EDITORIAL: Russian Aggression in Georgia Condemned by the Council of Europe

EDITORIAL

Russian Aggression in Georgia Condemned by the Council of Europe

Last week the Council of Europe released its 1,000- page report on the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia.  It stated:

Much of the Russian military action went far beyond the reasonable limits of defense.  This holds true for all kinds of massive and extended military action ranging from the bombing of the upper Kodori Valley to the deployment of armored units to reach extensive parts of Georgia, to the setting up of military positions in and nearby major Georgian towns as well as to control major highways, and to the deployment of navy units on the Black Sea. Furthermore, continued destruction (by Russia) which came after the ceasefire agreement was not justifiable by any means.

In other words, Russia did to Georgia exactly what it claimed Georgia did to Ossetia, validating Georgia’s actions even assuming they constituted aggression and reducing the entire matter to a question of might makes right.

But that’s only the beginning the Council’s analysis of the war. After that come a relentless series of denunciations of the Putin regime for wantonly violating both international law and the Council’s own requirements for member states.

The report also rejects Russia’s claim that Georgia committed any acts of genocide, as Russia has openly accused it of doing, but concludes that Russia did support ethnic cleansing of Georgians.  It condemns Russia for preparing the ground for war to break out, in other words baiting and provoking Georgia into a trap designed to achieve imperialist conquest, by failing to stop military attacks, distributing passports and building up Russia’s military presence. 

Most importantly, the report condemns Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and Ossetia as illegal, a violation of international law and a clear indication that Russia was not acting in a merely defensive posture, and it condemns Russia’s annexation of Abkhazia, where no military conflict had erupted, as flagrantly illegal.

Unsurprisingly, it acknowledges that the war would not have occurred without Georgia’s assault on the Ossetian town of Tskhinvali with heavy artillery, giving Russia exactly the excuse it wanted, and indeed hoped for, in order to assault Georgia.  It also acknowledges, however, that Georgia was being attacked from Ossetia and had a right to respond. It concludes, however, that since Georgia was not being hit with heavy artillery it should not have responded with heavy artillery, and since the number of Russian troops moving into Georgia before the attack on Tskhinvali was small, Georgia should not have responded with a large expeditionary force.

The Council also released its report on the aftermath of the war.  That scathing report states:

The Monitoring Committee deplores the fact that, one year after the tragic outbreak of the war between Georgia and Russia, little tangible progress has been achieved in addressing the consequences of this war, and that, in several areas, the situation has actually regressed. While Georgia has complied with most, albeit not all, demands of the Assembly, Russia has not complied with most of the key demands placed upon it. The Assembly condemns Russia and the de facto authorities of South Ossetia for not having brought resolutely to a halt and seriously investigated the ethnic cleansing of ethnic Georgians that by all accounts took place in South Ossetia during and after the war and for not having brought the perpetrators to justice. It recalls that, under international law, Russia bears responsibility for violations of human rights and humanitarian law in those areas that fall under its de facto control.

In other words, Russia not only flouted international law when it responded to Georgia, but it did so throughout the aftermath of the conflict.  Simultaneously, the Council found Russia guilty of stonewalling access to its conquered territories in Abkhazia and Ossetia.

So let’s recap:

The Council condemns Russia for:

1. Violating international law by invading Abkhazia (where there was no conflict).

2. Violating international law by invading Georgia (including mass killings of civilians).

3. Violating international law by recognizing Abkhazia and Ossetia.

4. Violating international law by supporting ethnic cleansing of Georgians.

5. Lying about ethnic cleansing by Georgians.

6. Provoking Georgia by failing to curb attacks on it and issuing passports to Ossetians illegally, encouraging them to revolt.

7.  Violating a written cease-fire agreement by continuing to attack Georgians under a white flag.

8. Flouting the Council’s post war demands regarding access to the disputed territories and post-war conduct, with which Georgia is in substantial compliance.

By contrast Georgia’s only fault according to the Council was in responding with heavy artillery when it had not been attacked by heavy artillery and by moving troops into Ossetia faster than the Russians did. Talk about praising with faint damns! In essence, Georgia’s only fault according to the Council was walking into Putin’s trap.

Suppose, just suppose, that some other country (let’s say America) had taken the seven steps that the COE found Russia guilty of in regard to some part of Russia what wanted to leave, like, let’s say, Dagestan, Chechnya or Ingushetia. What would Russia say about that?  Your answer tells you all you need to know about who was at fault in the August 2008 war.

There’s really nothing new in this report, but the repeated condemnation of G-8 member Russia for flagrant and repeated violations of international law as it bludgeoned a tiny and largely defenseless neighbor in order to annex its territory is welcome news.  Particularly important is the utterly scathing denunciation of Russia’s flouting of the Council’s authority in regard to the post-war environment, where Russia has behaved as nothing short of an imperial power which does not deserve membership in the Council of Europe.  The strong language of denunciation used by the Council in this regard is truly stunning and indicative of the breathtakingly barbaric excesses to which the Putin regime has resorted in order to try to keep the lid on its Caucasus nightmare.

Once again, we condemn Russian imperial aggression against Georgia, and we call upon the Council of Europe to now put teeth behind its pretty words and impose serious sanctions on Russia for violating both international law and the regulations of the Council itself. If it doesn’t, we expect a repeat of the Munich debacle from World War II as Russia takes such action as a sign of weakness and an invitation to commit further acts of aggression and imperialism.

About these ads

70 responses to “EDITORIAL: Russian Aggression in Georgia Condemned by the Council of Europe

  1. thank you guys,! great analysis. i was dissapointed to see many headlines saying things like “georgia started the war”, which are very misleading as the report actually confirms that everything georiga has claimed from the beginning has been true, while russian side has been lying.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    There’s a nasty little nexus between media that want to generate sensational news rather than report facts and Russian propagandists who want to tell lies in the service of dictatorship and imperialism. But nobody reading the report on the aftermath, which is much shorter than the main report, can have any doubt about the outrageous misconduct of the Russians or the good faith efforts of the Georgians in the post-war environment.

  2. Well said Kate! I could not have done any better as you literally took the words right out of my mouth.

    One must however bear in mind that Putin, who completed his KGB apprenticeship under the USSR communists and than fine tuned it with the help of the East German secret police – i.e. the Stasi. Where under both systems, disinformation – that is the art of lying – was a necessary way of life!

    So what can one expect when the de facto ruler, vozd, fuhrer of current Russia uses a modus oprandii that is thus tainted and suffers from delusions of grandeur.

    What has me beat is that the leaders of the free world have not woken up to this chekist and stood up to his thuggery, abuse of power and murder of free speech. Where Georgia is the first cab of the rank in his attempt to restore at all costs the grandeur of the terrible USSR.

    I for one will not be surprised when he will follow in the steps of the banana republics and has himself elected “Prime Minister for life”.

    In the meantime Moscow burns while Czar Putin plays his fiddle and the good of the Russian citizen suffers. What a fate!

  3. Sergey Shelukhin

    Don’t have time to find actual quotes of the report so far, here’s one (exact quote:
    “There seems to be little doubt that if the Russian peacekeepers were attacked, Russia had the right to defend them using military means proportionate to the attack. Hence the Russian use of force for defensive purposes during the first phase of the conflict would be legal.”
    See?

    On war crimes:
    “The Mission established that all sides to the conflict – Georgian forces, Russian forces and South Ossetian forces – committed violations of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights Law.”

    And here’s how real, independent press chose to summarize it – titles and summary (not some hugely-biased pajamas blog with same 5 Russia-hating commenters in each post whom I now remember by alias)

    ===============
    BBC:
    Georgia ‘started unjustified war’
    The report does not put the whole blame on either country
    The war in Georgia last year was started by a Georgian attack that was not justified by international law, an EU-sponsored report has concluded.

    CNN:
    EU: Russia, Georgia share responsibility for 2008 conflict

    AFP:
    TBILISI — Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s standing in Western capitals has been dealt a major blow by a European report blaming his government for starting a war with Russia, analysts said Thursday.

    Financial Times:
    Georgia fired first shots in war – report
    (no bold summary)

    Guardian:
    Not just another Russian aggression
    The conflict between Russia and Georgia was a tragedy for which more than one country shares responsibility

    WSJ:
    Tbilisi Started ’08 War, but Moscow Also at Fault, EU Finds

    AP:
    EU report: Georgian attack started war with Russia

    Independent:
    Leading article: Georgia started it and Russia continued it – to excess
    The EU’s long-awaited report on the Russia-Georgia war has produced a nuanced verdict, but one that finds Georgia at least as culpable as Russia, and probably more so.

    TIME:
    Both Sides to Blame for the Georgia-Russia War
    (funny that article has Reuters photo known to be a fake :))

    Reuters:
    EU-backed report finds Georgian assault started 2008 war
    ===========================
    Looks like world doesn’t agree with you, eh LR?
    Actually there was some article that said that Russia and Georgia “compete to spin the report”.
    Well, hat tip to you – in spinning the report noone can beat your post!

    Also from FT, some of Georgia’s previous lies:
    “So both sides were found guilty?
    Yes. But the verdict is much more damning for Tbilisi than for Moscow. First, Georgia invested much effort trying to prove that Russia moved first, invading Georgian territory in South Ossetia in the days before Georgia shelled Tskhinvali, South Ossetia’s capital. The report rejects this claim.”

