Monday, 30 May 2011

UNPO General Secretary Expresses His Condolences on the Death of Sergei Bagapsh, President of Abkhazia

Brussels, 30 May 2011 – The UNPO has learnt with deep sadness and a great sense of loss, the passing of Sergei Bagapsh, President of Abkhazia, after a long illness on 29 May 2011. As the host of the 2006 UNPO Presidency in Sukhum, President Bagapsh reflected the generosity and hospitality of the Abkhaz people who have been such strong supporters of the UNPO since 1991.

The six years of Mr. Bagapsh’s administration were marked by notable progress in Abkhazia’s campaign for recognition and its democratic development. The notable peace proposals initiated by Sergei Bagapsh in his "Key to the Future" programme, characterised his leadership and Abkhazia’s multi-vector foreign policy and search for sustainable peace.

Today we share the grief of Abkhaz people at this irreparable loss and express our solidarity with them at the moment of national mourning. However, we believe that the admirable path of peaceful striving for self-determination taken by President Bagapsh’s administration creates a solid foundation for successful future prospects of Abkhazia.

Source: UNPO

Karabakh President sends condolences on Abkhaz leader’s death

STEPANAKERT. - President of the Artsakh Republic Bako Sahakyan sent a condolence letter to the Vice President of the Republic of Abkhazia Alexandr Ankvab in connection with the death of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia Sergei Bagapsh.

The letter runs as follows:

“I have heard with deep sorrow about death of a prominent state and political figure, President of the Republic of Abkhazia Sergei Bagapsh.

Sergey Bagapsh will remain in the memory of his people, all those who knew him closely as a true patriot of his native land having devoted life to the struggle for freedom and independence of Abkhazia. As a wise and respected leader he made an invaluable contribution to the formation of an independent Abkhazian statehood, securing its safety, development and prosperity of his country. Under his leadership Abkhazia’s independence gained international recognition.

On behalf of the people, the authorities of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic and myself I express my deep condolences to You, the whole Abkhazian people, all the relatives and friends in connection with the irretrievable loss, the death of Sergey Bagapsh,” NKR presidential press service informed Armenian

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Georgia fails to properly investigate war crimes

(Oslo, Tbilisi, Brussels, 23 May 2011) Today the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) publishes a new report on Georgia with the title, Unable or Unwilling? Georgia’s faulty investigation of crimes committed during the Russo-Georgian war of August 2008. Based on interviews with a large sample of witnesses to and victims of alleged crimes, the NHC concludes that Georgian authorities are at least both partly unable and partly unwilling to conduct an effective investigation into crimes falling within the jurisdiction of International Criminal Court (ICC) allegedly committed during and after the August 2008 war.

In a meeting today in The Hague, the report will be presented to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (OTP), as the OTP currently is monitoring domestic investigations of crimes in Georgia (a State Party to the Court) and Russia. The OTP has already decided that crimes allegedly committed during the war fall under its mandate, and the Court can therefore assume jurisdiction and open an investigation if it finds that the parties concerned are “unable or unwilling to carry out the investigation”.

The report is researched together with three prominent Georgian human rights groups (Article 42, Georgian Young Lawyers’ association, and the Human Rights Center – HRC) in the period from October to December 2010. 244 individual applicants to the European Court of Human Rights in cases related to alleged crimes committed during and after the 2008 war were interviewed about what they knew about the investigation. All of the interviewees had lodged applications against Russia with the European Court, and would appear to be key witnesses. Only 26 % of them had been questioned by the police, and 3 % were aware of other investigative steps (such as crime scene and forensic investigation) in their respective cases.

More than two thirds of the investigation interviews reported in the survey were conducted in August/September 2008, and most of these dealt with the hostages from Tskhinvali, a high profile media situation in Georgia at the time of the war. After the initial burst of investigative activity, the investigation seems to have proceeded at snail pace, posing the question of whether adequate resources have been allocated to this demanding and extraordinary task. There are also issues with the transparency of the investigation. Georgian authorities did not answer our requests for information about the status of the general investigation.

