Without a statute of limitations: in South Ossetia are honoring the memory of the victims of the shooting on the Zar road

Mon, 20/05/2019 - 21:58

In South Ossetia has been commemorated one of the worst tragedies in the history of the republic - the shooting of civilians on the Zar road, who were leaving the front-line Tskhinval on May 20, 1992. 27 years have passed since then, but there are crimes that have no statute of limitations. That May day will forever remain a day of pain.

On the Zar road - the “road of life”, as it was called in that year, which became the road of death for 36 civilians, a monument was erected to the dead. Today, thousands of people carried wreaths and flowers. Among them are the leadership of the Republic headed by President Anatoly Bibilov, Parliament Speaker Peter Gassiev, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to South Ossetia Marat Kulakhmetov and other officials.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Education, Science, Religion and Culture, Yuri Gabaraev, called the people who had committed this crime non-humans.

“We have a small Republic, but every corner of it is filled with pain. There is not a single millimeter where no blood is shed. To shoot from the bushes into an elderly woman is low and mean, or to torment a child with thirst and thus kill him ... What should we call such people? There were wars everywhere, but their enemies were worthy, and our enemy was poor in spirit. The solidarity of our people helped us survive and endure those terrible torments. We can only remember and never forget the dead, "said Gabaraev.

President of the Republic, Anatoly Bibilov, has called the Zar tragedy the history of South Ossetia, which will not be forgotten by the South Ossetian people.

“For 27 years on May 20, people come from all parts of Ossetia to honor the memory of the victims of the Zar tragedy. In the history of Ossetia there are many tragedies, this is the Zar , Beslan, Ered, and Tsinagar tragedies we will never forget and never forgive. The Zar tragedy applies to Georgia, but for them this story will remain a disgrace for life, from which they can never wash off. It was a crime against humanity. People who wanted to escape from the war, taking their children away, fell into the trap of the enemy and were brutally murdered,” said the President.

Bibilov at the mourning meeting called on the Georgian leadership to recognize the genocide of the Ossetian people.

“The people of South Ossetia brought out all the tragedies, but today we again call upon the Georgian leadership to have conscience, honor and political courage to recognize the crimes that their predecessors committed, apologize, sign a memorandum on the non-use of force and recognize the independence of South Ossetia,” noted head of state.

President has expressed his condolences to the relatives of the victims, thanking them for courage with which they have been living and bearing pain all these years.

Immediately after the terrible crime committed on the Zar road, the Republic's procurator opened a criminal case, and investigative actions in this case are still being carried out. The Prosecutor General Uruzmag Dzhagaev told about this at the rally.

“The investigation of this criminal case was entrusted to the most experienced prosecutors. Within two months, the identities of the four criminals who had participated in this crime were established. In 1996, the number of identified persons increased to 24. Their full personal data were established, and that was enough to put them on the international wanted list, which was done by the instigative team,” said Dzhagaev.

The Attorney General has stressed that for all these years the preliminary investigation of this criminal case did not stop.

“The actions of these individuals and the policy that their republic was following at that time cannot be regarded but as a genocide, therefore the General Prosecutor’s Office of the RSO decided to reclassify the actions of the persons who had committed this monstrous crime from ordinary murder to genocide. Genocide belongs to the category of those crimes that are not subject to statute of limitations. We will pursue these people until they receive proper punishment. The investigation is under the control of the republic’s leadership,” he noted.

Mary Bitieva lost her brother on May 20th. Through tears she has told how one decision saved them from inevitable death.

“My brother, Volodya Bitiev, perished here. On that terrible day, I was also driving on this road with four children, but the children did not suffer the cold, and we had to turn back. My brother was also going to follow us, but on the second day, he was a driver and, probably, a car was found, and he nevertheless went,” said the victim’s sister.

While Mary and her children were getting home, the tragedy happened. According to her memoirs, she didn’t even suspect that her brother was among those killed.

“People were running in horror towards the hospital, and I asked them what had happened? When I was told about the tragedy, I even had no idea that my brother was among the dead, and only sympathized with others, I wished everyone firmness. May 20, I mourn my brother every time. My young, kind and sympathetic brother was killed. We must remember them. Blindly shooting old people, children - we will never forgive this,” said Bitieva.

In the mourning event they were reading poems dedicated to the Zar tragedy. The memory of the perished was honored with a minute of silence.

Pupils of the Republic’s schools were carrying portraits of all the 36 killed.

Every year the number of people willing to honor the memory of the victims of the Zar tragedy is increasing. In place of the shooting come new generations. No matter how much time passes, we will always remember that cold May day, remember the pain that shook Ossetia, remember the names of the killed.

Rest in Peace!

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