    • Sergey Shelukhin,

      Was there a “Georgian genocide” (as in “genocide by Georgians”), and/or did the Georgians kill 1,400-2,100 civilians in few hours? Y/N

      -because not only the rebels (including of course the good(?) folks at the Genocide Musuem in Tskhinvali), but also the top Russian leadership (and other Russians too, like Medvedev*) and all of state-controlled Russian media all said there was “a terrible egnocide”, and this was officially why they sent their “peacemakers” to and through South Ossetia AND Abkhazia (and the ethnic cleansing followed).

      *No, it’s not a typo.

    • @(funny that article has Reuters photo known to be a fake :))

      ???

    • What is there to argue about? Even the Washington Post, which LR loves for its anti-Russian crusade admits:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/30/AR2009093001870.html

      Probe Finds Georgia Violated Law, Provoked War With Russia

      By Philip P. Pan
      Washington Post Foreign Service
      Wednesday, September 30, 2009; 11:58 AM

      MOSCOW, Sept. 30 — An independent inquiry ordered by the European Union has concluded that Georgia violated international law and triggered last year’s war with Russia by attacking the breakaway region of South Ossetia.

      “None of the explanations given by the Georgian authorities in order to provide some form of legal justification for the attack lend it a valid explanation,”

      The European investigation is considered the most authoritative and independent inquiry into the causes of the war to date.

      • Are you saying everything the Washington Post says about Russia is right????

        If so, we’d be DELIGHTED to agree with you. If not, you have the intelligence of a LEMON.

        The report CLEARLY says that Georgia was attacked FIRST and that Russian forces MOVED INTO OSSETIA FIRST. It’s only criticism of Georgia was that it overreacted and gave Russia an excuse to invade in force.

    • Do you even read your own material? Over and over again YOUR OWN STUFF says Russia was to blame. Nobody ever said Georgia was totally innocent, you moron.

      Are you agreeing that Russia was guilty of aggression, violation of international law and genocide as the COE found? If so, we’ll be happy to endorse your view!

    • Peacekeepers:

      “…the fact of the Georgian attack on the Russian peacekeepers’ basis could not be definitely confirmed by the mission”. (Vol. 2, p. 268).

      Read up on Vol. 2, Sergey, check out the Conclusions, if reading each of 441 pages is much too much for you.

  4. Commentary
    Remembering Beslan
    David Satter, 10.01.09, 12:00 PM EDT
    A crime against humanity.

    http://www.forbes.com/2009/10/01/beslan-putin-politkovskaya-basaev-dzasokhov-chechen-opinions-contributors-david-satter.html

    In the last five years, new information about the siege has come from many sources. These include Yuri Saveliev, a parliamentarian and member of the federal investigative commission; a commission of the North Ossetian parliament; the trial of Nurpashi Kulayev, a surviving terrorist; and the work of two journalists, Marina Litvinovich, the editor of the Web site, pravdabeslana.ru, and Elena Milashina of Novaya Gazeta.

    This information shows that the attack on School No. 1 was not the forced response of a government desperate to save lives but, on the contrary, was the act of a regime ready to destroy them for political gain. It makes clear that the siege was the result of a failed Russian provocation, that the Putin regime refused negotiations capable of ending the crisis and, in the absence of hostile action, ordered Russian Special Forces to open fire with heavy weapons on a gymnasium packed with hostages, guaranteeing a catastrophic death toll. There is simply no parallel among modern governments to the level of barbarity demonstrated by the Russian regime in their response to the hostage crisis in Beslan.

    • The version of the Beslan parents was supported by the findings of a commission of the North Ossetian parliament. In a report released on Nov. 29, 2005, the commission concluded that the first explosion was produced by either a flamethrower or grenade launcher fired from outside.

      The most important support for the survivors’ assertions, however, came in a report released by Yuri Saveliev, a member of the parliamentary commission appointed to investigate the massacre and a highly regarded expert on the physics of combustion. According to Saveliev, the first explosion was the result of a shot from a flamethrower fired from the fifth floor of a building near the school at 1:03 p.m. The second explosion, which came 22 seconds later, was caused by a fragmentation grenade with a dynamite equivalent of 6.1 kilograms shot from a different five story building on the same street. The explosions, according to Saveliev, caused an inferno and the collapse of the roof of the gymnasium that led to the deaths of the majority of the hostages. Another 106 to 110 hostages died after terrorists moved them from the burning gym to the cafeteria which came under heavy fire from security forces using rocket launchers, flamethrowers and tanks.

  5. russian gov’t is responsible for what happened in beslan, and also how they let kursk sink and everybody in it also shows kremlin’s copmplete disregard for their own citizens lives.

    Sergey
    According to Moscow-based security analyst Pavel Felgenhauer, Russia

    …declared that it was forced to go to battle by the initial Georgian attack in South Ossetia. But there is sufficient evidence that this massive invasion was pre-planned beforehand for August [2008]. The swiftness with which large Russian contingents were moved into Georgia, the rapid deployment of a Black Sea naval task force, the fact that large contingents of troops were sent to Abkhazia where there was no Georgian attack all seem to indicate a rigidly prepared battle plan. This war was not an improvised reaction to a sudden Georgian military offensive in South Ossetia, since masses of troops cannot be held for long in 24-hour battle readiness. The invasion was inevitable, no matter what the Georgians did”

    Dr. Martin Malek

    “Even observers unfamiliar with military affairs should comprehend that not even the most effective military organisation is able to mobilise 25,000 soldiers, 1,200 tanks and dozens of aircrafts, and deploy them in a mountainous region literally within a few hours”

    how would most legitimate countires act if you have information that your country is under invasion and mass killings might start?several georgians had been injured and killed by so called russian peacekeeprs, while rest of the georgian civilian population was being harassed. russian mercineries and irregulars were present also befor augsut 8th, and many women and children were evacuaited (all this is confirmed by EU)

  6. ossetian women and children were evacuaited, as kokoity and russia were getting ready for war. sorry, i don’t think i was clear enough on who was being evacuaited.

    and btw most of the EU report confirms that russia is a liar, lying from the very beginning, as the great editors of the blog have already pointed out. as for those headlines, the west is fully aware of russia’s barbaric actions, however to fully admit that would require more action from that, and since they don’t want to stand up to russia they have to provide misleading headlines that would show russia in better light.

  7. This is something completely different than Paul Globe is blogging?
    http://windowoneurasia.blogspot.com/2009/10/window-on-eurasia-eu-report-on-war-in.html

    Where is truth, LR?

    • > Where is truth, LR?

      To quote the famous lines form the film A Few Good Men, a US military commander Jessup, played by Nicholson, explained why average Americans should not know the truth:

      Kaffee: I want the truth!
      Jessep: You can’t handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns.

    • Speaking of Illalrionov. The Report’s conclusions came as such a shock to him, htat in his blog, he accused Der Spiegel of “falsification”. And, afaik, he has not apologised to Der Spiegel for this slander:

      http://aillarionov.livejournal.com/117654.html

      • Well not really Tal.

        Der Spiegel claimed the Georgian actions were unprovoked, and that Russia did nothing wrong under international law.

        The report states that while seriously provoked Georgia (in the opinion of the investigators) had a right to retaliate but should have shown “restraint” (I wonder if the investigators would have shown restraint in such circumstances) and not used heavy artillery on the 7/8th.

        However, the report also castigates Russia for multiple illegal acts including illegal military operations outside the mandated JCC peacekeeping area of South Ossetia, Russia’s illegal support of the Abkhazian assault on Khodori Gorge, Russian facilitation (and many would say planning and execution of) of massive ethnic cleansing in the Georgian areas of South Ossetia and so on.

  8. Sergey Shelukhin

    Joint reply:
    About lies on genocide/whatever – yes, both sides lied; funny how I have already said, maybe multiple times that both sides lied, and so did the report(!), but this blog and commenters are stubbornly one-sided.

    Beslan/Kursk – irrelevant to question discussed.

    Concentration of forces: it was probably clear that there’s high likelihood of conflict. Georgia according to OSCE observers also concentrated forces much earlier that supposed “invasion” (proven false by this and other reports); when the tensions are high it’s only natural for both sides to prepare for potential development.

    Whitewashing Russia – actually, that is BS that you cannot prove. To the contrary, West has sided from Georgia from the start, contrary to later findings (even those immediately after the war before any reports) – it would be only logical to white-wash Georgia.
    Also, not clear how so many press sources now don’t say that – they said that blow was dealt to Georgia’s standings, not Russia’s!

    Peacekeepers attacking first – source it. Quote the damn report, for example, which supposedly supports Georgia.

    As for original article, just read great coverage on Exiled – that idea didn’t come to my mind, about disproportionate response. Something that report does miss is that Russia advanced into Georgia because bases of the attack were on Georgia mainland! It’s only natural to advance there to cripple them, so as to prevent further activity.
    Note that territory wasn’t occupied nor did Russia advance to Tbilisi (which it could easily do) – as soon as Saakashvili’s ass was handled to him on the plate, there was no reason to push any further :)

    Btw, nice article for you form the ground then – it has some off points but good coverage :) Also, some Russian army “drunken on victory” for you to gloat at! It’s a win-win.
    http://exiledonline.com/the-day-americas-empire-died/

    • Kursk being irrevelant, maybe. How is Beslan – in North Ossetia – irrevelant? I believe the loss of civilian life there was far (as in: several times?) greater than in the battle of Tskhinvali.

      And yes, in fact we still don’t know the real figures in Tskhinvali (I think allegedly 150 or so now – including the militias’ members – according to the Russian “genocide investigation”). We only know for sure that the town hospital (which doubled as a morgue, becuase the morgue was out of order) received less than 100 corpses (all kinds of corses) in the course of the conflict… in Beslan we had over 300 Ossetian corpses for sure (in 1 day).

