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Government begins investigation into the 08/08/08 war

By Messenger Staff
Friday, April 12
Georgiaís current government has announced that it will begin an investigation of the previous government's conduct during the August 2008 War with Russia. Both the Minister of Justice Thea Tzulukiani and Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili have not excluded the possibility of interrogating high-ranking officials (including President Mikheil Saakashvili) regarding their actions during the conflict.

This information has caused extreme irritation among members of the former United National Movement (UNM) government. They have accused the current government of confirming the Russian view that Georgia, and not Russia, was responsible for the war.

Leader of the Parliamentary majority Davit Saganelidze stated that an ad hoc commission will be established to investigate the details of the August war. He said the ruling Georgian Dream coalition is skeptical of the conclusions reached by Paata Davitaia and his committee. Since the committee was formed under the former UNM government, Georgian Dream members think its findings are biased in favor of Saakashvili and his cabinet.

Furthermore there was widespread public dissatisfaction with the committee's conclusions; many questions remain and the answers given were not convincing. Justice Minister Tzulukianiís suggestion that Saakashvili will be questioned about his actions during the war was described by Security Council Secretary Giga Bokeria as politically irresponsible and against the national interests of the country.

Leader of the parliamentary minority Davit Bakradze has suggested that Tzulukianiís actions are hurting the interests of the country. Obviously then UNM members believe it is unacceptable to interrogate the President. However, the President was questioned by the previous ad hoc commission and it is a common practice in civilized countries.

It seems as if the UNM members' agitation is due to the possibility that the current President could be asked some awkward questions which were not posed to him during the previous investigation.

It seems certain that the questions will be really difficult. Prime Minister Ivanishvili said on April 10th that he has many questions to ask members of the former government. The Prime Minister suggested that the former government's diplomatic and military blunders led to the Russian invasion of Georgia.

Ivanishvili suggested that if Georgia had invited foreign observers to monitor the situation the war could have been avoided. According to Ivanishvili, the Tagliavini Commission made different conclusions from what the Georgian leadership released.

The Russian media meanwhile have hailed Ivanishviliís statement. However, the Georgian government reiterated that Georgian territories are currently occupied by Russia and the latter's conduct has been extremely aggressive. According to the current Georgian government, the question is not whether Russia was the aggressor (it certainly was) but rather could Georgia have avoided this aggression.

The Georgian population is anticipating the new ad hoc commission's findings regarding the August 2008 War. How these findings will contribute to the normalization of relations with Russia remains unanswered.