Russia to execute the ECHR judgment.
“In addition, it calls on the Russian Federation, as the state exercising effective control, to ensure the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia, by taking concrete steps outlined in detail in the document. Committee calls on Russia to secure immediate and unrestricted access of the Council of Europe bodies to the Georgian regions,” Minister said.
Zalkaliani praised all members of the organization who supported this decision.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe took its eighth decision on Georgia on May 12, 2012.
Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the 52nd Round of the Geneva International DiscussionsTuesday, 30 March 2021 14:17
In the frames of the negotiations the Georgian delegation talked extensively about the historic Judgment of the European Court of Human rights, which creates a significant international legal instrument in the process of peaceful conflict resolution. Participants from Georgia underlined that the Court established the Russian Federation’s effective control over and occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia and hence ruled the Russian Federation’s responsibility for the human rights violations during the August 2008 War and the subsequent period of occupation. The Georgian delegation stated that the ECHR underlined the Russian Federation’s responsibility for ethnic cleansing of Georgian population and for hampering the implementation of the right of return of IDPs and refugees. The Georgian participants also pointed to those parts of the Judgment which highlight the non-compliance with the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement by the Russian Federation and its continuous large-scale military presence in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia in violation of the undertaken obligations.
Significant attention was paid to the increased militarisation and regular military exercises in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia, continuation of the creeping occupation in the territory adjacent to the village Chorchana, as well as Russia’s intensified use of the hybrid war instruments, which serves for the destabilisation of the situation in the country.
An important part of the negotiations was dedicated to the grave humanitarian and social-economic consequences of the restriction of freedom of movement along the occupation line. Dire conditions of the residents of Gali and Akhalgori districts as well as of the Codori Gorge was stressed in this context. Fatal results entailed by hampering medical evacuations was emphasised and necessity of unimpeded access to healthcare services of people living in the occupied territories was underlined. Georgian participants raised the issue of restriction of freedom of movement of Tamar Mearakishvili, the activist from Akhalgori district, who had not been allowed to cross the occupation line and visit her family by Tskhinvali occupation regime for years.
The talks also focused on ethnic discrimination of Georgians remained in the occupied territories, grave consequence of the restriction of education in native language, as well as crucial importance of protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of local population. The Georgian delegation pointed to the increased attempts of russification and isolation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions from the rest of Georgia.
It was highlighted that the impunity in the cases of murder of David Basharuli, Giga Otkhozoria and Archil Tatunashvili encouraged ethnically based violence and crime. The Georgian delegation once again raised the issue of the necessity for execution of justice in the mentioned cases.
The emphasis was made on the need for access of the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM), as well as international human rights organisations in Georgia’s occupied territories. The necessity for ensuring unimpeded humanitarian support for the conflict-affected people during the COVID-19 pandemic was stressed, which in its turn represents one of the main obligations under the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.
Extensive talks were held on the efficient use of the negotiations formats, including the need for regular and proper functioning of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs). In this context the necessity of unconditional resumption of Gali IPRM and unhindered work of Ergmeti IPRM was underlined.
The necessity of adequately addressing problems and needs of conflict-affected and IDP women was highlighted in both working groups and the importance of amplification of “Women, Peace and Security” agenda in peace negotiations was underlined.
Active discussions were held on the major agenda items such as non-use of force and establishment of international security arrangements. The Georgian delegation underlined crucial importance of reiteration and implementation of the non-use of force obligation by Russia in light of Moscow’s continued use of force and threat of use of force against Georgia through its illegal military presence and regular military exercises in the occupied territories. The Georgian participants stressed that the only guarantee for the ceasefire and non-use of force was the deployment of international security mechanisms in the occupied territories, which would have been a milestone in the process of lasting peace and security on the ground. Georgian participants made emphasis on the issue of implementation of EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement by Russia, as well as demanded withdrawal of Russian occupation forces from the territory of Georgia and deployment of international security mechanisms on the ground.
Active exchange of views took place on one of the major agenda items like safe and dignified return of IDPs and refugees expelled as a result of ethnic cleansing from Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia. Despite the attempts of the Georgian delegation for non-politicised discussion of the issue the Russian Federation and the representatives of the occupation regimes once again tried to use this topic for political manipulations and left the negotiations table during the discussions on this agenda item.
The next round of the GID will be held on 29-30 June 2021.