      And the CoE couldn’t investigate because they were simply not allowed (the OSCE monitors were even kidnapped/detained for crossing the alleged “border”, repeatedly! – as were foreign journalist).

      @Something that report does miss is that Russia advanced into Georgia because bases of the attack were on Georgia mainland!

      Something that you miss is that they broke the ceasefire (the internationally-brokered ceasefire they agreed to – accordingto which they should retreat BACK TO RUSSIA and not advance further, and stay there for over a year now).

      @Note that territory wasn’t occupied

      ??? Man… they are STILL occcupying the previously Georgian villages (some of them actually existing no more, razed to the ground) in both South Ossetia AND Abkhazia – and the refugees can’t come back to their homes, now to the other side of the NEW “border”! And you dare to say, what?

      • In case if you didn’t know, Tskhinvali used to be really just an enclave surrounded by multiple Georgian (majority ethnic Georgian and Georgian-controlled) villages (even north of it, all along the only real road there). Now, the Russian Citiziens (TM) didn’t ask for, for example, the UN troops (real peacekeepers) to take control there so now they could live in peace with their neighbours, no. Instead, after the Russians conquered the territory (of course through brute force – shelling, bombing, you name it), they systematically “cleansed” and destroyed these villages (looting, murdering, raping), and now they say it’s part of their “independent countries” (in Abkhazia too – they took the Upper Kodori area, where only Georgians lived before the invasion of General Shamanov of Chechnya infamy).

        And then some Sergey Shelukhin comes and says “It’s only natural to advance there to cripple them, so as to prevent further activity. Note that territory wasn’t occupied”. Is this what you actually believe?

        How it looked like:

        A Russian APC rides passing a Georgian house, set on fire by South Ossetian militia, burns in the Georgian village of Kvemo-Achebeti near Tskinvali, the capital city of the South Ossetia
        http://img.timeinc.net/time/daily/2008/0808/georgia_tskhinvali_0820.jpg

        Village destruction campaign documented from air (post-war South Ossetia, including occupied territories, was – and remains – largely off limits on ground):

        The new satellite-image analysis, completed by the AAAS Science and Human Rights Program at the request of Amnesty International USA, shows 202 damaged structures on 10 August, plus an additional 424 damaged structures on 19 August that did not appear damaged in the earlier image, for a total of 626 points of destruction affecting civilians. Encompassing 1,000 square kilometers, the AAAS study examined damage to 24 villages near the city of Tskhinvali in South Ossetia, close to the Georgia-Russia border.

        In the village of Tamarasheni, for example, 152 structures that were intact on 10 August seemed to have been damaged by 19 August. Similarly, said Lars Bromley, who heads the AAAS Geospatial Technologies and Human Rights Project, 70 structures in the village of Berula, all seemingly intact on 10 August, apparently had been damaged by 19 August.

        No damage could be seen in eight of the 24 villages, mostly located to the far eastern and southern regions of the study area, Bromley reported. But two satellite images captured 10 August and 19 August clearly showed that the remaining 16 villages sustained damage during that time period. Along a corridor including the villages of Eredvi, Berula, and Argvitsi, for instance, 147 structures were damaged or destroyed by 19 August, Bromley said, but only 10 damaged structures were seen on 10 August.

        In contrast, Tskhinvali, the capital of the South Ossetian region of Georgia, “sustained the majority of damage (182 structures) on or before” 10 August, the AAAS report concludes. Another four structures in Tskhinvali seemed to have been damaged by 19 August.

        http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2008/1009geospatial_georgia.shtml

    • Segey you retard, have you read the report?

      It states that there was a massive influx of “volunteers and mercenaries” into South Ossetia days before the main fighting broke out, and that there WAS illegal Russian activity including the prepositioning of military units inside South Ossetia, but not on the scale the Georgians thought.

      Russia was ILLEGALLY sending troops into Georgian sovreign territory.

      • Hey Andrew, regarding Sergey’s outrageous comment:

        “TIME:
        Both Sides to Blame for the Georgia-Russia War
        (funny that article has Reuters photo known to be a fake :))”

        I wonder if he’s still “:))” after reading for example comments here:
        http://edmondterakopian.blogspot.com/2008/12/gleb-garanichs-crying-man-sequence.html

        And the LJ guy who supposedly “busted” this:

        “Yes, most people who look at these picture have the same impression, though I will be very sorry for my allegations if this pictures are genuine. But still, there are no pictures from Ossetia, but there are about 1500 to 2000 civilians dead according to different information sources!!! Can you imagine what it looks like?”
        http://russia-insider.livejournal.com/25329.html

        Yes, just an another Russian TV zombie – not believeing in truth, but believing in lies.

        • Also, Russian TV, Putin & Medvedev, and Kokoity regime being “different information sources!!!” (even as he actually noticed “there are no pictures from [South] Ossetia”) – while Reuters and other actual information sources are not to be believed. I guess this is maybe the saddest thing here.

          • And still on the “different information sources!!!” from [South] Ossetia, just check out this “human rights activist”:

      • Here’s a curious ‘slip of the tongue’ by Bagapsh – Russian troops crossed the border of Georgia about 20 hours prior to the Tskhinvali shelling: http://www.vesti.ru/doc.html?id=199443&date=07.08.2008

      • @It states that there was a massive influx of “volunteers and mercenaries” into South Ossetia days before the main fighting broke out

        Actually calls them simply “irregulars”.

        V. Threats issued by South Ossetia and Abkhazia
        The facts with regard to South Ossetia and Abkhazia are less certain. As early as April 2008,
        there were increasingly frequent shootouts, mortar attacks, car bombings and other violent
        incidents between Georgian and South Ossetian forces.20 Bomb attacks also took place in
        May, July and August.21 Eduard Kokoity, the pro-Russian de facto President of South Ossetia,
        threatened to attack Georgian cities and to call for irregulars from the North Caucasus.22 South
        Ossetian forces also detained Georgian soldiers in July.23 In Abkhazia, the de facto authorities
        claimed to have downed Georgian reconnaissance aircraft in spring.24 Moreover, both
        breakaway territories seem to have welcomed the supply of military training and weapons by
        Russia,25 as well as the arrival of irregulars from other regions of the Caucasus, on whose help
        they would rely in case of Georgian military intervention.26 Abkhaz de facto President Raul Khajimba publicly stated that the use of force might be
        required to seize control over the Georgian-controlled upper Kodori Valley.27
        It is unclear to what extent these incidents formed part of a concerted effort directed against
        Georgia which was orchestrated or actively condoned by the de facto authorities of the two
        breakaway territories. With regard to South Ossetia, the publicly-announced intention to
        attack Georgian cities suggests this was the case, while in Abkhazia’s case, the public claim
        to have downed Georgian spy planes would serve the same purpose. Both breakaway regions
        sought the assistance of Russia in the hope that they would receive support should armed
        hostilities break out, and consequently undermined efforts to defuse the crisis. In this sense,
        their behaviour is hardly consistent with the provisions of Art. 2(3) of the UN Charter, namely
        the obligation to seek the settlement of disputes by peaceful means, and also, at least
        potentially in contradiction to Art. 2(4).
        VI. The lack of justification for the threats of force issued
        Based on the foregoing, all parties to the Georgian conflict share responsibility for crisis
        escalation. At least two parties, Georgia and Russia, employed military threats inconsistent
        with Art. 2(4) of the UN Charter.
        In principle, threats can be justified either as a measure of self-defence or when authorised by
        the UN Security Council.28 But even if one or both of these grounds applied, the threats issued
        must still be necessary and proportionate.29
        Art. 51 of the UN Charter regulates the case of self-defence. It declares that states retain the
        right of individual or collective self-defence if an armed attack occurs. At face value, this
        implies that no justification can be gained for any threat of force until an armed attack is
        under way, and not before.30
        However, it makes sense that a threat, narrowly construed to deter an attack and thus to
        prevent an unlawful use of force, is not prohibited. The UN Charter does grant states a right to
        defend themselves by military means pending UN Security Council action, and it cannot be
        27 See Chapter 5 “Military Events of 2008”.
        28 An authorisation of the Security Council was not given in this case and need not be discussed further.
        29 Albrecht Randelzhofer, in Bruno Simma (ed), The Charter of the United Nations: A Commentary, vol. I
        (Oxford University Press 2002), Article 42 para. 8; Article 51 para. 42; Judith Gardam, Necessity,
        Proportionality and the Use of Force by States (Cambridge University Press 2004), chapters 5-6.
        30 Robert Kolb, Ius contra bellum: Le droit international relatif au maintien de la paix (2nd edn, Helbing
        Lichtenhahn/Bruylant 2009), at 291.

        • (Only the chapter “V. Threats issued by South Ossetia and Abkhazia” here is on the subject of the irregular, of course. )

  9. AB, actually it’s not something different from LR’s editorial, it’s actually very close.

    Sergey, your blabbering about something does not even deserve a response, as you have shown you have no ability to look at evidence any draw any intelligent conclusions.

  10. Was it a **Russian** aggression? Let me quote from the Report:

    An additional legal question is whether the Georgian use of force against Russian peacekeeping forces on Georgian territory, i.e. in South Ossetia, might have been justified. Again the answer is in the negative. There was no ongoing armed attack by Russia before the start of the Georgian operation. Georgian claims of a large-scale presence of Russian armed forces in South Ossetia prior to the Georgian offensive on 7/8 August could not be substantiated by the Mission. It could also not be verified that Russia was on the verge of such a major attack, in spite of certain elements and equipment having been made readily available.

