The Presidnet of South Ossetia met with Georgian human rights activists

Sat, 19/12/2009 - 22:02

South Ossetia finds no sense in the dialogue with the current criminal regime of Georgia, stated the RSO President Eduard Kokoity at the meeting with Georgian human rights activists visiting Tskhinval on 16 December. The Georgian civil society organizations were representative by Paata Zakareishvili, Manana Mebuke and Vakhtang Komakhidze. Emphasizing that the meeting was held upon the initiatives of the authorities of RSO, Eduard Kokoity stated "by inviting Georgian human rights activists in order to facilitate the settlement of problems of our people; we did not find any understanding or will among the Georgian authorities to take care about the fates of their citizens, Georgians detained on the territory of a recognized state – South Ossetia". "The were convicted in accordance with our laws, by our justice institutions and it is not correct that we keep in detention underage persons. We released the underage convicts right after the trial. We speak about persons who had committed crimes on the territory of the Republic of South Ossetia", said the President. He emphasized that he could use his constitutional right to pardon the convinced Georgian citizens, "but not under the pressure of the so-called Georgian leadership".

"They have fueled the tension despite the fact that we had certain agreements with international organizations. But thanks to the statements of Yakobashvili and other representatives of Saakashvili regime, I reject to use this constitutional right. These people are convicted, and Saakashvili and Yakobashvili took the position, which prevents us from continuing a normal dialogue with mediators", said Eduard Kokoity.
He expressed his appreciation to the work of the CoE Human Rights Commissioner Tomas Hammarberg, whose facilitating efforts resulted in more that 200 persons' return to Georgia.
"Right after the war, as soon as it became possible to communicate through mediators, we had unconditionally handed-over to Hammarberg around 170 persons. We did not impose any conditions for all-for-all exchange. These were civilians who did not take any part in the hostilities. We did not arrest them, we took them under our protection to ensure their security. In the meantime, many of our citizens on the territory of Georgia were seized by the aggressor and we cannot get them back until now. Let us be more humane and settle the problems in a more civilized manner", said Kokoity.
He draw the attention of the human rights activists to the fate of underage South Ossetian citizens seized by law enforcement bodies of Georgia. "We have video evidences of their ill-treatment. It hard to talk to their parents and relatives who keep coming to my office every day", underlined the President.
He stated that the Georgian human rights activists were the first representatives of the Georgian public and non-governmental sector who were brave enough to come here after the 2008 war. "I believe, such contact will contribute to confidence-building between our peoples. We pay less attention to the political games of some international organizations. They think more about their rating, rather than about the restoration of relations between our peoples. I would like to ask you to convey this message to the Georgian public. Let's build up bridges which would ensure confidence, and which Saakashvili managed to destroy", said the President. He told about the reconstruction process in South Ossetia and that Tskhinval turned into one construction site. "These are the consequences of 2008 August, and the act of the president of Georgia. We can’t help but reproach Georgian civil society. It should be like this. Event with the heavy shelling of Tskhinval and all villages of South Ossetia, as a Supreme Commander-in-Chief, for 40 minutes I did not give an order to open a response fire. It is always easy to pull the trigger, it much more difficult to stop the war. We did our best to avoid this war – it is a madness. We made serious concessions to maintain a dialogue," said the President. Another issue is the behavior of the OSCE representatives who left the territory of South Ossetia two hours before the aggression started. They did so without giving any explanations. The same refers to representatives of the Georgian PKF Battalion. A group of foreign journalists was meeting Georgian forces while they were deploying at our borders, calling on them to establish here the constitutional order to settle it up with the separatists. After the events that eventually happened – the victory over the aggressor, recognition of South Ossetia, were of a historic importance. Let us start normalizing the conditions for our citizens, both for Georgians and Ossetians", said the President.
He expressed the readiness to consider all issues related to Georgian citizens on the territory of South Ossertia in accordance with the South Ossetian Constitution and Laws. "We addressed Georgian society to act similarly. We ask you to address the problems and get actively involved in the fates of those persons who are detained in Georgian prisons", concluded the President.
In return, Paata Zakareishvili stated that he fully agreed with the President's words in relation to August 2008 events. "I know it for sure, horrible things had happened. I cannot say that everyone shared the viewpoint of Saakashvili and Yakobashvili, I am categorically against these statements. I deeply appreciate the possibility to visit our compatriots here, and using the advantage of this meeting, I would like to request you to pardon them, since someone should make this first step and show good will. You are the one who can take this serious step, and I believe, no one should suffer because of the statements made by Saakashvili and Yakobashvili. Of course, these teenagers might be blamed for certain acts, but I do not consider them as evildoers. Awful things happened between us, and at this background, the scope and the gravity of the acts committed by these teenagers is hardly compared. If you side took this step of good will and pardoned them, I am sure, the Georgian society would deeply appreciate it and would change the attitude towards you. The human rights organizations in Georga would then have the full right to demand for release of your citizens from the prisons in Georgia", said Zakareishvili.
After the meeting with the RSO President, the Georgian human rights activists visited the detained Georgian citizens.

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