Overall, the survey of the ECHR applicants indicates that the Georgian authorities are at least partly unable and partly unwilling to conduct an effective investigation into international crimes allegedly committed during and after the August 2008 war. The Caucasus region has seen a number of armed conflicts over the last 20 years, but little justice. Almost three years have passed since the war, and the question of whether the Court should step up its engagement regarding the Georgia war is becoming pressing.

For more info: (Tbilisi) Ucha Nanuashvili, Director, HRC Georgia, + 99599508036
(Brussels) Simon Papuashvili, Researcher, NHC, +32494753942
(Oslo) Aage Borchgrevink, Researcher, NHC, +4790751150

Saturday, 21 May 2011

The Human Rights Center Calls Upon the Government of Georgia To Apologize to Abkhaz and Ossetian Peoples in the Name of Georgian State

Human Rights Center, Georgia, May 20, 2011

On May 21, Abkhaz and other Caucasian nations, who became victims of the cruel Russian Imperialist Policy in the 19th Century, the Muhajirs Day. Last year the Human Rights Center celebrated the Day first time in Georgia.

May 21 will be politically hot day in Tbilisi this year too – radical part of the opposition parties plan large-scaled protest demonstrations in front of the Parliament building in the Rustaveli Avenue. The government is inadequately silent and trains army for the May 26 Military Parade at night.

During night rehearsals for the Military Parade, the noise of the military vehicles will again remind the society of the militarist atmosphere about the government. Unfortunately, the militarism has become a chronic disease of the government with its side-effects and deplorable results. Despite the lessons from the recent history, neither president, nor government and the parliamentary majority have introduced any taken any measures to ethno-conflicts in the Georgian territory.

The government intends to celebrate the Muhajirs Day with the resolution. According to the news agencies, the initiator of the resolution is chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Diaspora and Caucasian Issues Nugzar Tsiklauri. He wants to coincide the adoption of the document with May 20 because he said May 21 is a tragic day when Genocide of Cherkessk People occurred in the Caucasus.

The Human Rights Center thinks the parliamentary resolution about acknowledgement the Genocide of Cherkessk People is a next example of the awkward political controversy between Georgian and Russian governments. If the initiator of the resolution – the Parliamentary Committee for Diaspora and Caucasian Issues – had been really concerned about the fate of the Caucasian Nations, they would have first of all thought over the responsibilities of the Georgian state in this direction and waste its precious time on the research of the historical fate, current life and aspiration of Abkhaz Muhajirs. Logically, the problems of several thousands of Abkhaz muhajirs, residing in various countries, should be more important for the committee. Unfortunately, throughout the 20-year-long Georgian-Abkhaz conflict nothing has been done in this direction.

The Human Rights Center reminds the government of Georgia that it is high time for the Georgian state to share the responsibility for ethno-conflicts launched on its own territories; it is high time for the government of Georgia to apologize to Abkhaz and Ossetian peoples in the name of the Georgian state, because:

1. Georgian state has failed several times to prevent both large-scaled and local armed ethno-conflicts on its territory;

2. could not protect Abkhaz and Ossetian citizens from violence; moreover, Georgian military units actively participated in the bloodshed inspired by Russia in Abkhazia and South Ossetia;

3. Instead peacebuilding initiatives and reconciliation policy, the government of Georgia permanently used the unjustified method of conflict escalation, militarism, instillation of hatred and xenophobia.

The Human Rights Center launched “Sorry” Campaign in 2007. The Campaign unites the people, who apologize to Abkhaz people, for not having opposed the violence and for not having prevented the fratricidal war. These people do not apologize in the name of the Georgian state; they acknowledge their own individual responsibility for the results of the Georgian-Abkhaz Conflict, regardless the fact they participated in the armed conflict or not.

The Human Rights Center believes it is high time for the Georgian State to realize its own responsibility for both historical and current situation; not to take politically motivated and show-off steps but launch reasonable, peacebuilding policy which will lead Georgian, Abkhaz and Ossetian peoples to reconciliation and will again bring them together like it was in our past before ethno-conflicts.