    There is also no evidence to support any claims that Russian peacekeeping units in South Ossetia were in flagrant breach of their obligations under relevant international agreements such as the Sochi Agreement and thus may have forfeited their international legal status. Consequently, the use of force by Georgia against Russian peacekeeping forces in Tskhinvali in the night of 7/8 August 2008 was contrary to international law.

    In the first instance, there seems to be little doubt that if the Russian peacekeepers were attacked, Russia had the right to defend them using military means proportionate to the attack. Hence the Russian use of force for defensive purposes during the first phase of the conflict would be legal.

    There were reportedly more than a hundred US military advisers in the Georgian armed forces when the conflict erupted in August 2008, and an even larger number of US specialists and advisors are thought to have been active in different branches of the Georgian power structures and administration. Considerable military support in terms of equipment and to some extent also training was equally provided by a number of other countries led by Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Israel, the latter contributing in terms of technology and quality rather than quantity, all of them adding to the new military strength of Georgia, which was proudly displayed on suitable occasions such as National Day parades.

    Georgian intelligentsia which was frequently critical of Russian domination and
    russification. In Russian views, however, Georgia had been given much-needed protection against ravaging neighbours. The installation of a system of modern administration ranging from road building to an efficient education system was another achievement brought to Georgia by Russia. While Russia was treated by parts of the Georgian historical narrative almost as a threat to the existence of the Georgian nation, and while there were indeed attempts to subdue Georgian cultural heritage, Georgians were to some extent even a privileged nation within the Russian Empire.

    Georgians were to some extent even a privileged nation within the Russian Empire.

    Finally, there were many in Georgia with an aversion to Russian imperial power and its heavy-handed and backward ways, but at the same time they were attracted by modern civilisation and a European outlook as offered by and through Russia.

    There were reportedly more than a hundred US military advisers in the Georgian armed forces when the conflict erupted in August 2008, and an even larger number of US specialists and advisors are thought to have been active in different branches of the Georgian power structures and administration. Considerable military support in terms of equipment and to some extent also training was equally provided by a number of other countries led by Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Israel, the latter contributing in terms of technology and quality rather than quantity, all of them adding to the new military strength of Georgia, which was proudly displayed on suitable occasions such as National Day parades.

    2.) On the night of 7 to 8 August 2008, a sustained Georgian artillery attack struck the town of Tskhinvali. Other movements of the Georgian armed forces targeting Tskhinvali and the surrounding areas were under way, and soon the fighting involved Russian, South Ossetian and Abkhaz military units and armed elements.

    3.) The shelling of Tskhinvali by the Georgian armed forces during the night of 7 to 8 August 2008 marked the beginning of the large-scale armed conflict in Georgia

    During the period of transition to post-Soviet sovereignty the country´s first President, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, then did a lot in terms of nationalism to alienate the two smaller political-territorial entities of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from the Georgian
    independence project, proclaiming ethno-centrist slogans such as “Georgia for Georgians”.

    Zviad Gamsakhurdia´s successor, President Eduard Shevardnadze, had to ask Moscow for assistance in October. Russian troops helped as requested. In October 1993 Eduard Shevardnadze signed Georgia´s accession to the Russian-led Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Collective Security Treaty (CST), too. Four Russian military bases extended their presence on Georgian soil and Russian border troops remained deployed along Georgia´s border with Turkey and patrolled the sea shores. In addition, Russian forces undertook peacekeeping responsibilities both in South Ossetia and later in Abkhazia.

    An agreement concluded in June 1992 in Sochi between the two leaders Eduard Shevardnadze and Boris Yeltsin established the Joint Peacekeeping Forces (JPKF) for South Ossetia, consisting of one battalion of up to 500 servicemen each of the Russian, Georgian and Ossetian sides, to be commanded by a Russian officer.

    There is the question of whether the use of force by Georgia in South Ossetia, beginning with the shelling of Tskhinvali during the night of 7/8 August 2008, was justifiable under international law. It was not.

    Georgia had acknowledged that the prohibition of the use of force was applicable to its conflict in South Ossetia in specific legally binding international documents, such as the Sochi Agreement of 1992 or the 1996 Memorandum.

    It is not possible to accept that the shelling of Tskhinvali during much of the night with GRAD multiple rocket launchers (MRLS) and heavy artillery would satisfy the requirements of having been necessary and proportionate in order to defend those villages. It follows from the illegal character of the Georgian military assault that South Ossetian defensive action in response did conform to international law in terms of legitimate self-defence.
    ——————

    Legitimate self-defence.

    • And now let yourself also post a direct link, to show you posted an actual quote, and did not change anything, put things out of context, or ommit stuff.

      Because, you know, for some reason I find this:

      “While Russia was treated by parts of the Georgian historical narrative almost as a threat to the existence of the Georgian nation, and while there were indeed attempts to subdue Georgian cultural heritage, Georgians were to some extent even a privileged nation within the Russian Empire.

      Georgians were to some extent even a privileged nation within the Russian Empire. ”

      somewhat unlikely. (For example: Why the repetition?)

      • I downloaded this from:

        http://www.ceiig.ch/Report.html

        Happy readings!

        • The repetition was mine. All quotes come from Volume 1.

          • “Michael Taf”, why do you ommit things you don’t like in your narrative and so-blatantly mispresent sources?

            What you claimed they wrote:

            “During the period of transition to post-Soviet sovereignty the country´s first President, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, then did a lot in terms of nationalism to alienate the two smaller political-territorial entities of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from the Georgian
            independence project, proclaiming ethno-centrist slogans such as “Georgia for Georgians”.”

            What they ACTUALLY wrote:

            5.) Present-day Georgia considers the three year existence of the Democratic Republic
            of Georgia from 1918 to 1921, then swiftly and ruthlessly suppressed by Bolshevik forces, as important a reference point for national liberation and modern democratic statehood as was its final emergence out of the dissolution of the Soviet Union with the promulgation of Georgia´s Declaration of Independence of 9 April 1991. In both instances Georgian independence emerged out of a severe crisis, and even the downfall, of its powerful northern neighbour. Independence in 1991 was preceded by tragic events such as the
            killing of Georgian demonstrators by Soviet troops on 9 April 1989. It came to life after a decade-long history of armed fighting, suppression and the mass terror, which had marked the Stalin era. Indeed there was little which might have induced newly-independent Georgia to follow the patterns of Russian and Soviet years and much of the political class as well as public opinion in Georgia took a sharp pro-Western turn. There was one important legacy from the Soviet era, though: the subdivision of Georgia into three political-territorial entities, including the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia and the
            Autonomous Oblast’ (district) of South Ossetia. Of course there also remained overall Georgia with its capital city Tbilisi, within its internationally recognised borders coinciding with the former “Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia”, as it stood on 21 December 1991. During the period of transition to post-Soviet sovereignty the country´s first President, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, then did a lot in terms of nationalism to alienate the two smaller political-territorial entities of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from the Georgian independence project, proclaiming ethno-centrist slogans such as “Georgia for Georgians”.

            A little, tiny BIT different now, eh? You should be ashamed now. Are you?

            • And wait, I actually didn’t paste it in whole. This paragraph continued on, still:

              Nationalism and even chauvinism from all sides together with questionable political
              actions added to the tensions. The fighting that finally broke out between Georgian forces
              and separatist forces, first in South Ossetia in 1991 – 1992 and then in Abkhazia 1992 -
              1994 ended with Georgia losing control of large parts of both territories. There was support
              from Russia for the insurrectionists, yet it seems that the Russian political elite and power
              structures were divided on the issue and partly involved, and Moscow remained on uneasy
              terms with Tbilisi at the same time.

              I guess the part about the “Nationalism and even chauvinism from all sides” EVEN MORE did not fit into your biased narrative (where there was always place for the “Georgia for Georgians” but not to “death to Georgians”), eh? Too bad for the facts, right?

      • Okay. I’ll start with ACTUAL quotes, okay?

        Page 5:

        Introduction
        1.) On the night of 7 to 8 August 2008, after an extended period of ever-mounting
        tensions and incidents, heavy fighting erupted in and around the town of Tskhinvali in
        South Ossetia. The fighting, which soon extended to other parts of Georgia, lasted for five
        days. In many places throughout the country it caused serious destruction, reaching levels
        of utter devastation in a number of towns and villages. Human losses were substantial. At
        the end, the Georgian side claimed losses of 170 servicemen, 14 policemen and 228
        civilians killed and 1 747 persons wounded. The Russian side claimed losses of 67
        servicemen killed and 283 wounded. The South Ossetians spoke of 365 persons killed,
        which probably included both servicemen and civilians. Altogether about 850 persons lost
        their lives, not to mention those who were wounded, who went missing, or the far more
        than 100 000 civilians who fled their homes. Around 35 000 still have not been able to
        return to their homes.

        As we see already, “Georgian genocide” was a lie, “total genocide” ((c) Putin) was a lie, “Genocide Museum” is a lie, 1,400 Ossetian/Russian civilians killed in just few hours was a lie, 1,600 of them dead was a lie, and 2,100 killed was of course a lie, too. Now they allege only 365 of their people (combatants and civilians) died in the entire war. In short, all of this was a big, huge, enormous, gigantic LIE (L-I-E), the kind of which Goebbels would be proud.

        As we see, even as only 35,000 or so (right?) so-called Russian Citiziens lived in South Ossetia on the eve of the war (of which thousands were already evactuated), allegedly helpless and innocent victims of the “total genocide”, the conflict actually created “the far more than” 100,000 refugees – the great most of them Georgian – and that 35,000 of them still can’t return to their former homes. (Which I guess must be part of this “Legitimate self-defence” strategy I heard of.)

        And that’s only from the beginning of the introduction.

