Boris Chochiev: “We call on specialists from European structures not to make hasty conclusions”


The Special Representative for Post-Conflict Settlement Boris Chochiev drafted a letter regarding the draft report of the PACE representative Corien Jonker “Humanitarian consequences of war between Georgia and Russia”.
The draft letter states, inter alia:
”The report is has been drafted after the visits of Ms. Corien Jonker to North Ossetia-Alania, South Ossetia and Georgia to monitor the implementation of PACE Resolution № 1648 (2009).
In general, Ms. Jonker tried to be objective and unbiased while describing the events happening in South Ossetia and when giving evaluation to these events.
At the same time, the reporter had made some mistakes and misinterpretations, due to probably incomplete information received, when describing the causes and consequences of the armed aggression of Georgia against South Ossetia. This namely refers to:
1.Serious humanitarian problems which exist in the Republic of South Ossetia and adjacent areas if Georgia are effects of the armed attack of Georgia at TSO, not the “war between Georgia and Russia”, as it was said in the analyzed documents.
It is worth mentioning that no one in South Ossetia will ever accept the position of European structures (EU, OSCE and PACE) intentionally concealing the fact that the party responsible for numerous casualties and humanitarian catastrophe in our country is Georgia with its aggression against our people, but not the Georgian-Russian war as it is presented in the West.
As to mistrust of the RSO population towards the international community mentioned by Ms. Jonker, it is worth mentioning that our people while having confidence in international community, expressed grounded mistrust towards concrete international organizations. It is true, how can we trust such organizations as OSCE which was supposed to prevent armed confrontation in the zone of conflict, did nothing to prevent Georgian armed forces from intrusion into South Osseti in August 2008, though the state structures and NGOs in South Ossetia had repeatedly warned and informed this organization, as well as the whole international community about Georgia’s war preparations. Representatives of this organization in RSO while witnessing the armed intrusion into South Ossetia over the night on 7 August 2008 did not find themselves courageous enough to tell the obvious truth, moreover, they blamed Russia for aggression, while the Russian forces (except for peacekeeping forces) did not appear on the territory of South Ossetia before 9 August 2008. The conclusions made by Georgian military specialists Karkarashvili (ex-Defense minister) and Tavdgeridze (ex-Rector of Military Academy) gave proofs of this. These persons could hardly be considered as pro-Ossetian; they clearly stated that the military aggression was committed by Georgia through unacceptable methods (enclosed).
In the light with the above mentioned, the recommendations on restoration of confidence of our people towards the international community mentioned by Ms.Jonker should be give not to the authorities of South Ossetia and Russia, but, first of all, to international organization (EU, OSCE, PACE) and these recommendations are simple as such – admit the mistakes they made and crimes committed, objectively report the causes which led to numerous casualties and humanitarian catastrophe, i.e., to be able to call things by their proper names.
2. According to last census in 1989, 28,000 ethnic Georgian were living in South Ossetia. Currently, there are about 9-10 thousand ethnic Georgians in SO. Ms. Jonker in her report mentioned 26,000 displaced Georgians, the number that does not correspond to reality. Moreover, these are not internally displaced persons, but refugee, since they had the country of their permanent residence for another state. Once should bear in mind that before 7 August 2008, much more Goergians were living in South Ossetia and there is only one reason for their exodus – military aggression of Georgia against South Ossetia (the residents of Georgian villages left their houses in an organized manner, it means, right before the attack, and the residents who stayed, predominantly men, who participated in armed activities, left the villages on 7-9 August, i.e. while retreating to the territory of Georgia at the height of hostilities.
Conclusion: The authorities of South Ossetia are not involved in the exodus of ethnic Georgian from the villages in South Ossetia, there is one reason – Georgia’s aggression against South Ossetia with a use of territory and manpower of these villages.
3.Despite the taken measures, the issue of gas supply to South Ossetia through Georgia has been relocated by the Georgian side from the economic dimension into the political one, and it has become a leverage of political pressure. Since the day when gas supply had been resumed until now (19 April), the gas pressure had not exceed that of 0,5 atmospheres, when minimum needed pressure is around 5-7 atmospheres. However, the Georgian side was assuring representatives and specialists from European structures that the gas pressure was 10 atmospheres. Upon the proposal of Geneva Co-Chairmen, Mr. Werner Johannides had been assigned as an independent expert who eventually did not manage to settle the problem with the Georgian side. Ms.Jonker could have received true information about the reasons of incomplete gas supplies from Mr. Johannides.
4. We continue stating that we are ready for discussion of issues related to water supply from water intakes located on the territory of South Ossetia to Georgia, but there was move forward in this problem, however, upon the recommendations by Geneva Co-Chairmen, a special group had been established to deal with this issue. This group is still non-operational due to unclear reasons.