Geneva International Discussions were launched on the basis of the 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement. Discussions are held within the frames of two Working Groups, where participants are represented in their individual capacity. In the first Working Group talks are focused on security and stability in the occupied territories of Georgia, while in second Working Group – on humanitarian and human rights situation in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, as well as on the issues related to safe and dignified return of IDPs and refugees to the places of their origin. The discussions are held with Co-Chairmanship of the EU, UN and OSCE, and participation of Georgia, the Russian Federation and the USA. The Head of the Provisional Administration of the former South Ossetian Autonomous District and the Chairman of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, as well as the representatives of the Sokhumi and Tskhinvali occupation regimes also attend the Working Groups.
On 24 March 2020, the UN Human Rights Council adopted the Resolution on Cooperation with Georgia.
The Resolution was presented by the Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Lasha Darsalia, who spoke about the severe human rights situation in occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions.
Notwithstanding the repeated calls by the Human Rights Council and efforts of the High Commissioner, the Russian Federation -continues to prevent the international human rights monitoring mechanisms from entering both Russian-occupied regions of Georgia.
The Deputy Minister referred to the High Commissioner’s reports vividly depicting the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation on the ground, as well as the suffering of the conflict-affected people in both Georgian regions, the flagrant violations of the fundamental rights and the various forms of discrimination based on ethnic grounds, particularly affecting ethnic Georgians in both Georgian regions. The Deputy Minister underscored the negative impact of the closures of crossing points – in some cases imposed in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and noted that dozens died since the closure of the occupation line in September 2019 due to the refusing and delaying emergency evacuation.
According to the Deputy Minister, the report emphasizes that no one has been held accountable for the cases of arbitrary deprivation of life of ethnic Georgians that occurred between 2014 and 2019 and the lack of accountability therefore continued to contribute to climate of impunity, which could lead to further tensions and violence in both Georgian regions.
Speaking before the Council, Lasha Darsalia emphasized that the recent decision of the power exercising effective control in Tskhinvali region to prolong the illegal detention of Zaza Gakheladze for more than 12 years is yet another alarming example of manipulation with people’s fates.
Alarmingly, the Russian Federation continues to use the humanitarian and human rights issues for its far-reaching goal to put political pressure on the government of Georgia and further destabilize the situation on the ground.
The above-mentioned once again clearly demonstrates the urgent need of access for the OHCHR and other international human rights monitoring mechanisms to both Georgian regions.
The delegations of the EU, UK, Poland and the Czech Republic made statements in support for Georgia calling on the Council members to vote for the Resolution initiated by Georgia.
In the Resolution adopted on 24 March, the UN Human Rights Council reaffirms its commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. The UN Human Rights Council recognizes with appreciation the efforts of the Government of Georgia to strengthen democracy, the rule of law and the promotion and protection of human rights.
The UN Human Rights Council welcomes the cooperation of the Government of Georgia with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as with the special procedures of the Human Rights Council.
The Resolution expresses serious concern over the human rights and humanitarian situation in the occupied regions of Georgia with special emphasis on reported kidnappings, arbitrary detention, interference with property rights, restrictions on access to education in one’s native language, free movement and residence, as well as continued discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin in both regions.
The Resolution expresses serious concern at the continuous process of installation and advancement of barbed wire fences and different artificial barriers along the occupation line in Abkhazia, Georgia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, Georgia and adjacent areas, including during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Resolution expresses serious concern that despite the Secretary-General’s appeal for an immediate global ceasefire, the situation of human rights has further deteriorated in both Georgian regions, particularly owing to growing violations and restrictions on humanitarian access,
The Resolution expresses serious concern also at the negative consequences of the prolonged closure of the so-called crossing points and the increasing restrictions on freedom of movement, particularly the denial of medical evacuations by the authorities exercising effective control in both regions, which has contributed to a number of deaths and the further isolation of the regions, thereby aggravating the humanitarian and socioeconomic situation on the ground which has been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Resolution expresses serious concern further at the lack of accountability for unlawful killings of ethnic Georgians committed in the period from 2014 to 2019, which continues to contribute to impunity in both Abkhazia, Georgia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, Georgia.
The Resolution recognizes the importance of the Geneva International Discussions established on the basis of the ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008 as an instrument for addressing security, stability, human rights and humanitarian issues on the ground.
It needs to be highlighted that the Resolution takes note of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, which holds Russia accountable for the violation of international law norms and fundamental human rights during the August 2008 war, as well as for the occupation of and effective control over the Georgian territories.