        • > Okay. I’ll start with ACTUAL quotes, okay?

          Are you claiming that my quotes were not actual? Which ones?

          • Yes, out out of the context, manipulated. Which one? Well, I guess all of them.

            Example:

            You claimed they wrote:

            “3.) The shelling of Tskhinvali by the Georgian armed forces during the night of 7 to 8 August 2008 marked the beginning of the large-scale armed conflict in Georgia”

            What they did ACTUALLY wrote (a full sentence):

            3.) The shelling of Tskhinvali by the Georgian armed forces during the night of 7 to 8
            August 2008 marked the beginning of the large-scale armed conflict in Georgia, yet it was
            only the culminating point of a long period of increasing tensions, provocations and
            incidents.

            Of course this did not fit in your total bias, so you couldn’t even quote a FULL SENTENCE (before “yet”) without spinning around its message completely.

            A question. Are you by any chance this “Robert Bridge” character?

    • @Legitimate self-defence.

      What they actually wrote:

      21.) When considering the legality of Russian military force against Georgia, the
      answer needs to be differentiated. The Russian reaction to the Georgian attack can be
      divided into two phases: first, the immediate reaction in order to defend Russian
      peacekeepers, and second, the invasion of Georgia by Russian armed forces reaching far
      beyond the administrative boundary of South Ossetia. In the first instance, there seems to
      be little doubt that if –[NOTICE: "if" - remeber CoE couldn't verify this in either way]– the Russian peacekeepers were attacked, Russia had the right to
      defend them using military means proportionate to the attack. Hence the Russian use of
      force for defensive purposes during the first phase of the conflict would be legal. On the
      second item, it must be ascertained whether the subsequent Russian military campaign
      deeper into Georgia was necessary and proportionate in terms of defensive action against
      the initial Georgian attack. Although it should be admitted that it is not easy to decide
      where the line must be drawn, it seems, however, that much of the Russian military action
      went far beyond the reasonable limits of defence. This holds true for all kinds of massive
      and extended military action ranging from the bombing of the upper Kodori Valley to the
      deployment of armoured units to reach extensive parts of Georgia, to the setting up of
      military positions in and nearby major Georgian towns as well as to control major
      highways, and to the deployment of navy units on the Black Sea. All this cannot be
      regarded as even remotely commensurate with the threat to Russian peacekeepers in South
      Ossetia. Furthermore, continued destruction which came after the ceasefire agreement was
      not justifiable by any means. It follows from this that insofar as such extended Russian
      military action reaching out into Georgia was conducted in violation of international law,
      Georgian military forces were acting in legitimate self-defence under Article 51 of the UN
      Charter. In a matter of a very few days, the pattern of legitimate and illegitimate military
      action had thus turned around between the two main actors Georgia and Russia.

      22.) Could the use of force by Russia then possibly be justified as a “humanitarian
      intervention”, in order to protect South Ossetian civilians? To begin with, it is a highly
      controversial issue among legal experts whether there is any justification or not for
      humanitarian intervention. It might be assumed, however, that humanitarian intervention to
      prevent human rights violations abroad is allowed only under very limited circumstances,
      if at all. Among major powers, Russia in particular has consistently and persistently
      objected to any justification of the NATO Kosovo intervention as a humanitarian
      intervention. It can therefore not rely on this putative title to justify its own intervention on
      Georgian territory. And as a directly neighbouring state, Russia has important political and
      other interests of its own in South Ossetia and the region. In such a constellation, a
      humanitarian intervention is not recognised at all.

      23.) Finally, the Russian Federation invoked the need to protect its own citizens living
      in South Ossetia. Under Article 61 (2) of the Russian constitution “the Russian Federation
      guarantees its citizens defence and patronage beyond its boundaries”. It is also true that
      since 1945, numerous states have led military actions by pointing to the need to protect
      their own nationals abroad. In many cases the legality of these actions was disputed. There
      is no customary law allowing such actions. If at all, such actions should be limited in scope
      and duration and exclusively focused on rescuing and evacuating nationals. In the case at
      hand, the action was not solely and exclusively focused on rescuing and evacuating
      Russian citizens, but largely surpassed this threshold by embarking upon extended military
      operations over large parts of Georgia. Consequently, it must be concluded that the
      Russian military action outside South Ossetia was essentially conducted in violation of
      international law.

      24.) Finally the military action that took place in the upper Kodori Valley must come
      under scrutiny. The Moscow Agreement on a Ceasefire and Separation of Forces of 1994,
      which had been signed also by the Abkhaz side, stipulated that “The parties shall
      scrupulously observe the ceasefire on land, at sea and in the air and shall refrain from all
      military actions against each other”. As the upper Kodori Valley did not belong to the
      Abkhaz-controlled territory under the provisions of the Moscow Agreement, the attack
      against it by Abkhaz units supported by Russian forces constituted an illegal use of force
      as prohibited by the Ceasefire Agreement and Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter and also an
      armed attack against Georgia in the sense of Article 51 of the UN Charter. The use of force
      by Georgia in defence of the attack was at the same time justified in terms of legitimate
      self-defence. The Abkhaz leadership gave, however, four different explanations in an
      attempt to justify its military operation. Abkhazia claimed that the military operation was
      launched “to liberate the Kodori Valley” and also that it had to be carried out to abort
      terrorist attacks against the civilian population. It further claimed the Abkhaz operation
      was necessary to pre-empt an imminent military operation by Georgia against Abkhazia,
      and finally Abkhazia deemed itself obliged to open a “second front” in accordance with its
      Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation with South Ossetia of 19 September 2005.
      However, none of these explanations can be considered as substantiated in fact or as
      legally valid. Hence the use of force by Abkhazia was not justified under international law.
      The same applies for the Russian support of these actions. Concluding the discussion on
      the use of force in the August 2008 conflict, a final look should be given to the repeated
      instances of threat of force by one side or the other before the beginning of the August
      2008 conflict. It should be noted that Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter as well as the relevant
      ceasefire agreements require that states and parties to the conflict not only refrain from the
      use of force but explicitly also from the threat of force. Threats of this nature are equally
      not in conformity with Article 2 (3) of the Charter, which stipulates the obligation to settle
      conflicts peacefully. The threats of force by all sides were consequently illegal and as such,
      violated international law.

      And now I’ll play Michael Tal for a while and quote only what I like:

      It follows from this that insofar as such extended Russian military action reaching out into Georgia was conducted in violation of international law, Georgian military forces were acting in legitimate self-defence under Article 51 of the UN Charter.

      In such a constellation, a humanitarian intervention is not recognised at all.

      Consequently, it must be concluded that the
      Russian military action outside South Ossetia was essentially conducted in violation of international law.

      As the upper Kodori Valley did not belong to the Abkhaz-controlled territory under the provisions of the Moscow Agreement, the attack against it by Abkhaz units supported by Russian forces constituted an illegal use of force as prohibited by the Ceasefire Agreement and Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter and also an armed attack against Georgia in the sense of Article 51 of the UN Charter. The use of force by Georgia in defence of the attack was at the same time justified in terms of legitimate
      self-defence.

      Hence the use of force by Abkhazia was not justified under international law. The same applies for the Russian support of these actions.

  11. Their summary of the war (p. 21-22):

    17.) In the course of the armed conflict, subsequently named a “five-day war”, and its
    immediate aftermath, the Russian side justified their military intervention by their
    intention to stop an allegedly ongoing genocide of the Ossetian population by the
    Georgian forces, and also to protect Russian citizens residing in South Ossetia and the
    Russian contingent of the Joint Peacekeeping Forces deployed in South Ossetia in
    accordance with the Sochi Agreement of 1992. Russia claimed that in the morning of 8
    August 2008 two Russian peacekeepers were killed and five wounded by the
    Georgian attacks on the peacekeepers’ premises in Tskhinvali. Georgia denied having
    conducted deliberate attacks against the Russian peacekeepers, arguing that the
    Georgian troops entering Tskhinvali were fired at from the Russian peacekeepers`
    compounds and that they had to return fire. The Mission does not have independent reports
    which could substantiate or deny the allegations of either side. Albeit, taking into account
    the existing dangerous conditions on the ground, casualties among the Russian PKF
    personnel were likely. As far as Russian and South Ossetian accusations of genocide are
    concerned, they became less frequent in later months as the alleged Georgian intent for
    genocide could not be proven. The number of casualties among the Ossetian civilian
    population turned out to be much lower than claimed at the beginning. Russian officials
    stated initially that about 2 000 civilians had been killed in South Ossetia by the Georgian
    forces, but later on the number of overall South Ossetian civilian losses of the August 2008
    conflict was reduced to 162. On 10 August, the Georgian Government declared a unilateral
    ceasefire and its intention to withdraw Georgian forces from South Ossetia. This ceasefire,
    however, was not followed by the opposite side. Finally, by the night of 10 to 11 August,
    most of the Georgian forces had withdrawn from the territory of South Ossetia. They were
    followed by Russian troops who entered deeper into Georgian territory by crossing the
    administrative boundaries of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia and set up military
    positions in a number of Georgian towns, including Gori, Zugdidi, Senaki and Poti.
    During the final phase of military hostilities, Abkhaz units supported by Russian forces
    attacked the Georgian positions in the upper Kodori Valley and seized this
    territory, which had been vacated by the Georgian forces and most of the local
    Georgian population by 12 August 2008.

    And actually this is their entire point, in the shortest way possible. If you don’t understand this, or pretend to misunderstand (like “Michael Tal” did), just read again.

    I rest my case.

