“After 14 years of the occupation, Russia does not fulfill the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, and expands its illegal control in the occupied regions, continues the process of their militarization, [and] actively undertakes steps towards their de-facto annexation,” the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated on August 7 on the occasion of the 14th anniversary of the 2008 Russo-Georgian war.
The MFA emphasized that violations of human rights and ethnic discrimination of Georgians “is undermining the security, human rights, and humanitarian situation on the ground and is trying to isolate the people living in the occupied territories from the rest of Georgia and the international community.”
The MFA added that the violation of the right of hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees to return to their homes in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/S. Ossetia regions “continues to be a heavy humanitarian burden of Russia’s illegal occupation.”
Along this line, the Ministry brought attention to the “impunity encouraged” in the cases of Davit Basharuli, Giga Otkhozoria, and Archil Tatunashvili, who were all killed by occupation forces, and added that it “increases the risk of further violence on ethnic grounds.”
The Foreign Ministry underscored that against this background, the unrestricted access of international human rights bodies, as well as the creation of international security mechanisms on the ground, and access for the EU Monitoring Mission to Abkhazia and Tskhinvali, “is becoming even more critical.”
They noted that with these challenges, the 21 January 2021 decision of the European Court of Human Rights on the 2008 war was a “pivotal event” that “confirmed the fact of occupation and effective control over Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia by the Russian Federation.”
The MFA underscored that by holding Russia accountable for blatant human rights violations the ruling showed the “futility of Russia’s longstanding effort to avoid legal responsibility for the illegal occupation of Georgian regions and its consequences.”
The Ministry reiterated its policy and determination for peaceful conflict resolution through the use of diplomatic and legal instruments and cooperation with international partners to “facilitate confidence building between the communities divided by the occupation line and creation of a common European future.”
The MFA also brought attention to the importance of international support for Georgia, especially amidst Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine where it is “ignoring the fundamental principles and norms of international law and undermining the entire European security.”
They called on Russia to cease illegal and provocative steps against Georgia, to respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to adhere to the 12 August 2008 agreement, withdraw its forces from Georgia, and reverse its decision to recognize the independence of the occupied regions.
Meanwhile, the Ministry appealed to the international community to continue its efforts to achieve the peaceful resolution of the conflict in Georgia and the de-occupation of its territories with the aim of returning those displaced from there back to their homes.
Finally, the MFA extended its condolences to the families and relatives of the soldiers and civilians who died during the 2008 war.