The Resolution expresses concern that internally displaced persons and refugees continue to be deprived of the right to return to their homes in a safe and dignified manner.
The document expresses serious concern at the repeated denial of access to international and regional monitors, including the United Nations human rights mechanisms, to both Georgian regions and calls on the authorities exercising effective control in those regions to grant them unimpeded access.
The Resolution requests the High Commissioner to present to the Human Rights Council an oral update and a written report on the follow-up to the present resolution.
MFA of Georgia
2020 Compilation Report on the human rights violations in the Russia-occupied territories of GeorgiaMonday, 15 February 2021 13:10
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia prepared 2020 Compilation Report on the human rights violations in the Russia-occupied territories of Georgia, which is based on the documents adopted within the international organizations.
The Report covers the difficult human rights situation in the Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, including the facts of discrimination, violations of the right to life and health, right to native language education, illegal detentions, kidnappings.
The Report aims to update the international community on the human rights violations in the Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions.
2020 Compilation Report on the human rights violations in the Russia-occupied territories of Georgia was prepared in English and is available at the link below.
Statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the illegal installations along the occupation line of Tskhinvali regionMonday, 20 April 2020 12:51
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia strongly condemns the illegal process of erection of so-called “border” signs at the occupation line of Tskhinvali region, namely in the vicinity of the village Takhtisdziri of Kareli Municipality. The installation of artificial barriers by the occupation forces already entailed the loss of access to the agricultural lands for the local inhabitants.
With this kind of provocative actions in the circumstances of the Coronavirus pandemic, and moreover, during the religious holidays before the Orthodox Easter, the Russian Federation deliberately attempts to escalate the situation and further aggravate the security environment on the ground. With these steps Russia and its occupation regime are creating unbearable circumstances for the conflict-affected local population, who have been already suffering from the grave humanitarian consequences of the Russian occupation. Several people living in Tskhinvali region have already fallen victims to the closure of so-called crossing points and restriction of the freedom of movement by the occupation regime, as they were not given the possibility to cross the occupation line and get the necessary medical treatment on the Georgian Government controlled territory.
This kind of destructive steps are especially concerning in the times when the whole world is trying to fight the spread of the infection caused by the Coronavirus. In these critical circumstances, we attach particular importance to show the care and commitment to the conflict-affected population, who have long been suffering from the intensified pressure and discrimination.
The Government of Georgia spears no effort with the aim to improve the security and human rights situation on the ground. We remain in close coordination with the Co-Chairs of the Geneva International Discussions and the EU Monitoring Mission in order to ensure cessation of the illegal process of erecting the artificial barriers along the occupation line, and achieve freedom of movement for the people living in the occupation territories.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia calls upon the Russian Federation to immediately cease the provocative and destructive actions and implement its international obligations, inter alia the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia appeals to the international community to give a due assessment and take effective measures to counter the illegal process along the occupation line.
The Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the so-called parliamentary elections in occupied Tskhinvali region/South OssetiaTuesday, 11 June 2019 10:17
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia refers to the ongoing so-called parliamentary elections in occupied Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, which blatantly violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. Any so-called elections held in the occupied territories are illegal and cannot have any legal effect, as they are in contradiction with the fundamental norms and principles of international law.
The above so-called elections represent yet another futile attempt by Russia and its occupation regime in Tskhinvali to legitimize the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, the illegal occupation and forceful change of sovereign borders of Georgia. The so-called parliamentary elections are taking place in the context, when internally displaced persons and refuges, forcibly expelled from the occupied territories, continue to be deprived of the possibility to return to their homes, and while the people on the ground are forced to live under violations of basic human rights and freedoms. At the same time, the Russian Federation continues its military build-up, control and de-facto annexation of the occupied territories, in full disregard of the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia appeals to the international community to give a due assessment to the ongoing so-called parliamentary elections in the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, and calls upon the Russian Federation to fulfill undertaken international obligations and withdraw its military forces from Georgia’s territory.
The European Union’s position with respect to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia is clearly manifested in a great number of its statements and official comments, including in the statement issued on 8 April by the European Union External Action Service on the so-called presidential elections and the referendum conducted in Georgia’s occupied Tskhinvali region.
Statements like those made by the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis and the Co-chair of the Geneva International Discussions are totally unacceptable and contradict the European Union’s policy and position with respect to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.