  12. More on this
    http://virtualcollector.blogspot.com/2009/10/georgia-challenges-report-that-says-it.html

    “On Wednesday, the deputy speaker of Georgia’s Parliament, Levan Vepkhvadze, said in remarks broadcast on Georgian television: “We don’t doubt that Ms. Tagliavini is objective. But there was a German analyst in the commission, who in advance, before the work of the commission started, presented in public his assessments of the conflict which were definitely biased.””

    P.S.
    Again Russian German friendship? More Gerhard Schröder style russian a..s licking?

    • The report is actually pretty good – see above for a summary of its findings.

      In short: Russian alleged reasons for the invasion either lies (“genocide”), wrong according to international law (“aid to the Russian citiziens”), or unproven (“unprovoked attack on the Russian battalion”).

      At the same time – invasion and occupation of Kodori and Georgian territory completely and absolutely illegal, and the ethnic cleansing campaignby Ossetians confirmed (like if there was ever any doubt, but anyway).

      The people in the press just misunderstood it, because they concentrated on the issue who first opened from heavy artillery (which was “only the culminating point of a long period of increasing tensions, provocations and incidents”, anyway).

      I guess nobody cared to read 1,00 page main report – I understand this – but why not just the introduction/summary part?

      • Just compare what they had to say about the fact of ethnic cleansing, compared to the lies of “genocide”:

        27.) The Russian and South Ossetian charge of genocide against Georgia was one of the
        most serious allegations made. There was an urgent need to examine this allegation, due to
        the grave connotations conjured by the term genocide in public opinion and conscience,
        and also to its very specific legal definition and to the ensuing serious consequences under
        international law. After having carefully reviewed the facts in the light of the relevant law,
        the Mission concludes that to the best of its knowledge allegations of genocide committed
        by the Georgian side in the context of the August 2008 conflict and its aftermath are
        neither founded in law nor substantiated by factual evidence. This finding is mainly based
        on the fact that international law requires proof of specific intent for the crime of genocide
        to be constituted. It follows from this, that measures such as educational and public
        information initiatives should be taken to ensure that unfounded allegations of genocide do
        not further fuel tensions or encourage acts of revenge. With regard to allegations of ethnic
        cleansing committed by South Ossetian forces or irregular armed groups, however, the
        Mission found patterns of forced displacements of ethnic Georgians who had remained in
        their homes after the onset of hostilities. In addition, there was evidence of systematic
        looting and destruction of ethnic Georgian villages in South Ossetia. Consequently, several
        elements suggest the conclusion that ethnic cleansing was indeed practised against ethnic
        Georgians in South Ossetia both during and after the August 2008 conflict. Even at the
        time of the writing of this Report, the situation in the Akhalgori district at the southeast end
        of South Ossetia continues to be a matter of concern, as ethnic Georgians are still leaving
        the region.

        The report is NOT biased towards Russia – but the journalists (and/or their editors) are really stupid.

        • More from the main report on the ethnic cleansing by the Ossetian militias and gangs:

          In its Resolution 1633 (2008) on
          “The consequences of the war between Georgia and Russia,” the Parliamentary Assembly of
          the Council of Europe stated that it was “especially concerned about credible reports of acts of
          ethnic cleansing committed in ethnic Georgian villages in South Ossetia and the ’buffer zone’
          by irregular militia and gangs which the Russian troops failed to stop.” It further “stresse[d] in
          this respect that such acts were mostly committed after the signing of the cease-fire agreement
          on 12 August 2008, and [were] continuing” at the date of the adoption of the resolution.365
          The rapporteurs of the Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by
          Member States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring Committee) who visited Georgia and
          Russia at the end of September detailed the basis for this qualification:
          “The systematic nature of the looting and destruction of property in South Ossetia, together
          with indications from the de facto leadership in Tskhinvali that ethnic Georgian IDPs are not
          welcome to return, even if they take on the citizenship of the self-proclaimed state as
          demanded by the de facto authorities, is a clear indication that ethnic cleansing is taking
          place in South Ossetia. This is confirmed by reports from international humanitarian and
          relief organisations, as well as human rights organisations and the diplomatic community in
          Georgia, who have reported systematic acts of ethnic cleansing of Georgian villages in South
          Ossetia by South Ossetian irregular troops and gangs. Reports have been received that, in
          some cases, complete villages have been bulldozed and razed. This pattern also seemed to be
          confirmed by the visit of the PACE delegation to the region, which saw that the Georgian
          village of Ksuisi in South Ossetia had been completely looted and virtually destroyed.”366
          Human Rights Watch also concluded that ethnic cleansing took place in Georgia.367
          Several elements all lead to the conclusion that ethnic cleansing was carried out during and,
          most importantly, after the August 2008 conflict. When considering the territory at stake and
          its ethnic composition, it must be stressed that South Ossetia was populated by ethnic
          Georgians in certain areas and villages. The UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement,
          in Principle 6(2), give examples of situations in which displacement would be arbitrary:
          “when it is based on (…) ‘ethnic cleansing’ or similar practices aimed at or resulting in
          alteration of the ethnic, religious or racial composition of the affected population.” As well as
          through displacement, ethnic cleansing can be achieved through other acts such as the threat
          of attacks against the civilian population and the wanton destruction of property.368
          Many ethnic Georgian villages in South Ossetia were and still are completely empty of
          people. Furthermore, a number of testimonies report destruction and torching done explicitly
          to force people to leave and prevent them from returning. This is significant when one
          considers that while most of the population of those villages left at the outbreak of the
          hostilities, this violence was directed against the few inhabitants who had stayed on. In this
          regard, during its latest visit to the area north of Tskhinvali, on the road linking Tamarasheni,
          Achabeti, Kurta and Kekhvi, the IIFFMCG experts witnessed that all of these ethnic villages
          had been burned down and were completely uninhabited.

          And now on the “genocide” lies:

          Allegations of genocide were made during the conflict in Georgia and after the cease-fire.
          Owing to both the seriousness of the term “genocide” for public opinion and in the collective
          consciousness, and its very specific legal definition and corresponding consequences in
          international law, it is extremely important to assess these allegations carefully. The
          expression “crime of crimes,” used by the ICTR, illustrates the highly unique nature of
          genocide.476 There is consequently a need not only to establish facts and ascertain the law, but
          – more than for any other allegations – to aim at avoiding any post-conflict tension that could
          result from persisting resentment among communities over accusations of genocide. The
          gravity of this crime is translated into the very strict conditions required under international
          law for acts to be qualified as such.477 As allegations were made by the Russian Federation
          and by the de facto South Ossetian authorities, the available evidence produced should be
          analysed against the backdrop of this legal definition. Georgia did not make such claims. In
          the context of their replies to the questionnaire sent by the IIFFMCG, the Georgian authorities
          stressed that Georgia “does not concede that the crime of the genocide has been committed by
          either party to the conflict during and/or in the aftermath of the 2008 hostilities.”478
          Allegations of genocide were made by the Russian Federation against the Georgian forces. A
          number of political declarations by Russian authorities in the early days of the conflict
          explicitly accused Georgia of genocide.479 These accusations have to be linked to the number
          of victims given by the Russian authorities at the time, who claimed 2,000 people had been
          killed. The declarations were accompanied by measures to investigate into alleged
          genocide.480 The Deputy Chairman of the Committee announced that his office was opening
          “a genocide probe based on reports of actions committed by Georgian troops aimed at
          murdering Russian citizens – ethnic Ossetians – living in South Ossetia.”481 As reported by
          the Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments by Member States of the
          Council of Europe, “on 23 December 2008, the Head of the Investigation Commission of the
          General Prosecutor’s Office of Russia announced that the Commission had finalised its
          investigations into the deaths of 162 South Ossetian civilians – a considerably lower number
          of deaths of civilians than originally announced by the Russian authorities – and of 48
          members of the Russian military troops during the war, and that it had collected sufficient
          evidence to bring charges against Georgia of genocide against South Ossetians.”482
          Georgia was also accused of genocide by the de facto South Ossetian authorities and nongovernmental
          organisations from South Ossetia. An adviser to the de facto President of South
          Ossetia stated that over 300 lawsuits had been sent to the International Criminal Court,
          seeking to bring the Georgian authorities to justice for “genocide” committed in the August 8-
          12 attack.483 As noted by Human Rights Watch, such accusations were also “widely
          publicised by the Public Commission for Investigating War Crimes in South Ossetia, a group
          of Russian and South Ossetian public activists working with the prosecutor’s office of the de
          facto South Ossetian authorities.”484 The commission was created on 12 August 2008 and
          issued a report aimed at documenting the case of genocide against South Ossetians. The head
          of the Public Committee declared that “now the world community has got access to photo and
          video and other documents which prove that Georgian soldiers in South Ossetia were actually
          committing genocide against its people.”485 Representatives of two NGOs whom the
          IIFFMCG met in Tskhinvali in March 2009 made the same accusations of genocide.
          Allegations of genocide were also made by the de facto Abkhaz authorities, who stated that
          “documented proof of genocide perpetrated by the Georgian government against ethnic
          Abkhaz is still to be presented before the highest international judicial institutions.”486

          (and so on – several more pages of such idiocies only a braindead Russian TV viewer (an avarage Russian TV viewer?) could believe, and the experts of CoE then alayzing it seriously becuase they had nothing better to do)

          In the light of the above, the Mission believes that to the best of its knowledge the
          allegations of genocide in the context of the armed conflict between Russia and Georgia
          and its aftermath are not founded in law nor substantiated by factual evidence.

