Government Officials Mark 15th Anniversary of 2008 War

Government officials, representatives of executive and legislative bodies, and the diplomatic corps gathered at the Mukhatgverdi cemetery of the brothers-in-arms to mark the 15th anniversary of the August 2008 war.

Parliamentary Speaker Shalva Papuashvili recalled the tragedy of the events that happened 15 years ago and emphasized their impact on the nation. Expressing disappointment at the lack of adequate international reaction, Papuashvili said: “Regrettably, during this period, some overlooked the seriousness of the situation and chose not to impose sanctions on Russia, instead imposing an arms embargo on Georgia. Instead of taking a firm stance against Russia’s actions, some were busy resetting relations with Russia, building strategic pipelines, and even holding a military parade with Russian troops on Red Square just two years after the war. These actions, while perhaps driven by other considerations, had far-reaching consequences. Ignoring the 2008 aggression paved the way for subsequent events, such as those in Ukraine in 2014 and 2022, and moved the conflict from Europe’s periphery to its center.”

Irakli Kobakhidze, Chair of the Georgian Dream party, denounced the actions of the National Movement and the Saakashvili government during the war, describing their decisions as “the greatest betrayal to its country and people.”

While praising the heroes who lost their lives during the war, Kobakhidze stressed: “You know that the lawsuit has been going on for years. One dispute was about human rights violations, the other about war crimes. Despite the falsification of evidence, despite the many problems created by the previous government, we managed to prove that the Georgian military did not commit war crimes and that there were no human rights violations by the Georgian military.”

He noted the alleged “expansion of Russian influence in Georgia in 2004-2012,” which, according to him, was manifested in the loss of 20% of the Georgian territory. He spoke of “continuous betrayal by the National Movement and Saakashvili regime: “This treason had a continuous character, among them I can recall the law that they passed regarding the so-called former autonomous region of South Ossetia, thus restoring the old, communist-era borders, which were abolished during Gamsakhurdia. They held alternative, separatist elections, and I don’t want to go into details, the public knows all this… The political force called the ‘National Movement’ and the Saakashvili regime will never be forgiven for this betrayal,” he said.

Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze stated: “15 years have passed since the August war. A war that made us lose more territory. As a result of the war, we lost civilians, our hero soldiers, and policemen. We, of course, should talk a lot about these heroes with our children, and future generations. The biggest challenge we face today is the territorial integrity of the country. Accordingly, we have not only a responsibility but also an obligation to unify our country, to return territories, and I believe, I am sure, that together we will be able to return each other and restore the territorial integrity of Georgia.”

The Ministry of Justice stated that Minister of Justice Rati Bregadze honored the heroes at the Mukhatgverdi Brothers’ Cemetery and emphasized that among the notable achievements within the jurisdiction of the Ministry is the successful outcome of an interstate dispute against Russia related to the August war, in the Strasbourg Court. The Russian Federation is obliged to pay up to 130 million euros for the benefit of up to 24,000 Georgian citizens who suffered during the war; all (up to 3,300) cases related to the August war against Georgia filed by the residents of the Tskhinvali region with the coordination of Russia have been won. Proceedings against Russia in the case of continued occupation are in an active phase; the investigation of the Russia-Georgia war case in the Hague Court has been completed; arrest warrants have been issued for three persons who committed crimes against the population of Georgia.

“During the previous government, Georgia lost territories, the Russian occupation regime managed to carry out the evil called occupation and killed our heroes “, – said the leader of the “Georgian Dream” faction Mamuka Mdinaradze.

“All this has cost us a lot of resistance to this day. After a lot of work, Georgia as a party won both trials in Strasbourg and the Hague, despite the fact that evidence was deliberately hidden…As for the evidence, for example, one of the evidences was the parts of “Iskander” and until the “Georgian Dream” government came, it hadn’t been found. In fact, it was hidden before that, and a few years later we managed to find the parts of “Iskander” as the main evidence and presented them to the court, which was the basis for the decision in Georgia’s favor in this legal dispute,” Mdinaradze said.

Georgia’s Minister of Defense, Juansher Burchuladze, urged refraining from annually questioning who started the war, adding: “Does anyone think that Georgia started the war?” He pointed out that the civilized world has moved beyond this question, and he called for a thoughtful approach to this sensitive topic. He also said: “There is a very big difference between the terms – “could not avoid” vs “started” the war.” He stressed that the present government is pursuing a “peaceful policy.”

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