The Human Rights Center

Source: The Human Rights Center, Georgia


Wednesday, 11 May 2011

"No person will be left in Gagra" Gia Karkarashvili‏ (Telegraph Herald, Oct. 4, 1992)‏

- "...Additionally, the Commander-in-chief of Georgian troops in Abkhazia, General Georgiy Karkarashvili warned in a televised formal address to the Abkhaz and Georgian people in Sukhumi on August 24, that no prisoners of war will be taken by the Georgian troops, that if 100,000 Georgian lose their lives, then [on the Abkhazian side] all 97,000 will be killed; and that the Abkhaz Nation will be left without descendants. The delegation saw a video recording of this ominous speech." (

- A similar threat came from the head of Georgia's wartime administration, Giorgi Khaindrava, on the pages of Le Monde Diplomatique in April 1993. Goga (Giorgi) Khaindrava, told the correspondent from Le Monde Diplomatique that "there are only 80,000 Abkhazians, which means that we can easily and completely destroy the genetic stock of their nation by killing 15,000 of their youth. And we are perfectly capable of doing this."

- The Georgian Commander-in-Chief on TV threatens the Abkhazian nation with genocide:

- "In the first place, the Ossetian war [1991-92] in Tskhinvali had just ended. The Georgia National Guard suffered heavy losses. We were exhausted. That’s why I thought it was reckless to go into Abkhazia. But I was told that the 13th-14th August was a good time to launch a military operation because the Russian Parliament was in recess. Unfortunately, we entered Abkhazia in a very disorganized way. We didn’t even have a specific goal and we started looting villages along the way. As a result, in the space of a month we managed to make enemies of the entire local population, especially the Armenians." Gia Karkarashvili - "Absence of Will" Documentary film by Mamuka Kuparadze (11.52 sec.)

Reporter: Did they turn against us just because of the way our troops behaved?

Karkarashvili: "No, not just because of that. But we shouldn’t have allowed all that hatred to build up. We could have prevented it, but we didn’t."



Georgia seizes Sukhumi

Wednesday, 19 August 1992

SUKHUMI (AP) - Georgian troops backed by tanks seized control of the Abkhazian capital of Sukhumi yesterday and a military council was appointed to rule the rebellious region.

The Georgian Defence Minister, Tengiz Kitovani, arriving hours later at the Abkhazian parliament building where the Abkhazian flag had been pulled down and replaced by a Georgian one, said the action was taken because Abkhazia had declared its independence from Georgia last month.

'Every Georgian who loves his nation will support this step,' Mr Kitovani said.

Tanks and armoured vehicles rolled into the coastal city in western Georgia earlier yesterday. Georgian troops were reported to have fired upon the headquarters and set the parliament building on fire. A duty officer at the government building said the attack had left several buildings on fire.

Georgian military officials said its troops and Interior Ministry forces were in control of all major objectives in Sukhumi, including the airport. Georgian troops controlled the television tower, the seaport and other key sites.

The Georgian government sent 3,000 troops to the breakaway region of Abkhazia last week to pursue supporters of former Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia, who was ousted in a brief civil war in January. The leaders of Abkhazia denounced Georgia's move as an act of aggression.

At least 50 people were reported killed in four days of fighting between the Georgian troops and Abkhazian police in Sukhumi, a resort on the Black Sea.

Abkhazia's parliament voted in July to restore the 1925 constitution of independent Abkhazia. Ethnic Abkhazians total roughly 90,000 among the area's 500,000 people, but they enjoy the support of other ethnic groups in the Caucasus mountains.

'The restoration of by the Abkhazian parliament on July 27, 1992, of its 1925 constitution is tantamount to a self-annulment of its autonomy,' the State Council said in a memorandum released yesterday.

Mr Kitovani issued an ultimatum on Sunday demanding the resignation of the Abkhazian parliamentary speaker, Vladislav Ardzinba.

The ultimatum said Georgian troops reserved the right to launch combat operations if Ardzinba refused to step down. A group of Georgian Supreme Soviet deputies were reported to have demanded Ardzinba's resignation.

'Whether or not Abkhazia's parliament resigns is the business of the deputies and the Supreme Soviet of the republic,' Georgia's Acting Prime Minister, Tengiz Sigua, said, adding that he had no comment about Mr Kitovani's ultimatum.

Most of the Abkhazian leadership had apparently been evacuated from the city, although the Deputy Prime Minister, Sergei Bagapsh, remained in his office on the 12th floor.