          • Oh, I guess also this is important as regarding the lie of “genocide”:

            Given the nature
            and gravity of such a crime, there is an imperative need for all sides to conduct informative
            and educational initiatives to counteract the negative impact of such accusations among the
            population. This is particularly significant when considering that some violations of IHL and
            HRL during the conflict and its aftermath were motivated by referring to “thousands of
            civilian casualties in South Ossetia,” as reported by Russian federal TV channels.”510

            because it connects these lies to the very real crime of ethnic cleansing against the Georgian population.

            And yes, “the TV told them so” (which I guess makes it sort of a Russian version of the infamous Radio Rwanda broadcasts).

  13. Thank you, Robert! You said it all. Unfortunately those who “read” the report and see it differently and then try to convince everybody else that rasha’s actions were justified use the same methods as KGB and Stasi did-misinformation,of course. Lies, lies lies-that’s all they know.

  14. Having just read through the report myself, I can confirm what Robert has written and abundantly quoted. It does seem like Sergey and Michael Tal above were simply looking for quotations that could be seen as fitting their own vision of the conflict, and failed to quote the preceding and/or following text.

    Maybe it is unavoidable that a document that tries to be impartial — and that therefore does place some blame on Georgia for some of the actions it undertook (the shelling of Tskhinvali) — can always be mined for sentences that will be useful to any side in the dispute that it attempts to judge. That is indeed a pity.

    • @It does seem like Sergey and Michael Tal above were simply looking for quotations that could be seen as fitting their own vision of the conflict, and failed to quote the preceding and/or following text.

      Well, this “Michael Tal” dude (“Are you claiming that my quotes were not actual? Which ones?”) couldn’t even quote one sentence in full (before “yet”). I guess there’s no further comment needed.

  15. ‘Georgia on Their Minds:
    Russia’s war against Tbilisi didn’t start with invasion.’

    “So who is to blame for this war? Both sides, according to a 1,000 page report commissioned by the European Union and released earlier this week. Don’t expect this exercise in moral equivalence to chasten the Kremlin as it pursues further adventures in its “near abroad.” ”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704471504574446582129281924.html?mod=googlenews_wsj#articleTabs%3Darticle

    • Excellent article thanks Simon.

      From the article Simon posted the link to:

      “But whatever the case, the fighting didn’t begin in a vacuum. Instead, it was the culmination of years of deliberate and repeated provocations by Russia following Georgia’s 2003 “Rose Revolution,” which overthrew a pro-Kremlin regime in favor of the pro-Western (and pro-American) government of Mikheil Saakashvili.

      Since then, the Kremlin has expelled more than 2,000 Georgians from Russia and raided and shuttered several Georgian-owned businesses. Moscow has also intermittently halted air, land and sea traffic with Georgia, and banned its vegetables, mineral water and wines from the Russian market.

      Meanwhile, the price of Russian energy has skyrocketed for Georgia, with the net result being that Georgian exports to Russia shrank 9.9% from 2003 to 2006, while the value of Russian trade to Georgia ballooned by 249%, according to Georgian figures. In 2006, Mr. Saakashvili accused Moscow of setting the pipeline blasts that cut off gas supplies to Georgia and Armenia during an exceptionally cold January.

      The final phase of Russia’s campaign against Georgia came in the spring of 2008, when Moscow established official ties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and followed up with a troop and weapons buildup in the rebel territories. In April 2008 a Russian plane shot down an unmanned Georgian drone over Abkhazia, which even Moscow at the time recognized as Georgian air space. It is difficult to recall that period and not conclude that Russia meant to provoke a war—ideally by goading Mr. Saakashvili into it. Little wonder that when Georgian shells began falling on Tskhinvali, Russian troops were able to “react” in record time.

      Ms. Tagliavini’s report takes note of this backdrop. Yet it shrinks from drawing the obvious conclusion, which is that this is a war the Kremlin wanted, schemed for, and got. That Mr. Saakashvili fell for this bear trap may reflect poorly on his tactical acumen and strategic judgment. But it does not alter the moral fundamentals.

      Nor does it alter the Kremlin’s larger purpose, which is to reassemble the pieces of the old Soviet Union in a way that suits its needs. In this sense, the war in Georgia is merely of a piece with Russia’s now-routine winter gas offensives against Ukraine, and with a 2007 cyberattack on Estonian Web sites that is widely believed to have come from Russia. In the latter case, the victim was a member state of the EU.

      That’s something that ought to be of deep concern to Europe, particularly as Russia plays its energy cards with countries ever farther to its west. Perhaps the next time the EU decides to commission a 1,000-page report, it might consider examining where, and how, the Kremlin will pounce next.”

  16. A slightly more detailed version here:

    ‘EU INQUIRY REJECTS RUSSIA’S JUSTIFICATIONS FOR GEORGIA WAR’

    http://www.cacianalyst.org/?q=node/5188

  17. Sorry, the first version of Svante Cornell link here:

    ‘Europe Exposes Russia’s Guilt in Georgia:
    In an invasion, when can a spade be called a spade?’

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704471504574446582737784064.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

  18. I too have had the pleasure of reading the report, and wow did it open my eyes as to the true state of affairs by giving a balanced view rather then the distorted lies as reported in most of the major newspapers!

    It forcibly brings home the truth of the oft repeated statement ‘believe nothing that you read in the papers and only half of what you hear’. However let me make it abundantly clear that LR is totally excluded from the above quote, yes LR keep up the excellent work.

    Now to Sergey Shelukin, Michael Tall and Robert (Bridges?) I can only surmise that you three must be KGB paid ‘stukachi’ who spew forth the official Putin line (oops, I mean lies).

    To you I say please get off the ‘sumohonka’ before it totally turns you into brain dead morons. Just bear in mind that the pen is mightier then the sword!

    • @Now to Sergey Shelukin, Michael Tall and Robert (Bridges?)

      Um, me? No, I’m not RB, and not Robert Mugabe neither ;)

  19. Must say that I concur wholeheartedly with Simon’s, – and here I quote verbatim – “Excellent article thanks Simon.” With however one slight addition to change the word ‘article’ into a plural by adding the letter ‘s’ at its end.

    • Very true, but in my defence he had only posted one when I thanked him, so Bohdan I agree, thanks Simon for all the excellent articles, and thanks too to Robert for all his direct quotes from the original report.

      • There was much more, of course.

        For example, about the hostage-taking (this was often overlooked and few people know about the Georgian hostages during and after the war):

        e) Detention of civilians, arbitrary arrests, abduction and taking of hostages
        There are also many cases where civilians of Georgian ethnicity have been deprived of their
        liberty. Such cases include the arrest and detention of civilians in inappropriate conditions by
        Ossetian forces, some being kidnapped and released against payment of a ransom. Many
        civilians also described their arrest as being taken hostage to be used in exchanges later.
        Two elderly women from Achabeti village were brought by South Ossetian forces to
        Tskhinvali on 11 August and were detained together with more than 40 people, most of them
        also elderly, in the basement of what they identified as the FSB building in Tskhinvali. They
        were all kept together for three days in the same small room, where they had to take turns to
        lie down on a few wooden beds, and with very little bread or water. They were then kept in
        the yard for five days and had to clean the streets. Many civilians detained had to burry
        corpses.
        Two men from Achabeti and Tskhinvali respectively described how they were beaten while
        detained in SIZO.246
        During the meeting the IIFFMCG experts had on 5 June 2009 with representatives of the de
        facto Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior of South Ossetia, these authorities actually
        acknowledged that civilians had been present in the Ministry of Interior building, but they
        indicated that they had been taken there in the context of safety measures to protect them from
        the effects of the hostilities. Not only is this in complete contradiction with numerous
        testimonies from persons detained there but, even if it were so, it would be impossible to
        explain why, if such measures were taken for protection purposes, those persons were not
        released until 27 of August, two weeks after the hostilities had ended, and why they had to
        clean the streets and bury dead bodies.247
        The HRAM heard many reports of the kidnapping of villagers who were then held for
        ransom. For example, a family of four was kidnapped in Gogeti; the wife and two children
        were released and asked to bring money in exchange for the husband.248

        • Conclusion:

          It seems that there have been numerous cases of illegal detention of civilians, arbitrary
          arrests, abduction and taking of hostages, mostly committed by South Ossetian forces and
          other South Ossetian armed groups.

          About the bandit gangs (“other South Ossetian armed groups”):

          Referring to the situation at the end of August, the Council of Europe Commissioner for
          Human Rights also stressed that “the Russian forces have the duty under international
          humanitarian law to maintain law and order in the zone they control,” and he “raised his
          serious concerns about the security of the civilians with all sides.” He noted that the Russian
          head of the peacekeeping presence in the buffer zone and other high-level Russian officials
          “acknowledged that policing and maintaining law and order were major challenges.
          According to them, the area had been infiltrated by marauders, criminal gangs and militia,
          who were committing serious crimes.”297
          In September 2008, as a way to address this failure to maintain law and order properly,
          Human Rights Watch called for the EU to provide the monitoring mission scheduled to move
          into areas near South Ossetia with a policing mandate to protect the civilians.298
          The Russian authorities and the South Ossetian authorities failed overwhelmingly to take
          measures to maintain law and order and ensure the protection of the civilian population as
          required under IHL and HRL.

