News

Controversy continues over 2008 war inquest

by | Apr 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Ivanishvili government’s decision to launch a new investigation into the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008 is receiving a lot of criticism from opponents and former government officials, who claim that the decision is ‘anti-state’ and will lead to the country disintegrating.

For the last two weeks, different government officials have talked about the importance of having another investigation into the war, and said it will be necessary to question President Mikheil Saakashvili as well as former military officials, who were decision makers during the war.

But the president said he refuses to cooperate with the investigation.

“This is about punishing me personally, but that is less important,” Saakashvili said on Saturday during a visit to Poland. “This is about my country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

He said he won’t cooperate with an ‘anti-state’ investigation which is against the country’s territorial integrity.

President Saakashvili recently said that Prime Minister Ivanishvili was blaming Georgia for having started the war with Russia.

“For the last 48 hours there has been a celebration in Russia’s main news programs because Georgia finally admitted to having started the war,” he said during a meeting with journalists in Warsaw.

“We already got used to the same picture when Georgia’s PM comes and says something strange and completely unacceptable. Then his advisors appear and explain what the PM meant,” the president said.

He added that he doesn’t comment if it is about some domestic ‘nonsense’, but the final statement was way more serious. In his opinion, it serves the interests of Russia.

The president said that Russia has never declared that they didn’t cross the border with Georgia and the whole international community claim that Georgia was forced to respond because Russia had crossed the border.

“Everyone announced Russia to be occupant and aggressor.”

Prime Minister Ivanishvili Friday issued a statement explaining that he never said that Georgia started the war.

“Our army never crossed the border of another country and never entered the territory of another country. Russia violated the territorial borders of a sovereign country and exerted aggression against our country, which was followed by occupation of our territories,” his statement said.

The government of Saakashvili’s party held an inquest into the war, but it was criticized by many for going to lightly on the president and his allies. Ivanishvili says a state has a duty not to leave any questions unanswered. Therefore, another investigation is necessary to uncover the truth.

“Why wasn’t Saakashvili able to avoid a clear provocation? How did the government act? Why did high government officials get involved in managing a military operation, something that caused chaos and disorder? Why was there such a great number of civilians casualties? Why wasn’t the government able to evacuate civilians?” These are among the questions Ivanishvili wants answers to.

Kakha Lomaia, who played a central role during the 2008 war as Secretary of the National Security Council, and later became Georgia’s ambassador to the United Nations, on Friday said on a TV show that the government’s initiative is ‘anti-state’ and that in his opinion it is not correct to conduct another investigation, because it is ‘dangerous’.

“If any of Georgia’s official bodies comes to a new conclusion at least slightly different from the current picture, and which may slightly get Georgia under shadow, this will make disintegration irreversible,” he said, adding that this will be a huge mistake by the government.

Member of Parliament Levan Berdzenishvili from the Georgian Dream coalition on Friday said it is not correct to ‘demonize’ the investigation.



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