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Investigation into the 2008 August War

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, April 15
The August War investigation is the most recent topic that has caused significant confrontation between the government and the opposition in Georgia. The Georgian Dream coalition demands an investigation into the events of the 2008 August War. The opposition claims that the process will benefit only Russia and that Georgia might lose international support in the case that the investigation is based on political grounds.

President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, who might have to answer questions regarding the August War, states that the Prime Minister of Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili, has already presented the verdict concerning the initiators of the war. According to him, Ivanishvili “directly stated that Georgia launched the war.” Saakashvili highlighted that the PM's claim is anti-state and that he is not going “to collaborate with an anti-state investigation that threatens the country's future.”

United National Movement representative, Nika Rurua, states that if the investigation is politically motivated and Georgia is accused in launching the war, “Our country will lose international support and Russia might defacto legitimize Georgia’s occupied areas.

“This means that we might lose the territories,” Rurua stated.

According to fellow UNM MP, Nugzar Tsiklauri, “The emotional desire of the GD coalition to punish the former officials sacrifices state interests.”

Some within the parliament opposition share the UNM aspiration and claims that the statements voiced by the current Georgian government towards Russia is “more than naive and carries serious risks.”

According to the leader of the National-Democrats, Bachuki Kardava, and the leader of the European Democrats party, Paata Davitaia, an investigation over the issue had already been undertaken and the world recognizes Russia as an occupying state.

In response, PM Ivanishvili stressed that he had never stated that Georgia launched the war. According to him, Russia invaded in the borders of a democratic state and obviously the federation is an occupant.

The PM is sure that the investigation will not affect the state interests. Ivanishvili emphasized that “the aim of the investigation is carrying out an impartial study of past events that will reveal why the former government could not avoid the provocation,” how it was acting during the war, and why high-ranking officials were involved in military operations and why the government was unable to evacuate the residents.

Majority MP, Koba Davitashvili stated that Georgia is linked with Hague statute and in case if Georgia does not investigate the war events Hague will do this.

"It will be worse for the state image. If Saakashvili wants us to stop the investigation and The Hague tribunal to study the cases we will stop the investigation...however, it will be worse for Saakashvili and for the state image as well," Davitashvili stated.

Fellow MP, Eka Beselia, stated that the "hysteria" of the current government members concerning the investigation raises more questions regarding the former government members.

Non Parliament opposition leader, Nino Burjanadze stated that public should know what happened during the war and an investigation should have been launched earlier.

According to Georgia's special envoy to Russia, Zurad Abashidze, the investigation will reveal the country as a democratic state. Abashidze stressed that the country should realize all the mistakes that were committed.

“When the international community sees that we could study and realize our mistakes, that will raise our rating higher,” Abashidze said.

According to EU special representative to Georgia, Thomas Hammarberg, The Hague Court is interested in the human rights violations that occurred during the war and “Georgia's Chief Prosecutor's office should answer the questions on the issues.”

“Both sides allowed violations of human rights in the war and it is a positive fact that the cases will be investigated,” Hammarberg stated, adding that the investigation should ask the questions to all individuals having information concerning the war.