Saakashvili on Tagliavini Commission report
By Mzia Kupunia
Monday, October 5
“The states which did not fire have vanished from the world map,” Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said on Friday, commenting on the report of the EU fact finding commission released last Thursday. “Historical experience shows that when the enemy enters your territory you should show resistance,” Saakashvili stated, citing the examples of Afghanistan, the Czech Republic and Finland. “I don’t regret what happened even for a second. I am proud. The separatists were shelling, the troops entered and this has been confirmed. We don’t need anyone’s preaching. We are thankful to the Europeans that they told the truth. We will never give up and never quit fighting,” Saakashvili said, speaking to the residents of the town of Mtskheta on Friday.
The President said that, “Of course, after having confirmed all this, it made an accusatory conclusion; for the first time in history a permanent member of the UN Security Council has been directly accused of war crimes; it has been directly accused of ethnic cleansing – hence crimes against humanity – and of aggression.” He noted that all the things Georgia has been accusing Russia of, including pre-war provocations in the conflict regions, giving passports to the local population in the breakaway regions of Georgia as a provocative measure and the entry of Russian forces into Georgia before August 7, have been accepted as true by the report.
“It was a fact finding mission. Its functions did not include drawing conclusions, however it did so and still said that although Russian troops entered Georgia, Georgia was still the first to fire, in violation of certain norms,” Saakashvili said at the ceremony of awarding former Lithuanian President Vytautas Landsbergis with the St. George Order on Friday. “Maybe I had better Professors in international law than some of the experts who drew this conclusion are. However there is no need to know a lot in order to make a correct assessment of the intrusion of well-armed foreign paratroopers into your land. Even a first grade student will tell you that this is called direct aggression by a foreign state,” Saakashvili added. The President said that if Europe made the “right assessment of the truth” it would have to “put handcuffs on Russia and arrest it.” “It is not able to do this,” Saakashvili stated.
The President reiterated that he did not regret resisting Russia. “I am proud of it and it was proved that not a single woman or child was killed as a result of our operation [in Tskhinvali],” he said.
Saakashvili called the report of the Tagliavini Commission “Georgia’s diplomatic victory,” in his first comments on the issue on October 1. The President said on Thursday that the Commission was “really unbiased.” “This Commission was created on my insistent demand, and to be honest I did not have big hopes of it, because all the European countries need Russian gas… and I thought that they would not bother themselves for tiny Georgia. However, it has been revealed that the Europeans are people unable to turn a blind eye to the truth,” Saakashvili said. “The Commission has said that a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a member of G8 and the largest state in the world, Russia, has committed war crimes. This is a big diplomatic victory for Georgia and our history,” he added.
According to the President, the conclusion of the commission gives Georgia enough to start a criminal case against Russia. “Nobody had illusions that the Commission would call Russia the initiator of ethnic cleansing and the perpetrator of war crimes, based on which they would put handcuffs on it. However this document gives enough grounds for starting a criminal case against the senior figures in the Russian Government who perpetrated the ethnic cleansing,” Saakashvili said on October 1.