5. As to problems related to rehabilitation of South Ossetia’s economy and delivery of humanitarian aid, and the recommendations of Ms. Jonker in this regard, we consider it necessary to stress that European structures are not involved in assisting rehabilitation of economy, reconstruction of damaged housing, medical or any other support. We will be dealing with these issues with those who are assisting us now, that is with the Russian Federation. It is immoral to connect humanitarian aid with politics, as well as to propose South Ossetia with bringing in humanitarian loads through the territory of Georgia, which we already received “humanitarian loads” from in thousands of bombs, cluster mines and artillery shells, including those if GRAD systems in August 2008.
If international organizations and European stated are willing to provide assistance to the population of South Ossetia without imposing any conditions, we would be grateful to receive this assistance through the territory of North Ossetia.
6. As to Georgian populated villages under temporary Georgian occupation before 12 August 2008, it should be noted that while rebuffing Georgian aggression the villages mentioned by Ms. Jonker were subjected to intensive artillery counterblow from the territory of Georgia, equally to the city of Tskhinval. Unfortunately, it is difficult to prevent major destruction in this case. Beside, according to available data, major arsons and acts of destruction were committed by retreating Georgian armed forces (the inhabitants of these Georgian villages were beforehand taken out by Georgian authorities to Georgia) in order to then blame the armed forces of Russia and South Ossetia in vandalism.
In the meantime, one should not exclude that some arsons and destruction had been committed before the situation was under South Ossetian authorities’ control by South Ossetians angry with the inhabitants of these villages (there were more than enough reasons for this anger), although these facts were not encouraged and could not be encouraged by the authorities of South Ossetia.
In this regard, we are quite surprised with the conclusion eaily made by Ms. Jonker when she spoke about “proofs of ethnic cleansing” in these villages implying the destruction of houses in these settlements.
For the information of Ms, Jonker, during the Georgian aggression against South Ossetia in 1990-1992, Georgians, including official armed formations, destroyed and burnt down 117 Ossetian villages on the territory of South Ossetia. In comparison to Georgian authorities, the then South Ossetian authorities did not evacuate the inhabitants of these villages to safer places, but were expelled and killed by Georgians. Throughout these years, the official authorities of South Ossetia and NGOs had repeatedly addressed the international community with a request to give any assessment to the illegal acts committed by Georgia, there were no results – the international community remained deaf to our addresses.
In the light with the above mentioned and acknowledging intentioned destruction of housing and demolition of real assets by anyone and expressing sympathy to all our citizens, regardless their nationality, who lost their housing, the South Ossetian side has to once again point to pro-Georgian biased approach of certain representatives of European organizations, including Ms.Jonker, and the policy of double standards applied by PACE, OSCE and EU in regards to Georgian-Ossetian and Georgian-Abkhaz conflicts.
7. Many thousands of ethnic Georgian citizens of RSO who did not stain themselves with crimes against their neighbors, are still living in towns and villages of South Ossetia sharing their happy moments and hardships with their Ossetian neighbor.
National policy in our republic is simple and clear. It is reflected in the RSO Constitution and complies with norms of international law:
• all inhabitants of our small state regardless their ethnic origin and religion, who consider themselves citizens of RSO and those who accept its statehood, enjoy equal rights and are equally protected in their civil rights by law and authorities.
To prove this, it is worth mentioning several facts:
а) Not less than 9-10 thousand ethnic Georgians reside in South Ossetia without being subjected to any oppression by authorities and Ossetian population. Their civil rights are equally protected to those of other ethnicities, including the title ethnic group of Ossetians.
b) Several thousand ethnic Georgian inhabitants of Leningor district due to various reasons (blackmailing by the Georgian authorities and accusations in ‘non-patriotism’, allocation of funds and provision of housing on the territory of Georgia with the financial support from the U.S. and EU member states, as well as international NGOs, as well as due to hardships in the district with social welfare) left the territory of South Ossetia. A paradox situation had been created. On the one hand, with these people regardless of their ethnic origin being our citizens upon their birth, the authorities of South Ossetia do their best to return our citizens of Georgian origin back to their places of permanent residence, to their ancestors’ tombs and to create maximum comfortable conditions for living. On the other hand, the authorities of Georgia with active support from the U.S., EU, UN HCR and other international agencies are building up houses for them on the territory of Georgia, provide them with funds and thus, blame the SO authorities for oppressing these people. The Georgian authorities while pursuing their political goals violate the core interests of Leningori district ethnic-Georgian inhabitants through depriving them of homeland and simultaneously laying the blame for this on the SO authorities.
c)The authorities the RSO consider that all ethnic-Georgian inhabitants of the villages in Small and Big Liakhvi river gorges, as well as the villages of Avnevi and Nuli who left their permanent places of residence before Georgia's attack at South Ossetia enjoy the preserve their right for return in accordance with South Ossetian laws. However this issue should be dealt with in a package of other problems and with a respect to the interests of those who suffered the consequences of the conflict since 1990, including 100,000 ethnic-Ossetians ousted from Georgia.

Мой мир