TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s justice minister says it is necessary to question President Mikheil Saakashvili about the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008.
Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani on Monday told local journalists that when the time comes for questioning him, Saakashvili might no longer be president, but many other former government officials need to be questioned along with him.
She added that it is an international commitment for Georgia to investigate what happened during the “August war”, as it is often called.
After a gradual escalation of shooting incidents along the de facto border around breakaway South Ossetia, a full scale military conflict broke out August 7, 2008, which saw Russian troops drive deep into Georgian territory in a brief five day period until a cease-fire agreement was reached.
Non-governmental organizations have brought complaints to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, claiming that officials, as well as persons of different ethnicity, committed crimes against humanity, which may be specified as war crimes, the minister underlined.
“We should take care of our problems, but if we are not professional enough, or if we do not have the political will, we will be forced to send this case to the Hague,” she said, adding that the Prosecutor’s Office has conducted an investigation to obtain all the material from the investigation conducted by the previous government, which consists of ‘tens of volumes’.
Tsulukiani says there are unanswered questions as to why the investigation only covered a few issues.
“My goal is to conduct an investigation in every direction, but to do the investigation in Georgia. This includes questioning the president and many other officials, regardless of citizenship and origin,” she said.
Last week, Chief Prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili also said the president might be questioned about the war.