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Conclusions and recommendations

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, December 23
The ad hoc Parliamentary Commission investigating the August events has concluded its three monthsí work by putting a 200 page document on the table. The report concludes that the Russian intervention was well planned and provocations had been prepared in advance. It also highlights the general shortcomings of Georgian administration and gives recommendations.

The authorities think the report is a serious and significant document but the non-Parliamentary opposition is not satisfied with the results. It regards the Commission as a staged farce, set up to justify the ill-conceived actions of the administration. Chairman of the Commission Paata Davitaia, who read its conclusions out live for three hours, considers the Commissionís efforts are an important step in the democratic development of the country. ďThis establishes a new democratic tradition of Parliamentary oversight, not only in Georgia but the entire post-Soviet space,Ē Davitaia said.

The Commission interrogated 22 high ranking civilian and military figures. Even President Saakashvili answered its questions, some of them rather awkward, for almost five hours. Chairman of Parliament Davit Bakradze thinks this is a precedent which creates a higher standard of interrelations between the legislative and executive bodies.

The non-Parliamentary opposition was from the very beginning skeptical of the Commissionís activities, considering it controlled by the administration, and as such not free to give a clear picture of what happened in August. The opposition criticized the process of the Commissionís work as well as its conclusions. For instance, Parliamentary opposition member Jondi Baghaturia thinks the conclusions are controversial and one sided. Many questions went unanswered, such as who was responsible for the failed logistics. There was no mention of inappropriate military expenditure and other issues the opposition would like to see discussed.

The opposition is sure that the Parliamentary Commission was part of the PR campaign the administration wages for the Western world to show that democracy is flourishing. Paata Davitaia however says that the results of the work of the Commission are very important and have been submitted to Heidi Taliagivni, who is Chairing an International Commission which will study the August war. Whatever the opinions, we cannot ignore the importance of the documentary materials the population has received concerning the war. They have raised certain extremely important issues. They have shown that the Georgian state was not prepared to adequately respond to aggression from the north as the Georgian leadership was not expecting such a large scale attack by Russia. The question why it was not expecting such an attack is one of those the Commission did not answer.

The report underlines serious mistakes made by senior people. By the time the conclusions were presented however the President had dismissed almost all of these. This means that the leadership and President have admitted its officials were at fault. We should therefore hope that after the conclusions and recommendations things will be better at the top, as that presumably is the point of making recommendations in the first place.

One of the major issues raised in the recommendations was the elaboration of a new security concept which would adequately evaluate existing threats and challenges. The document showed the reservist system, on which the country spent millions and which was highly advertised by the President himself, was pointless and inadequate. The document revealed faults in military strategic planning: combat officers were ill-prepared, there were no air defence or civil defence or organized retreat plans. Failures in the communication system caused extra casualties. These and a lot more details should now be the subject of serious analysis by state officials.

Now itís the turn of international organizations to carry out investigations and produce results. Letís hope that the results of this Commission be challenged by the opposition, as we can assume they will be true, giving no concessions to Government members, judging everyone equally.