          And for example about the Russian government’s racism against ordinary Georgian nationals in Russia, well before the war:

          But above all, this crisis had an impact on Russian domestic
          affairs and affected the behaviour of Russian authorities toward the Georgian diaspora living
          in Russia in a way that damaged Russia’s image in the world. “Until now, if government
          authorities contributed to public xenophobia it was through inaction, incompetence or
          irresponsibility. Now ethnic hostility is being incited by government figures – legislators and
          executive officials alike”.45 Some ethnic Georgians, including children, were loaded in cargo
          planes and expelled from Russia. Prominent Georgian intellectuals living in Russia were
          harassed by the tax police, Georgian businesses in Moscow were singled out by law
          enforcement authorities. Georgians were portrayed as the most criminal of all ethnic
          minorities in Russia. The campaign took an especially ugly turn when some Moscow schools
          were ordered to submit to the police lists of children with Georgian names.
          When the EU ministers of foreign affairs expressed deep concern about the economic,
          political and humanitarian costs of the Russian measures against Georgia and Georgians,
          Konstantin Kosachev, Chairman of the State Duma Committee for International Affairs,
          conceded that criticism of several measures imposed by Russian executive organs on
          Georgians living in Russia was justified.46 Reactions of protest emerged in Russia against the
          xenophobe reactions of their own authorities. Around a thousand demonstrators gathered in
          the centre of Moscow on 8 October 2006, many of them with emblems saying “I’m a
          Georgian”.47

  20. Sergey Shelukhin

    Joint reply (you people have a lot of time on your hands).
    Btw, can you please reply to specific points, and preclude with on which (like “on peacekeeprs: blah blah blah”) – I’m tired of fishing your claims out of incoherent rants.

    The “quote mining” – nah, it’s not the quote mining, it looks like you skillfully shifted your position.
    Originally (pre-report) you claimed Russia bore main responsibility for staring the war – report clearly puts the blame for that on Georgia. Now, you started to blame Russia for handling of war – which to me is a secondary question. Putin, basically, is not as civilized as to conduct war by civilized means, so he conducts it with overwhelming means and clever battle tactics (such as “Death by unconrollable Ossetians”). The cief take out for me that the fact of Russia invading was justified. European report only says “bad Putin, the fact that that other kid hit your small borther on the face doesn’t justify you breaking his legs. Next time, hit him on the face too, or better yet, come complain to the teacher which in this case didn’t do enough to prevent the conflict”.

    Beslan: irrelevant to South Ossetian conflict. Show how it’s relevant? It only figures in your generic anti-Putin diatribes. I agree that Putin & co screwed up Beslan, btw. I don’t like Putin & con in general, but as I already said in some situations they are mostly right – such as in this war.

    Occupying/breaking the ceasefire – what part of *uncontested* Georgia proper is occupied?

    Reuters pics – I thought this was common knowledge… The comments you mention are not authoritative, and they ignore the 3rd image
    http://www.reuters.com/resources/r/?m=02&d=20080809&t=2&i=5508259&w=&r=2008-08-09T135819Z_01_L7680404_RTRUKOP_0_PICTURE7
    Here’s one more good one:
    http://war.georgia.su/images/boys-dont-cry.jpg
    Here’s one more Georgian photographer who is good at scene work:
    http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2008/08/reuters-pulls-fauxtography-tricks-in.html
    Here’s earlier post with more pics which is unfortunately broken now (video link still works, though)
    http://venik4.livejournal.com/14120.html

    Genocide – Russia is only to blame for allowing Ossetians to run free and take their revenge – and then, as cynical as it sounds, it’s a good tactic. We sit here with clean hands, and those uncontrollable barbarians attack other barbarians. Win-win, our barbarians happy, their barbarians fleeing. Your evidence of destruction (which neither me nor report denied) doesn’t say who did it; moreover, I was talking about *uncontested* Georgia proper. You also provide nice evidence for Tskhinvali which Russians didn’t damage, as expected.

    “illegal Russian activity before”: “An additional legal question is whether the Georgian use of force against Russian peacekeeping forces on Georgian territory, i.e. in South Ossetia, might have been justified. Again the answer is in the negative. There was no ongoing armed attack by Russia before the start of the Georgian operation. Georgian claims of a large-scale presence of Russian armed forces in South Ossetia prior to the Georgian offensive on 7/8 August could not be substantiated by the Mission. It could also not be verified that Russia was on the verge of such a major attack, in spite of certain elements and equipment having been made readily available. ”
    “There is also no evidence to support any claims that Russian peacekeeping units in South Ossetia were in flagrant breach of their obligations under relevant international agreements such as the Sochi Agreement and thus may have forfeited their international legal status. Consequently, the use of force by Georgia against Russian peacekeeping forces in Tskhinvali in the night of 7/8 August 2008 was contrary to international law. ”
    Apparently report is self-contradictory? I’d like to see full quote of illegal *Russian* activity, not your retard interpretation. I saw some mention of illegal activity such as distributing passports. Nice cause for the offensive :)

    As for illegal secession – Kosovo set the precedent, I guess, if it wasn’t for Kosovo recognition, Abkhasia and South Ossetia would have remained “breakaway regions” in Russian eyes. Pudvedev did it to say “see, now we do that too” to the West, which wasn’t very smart, but they are not known for smart policy in general.

    You failed to post any proof of original claim of report/media whitewashing Russia (when it would be more logical for it to whitewash Georgia – ally of the West and originally declared “good guys” by EU/US), failed to explain how come most of the media headlines are about Georgia starting the war.

    • @The cief take out for me that the fact of Russia invading was justified.

      And you’re absolutely wong.

      3 justifications were compltely wrong (“genocide” lie, “humanitarian internvetion”
      “protecting Russian citiziens” – not legal citiziens accoring to international law and it should be rather evacuating them only, anyway), while 1 could not be proven (“peacekeepers attacked first, had to protect them”) and this did not justify for example the invasion of Kodori (and further) AT ALL.

      @Genocide – Russia is only to blame for allowing Ossetians to run free and take their revenge – and then, as cynical as it sounds, it’s a good tactic.

      No, Russia (top officials, federal TV) is also to blame for lying about “genocide”, which provoked the “revenge” attacks (can’t be any revenge for something that never was). I cited already.

      @Reuters pics – I thought this was common knowledge… The comments you mention are not authoritative, and they ignore the 3rd image

      Really? About this one:

      “As far as the grieving man later putting on a shirt….well, so what?! I’m guessing he ran out of his apartment without his shirt and later on, at some stage went and got fully dressed. ” “No I don’t believe these images are faked. Having examined the image that guy in black is not the guy that is shown in later images crying. ”

      How is this “ignoring”?

      As of more authoritative:

      “On a related note, one of these images, rightly, won a World Press Photo award this year. I’m pretty sure that the judges would have cottoned on to any wrong doings from the photographer.”

      And here are these pictures (by another progotographer – a Polish one, but of the same event – the bombing of Gori):

      http://www.worldpressphoto.org/index.php?option=com_photogallery&task=view&id=1411&Itemid=223&type=&selectedIndex=0&bandwidth=high

      Some of the people on these photos (the same people) are even named. Still “:))”?

      Btw, Russian tactical missile attack on Gori soon resulted in several casualties among these journalists – killed a Dutch one, seriously injured an Israeli, etc. I guess they – the foreign media conspiracy – faked even this, eh?

      @failed to explain how come most of the media headlines are about Georgia starting the war.

      I did already – jouranlists/editors are really stupid.

      • The dead body held by his brother (Zaza) was of Zviadi Rasmadze, he was 33 years old.

        Here a closup of their faces in the award-winning set by the Dziennik journalist:

        http://www.worldpressphoto.org/index.php?option=com_photogallery&task=view&id=1411&Itemid=223&type=&selectedIndex=6&bandwidth=high

        Are you still “:))”?

        As of the Russian justifications,

        EU INQUIRY REJECTS RUSSIA’S JUSTIFICATIONS FOR GEORGIA WAR
        By Svante E. Cornell (09/30/2009 issue of the CACI Analyst)

        The main thrust of the report is devastating in its dismissal of Russia’s justification for its invasion – in fact surprisingly so for an EU product. As will be recalled, Russia variously claimed it was protecting its citizens; engaging in a humanitarian intervention; responding to a Georgian “genocide” of Ossetians; or responding to an attack on its peacekeepers. The mission roundly dismisses all of these claims.

        The EU report finds that Russia’s distribution of passports to Abkhazians and Ossetians in the years prior to the war was illegal. Specifically, para. 12 states that “the vast majority of purportedly naturalised persons from South Ossetia and Abkhazia are not Russian nationals in terms of international law. Neither Georgia nor any third country need acknowledge such Russian nationality”, adding that “the mass conferral of Russian citizenship to Georgian nationals … constitutes an open challenge to Georgian sovereignty and an interference in the internal affairs of Georgia.” Consequently, the report finds that Russia’s rationale of rescuing its citizens is invalid, since they simply were not legally Russian citizens.

        The report also rejects Russia’s claim of having undertaken an humanitarian intervention. Taking note of the extremely limited circumstances under which such interventions may be legally acceptable, it recalls Russia’s consistent opposition to the entire concept of humanitarian intervention, and reaches a blunt conclusion: “In such a constellation, a humanitarian intervention is not recognised at all.” (para. 22)

        The list goes on. The reports summarily dismisses Russian allegations of genocide, noting that these were “neither founded in law nor substantiated by factual evidence.” On the other hand, it faults Russia for failing to intervene against the ethnic cleansing of Georgians from South Ossetia and Abkhazia that took place during and after the war.

        The report does acknowledge a Russian right to protect its peacekeepers in South Ossetia, a conclusion that could be questioned given the established presence of other Russian-controlled armed forces on Georgian territory at the time. Of course, had Georgia not bent to pressure from its Western allies and followed through on its intention to declare the peacekeeping forces illegal in June 2008, this argument would have been moot. Nevertheless, the mission concludes that “much of the Russian military action went far beyond the reasonable limits of defence.” (para. 21) in particular, the report notes the unprovoked opening of a second front in Abkhazia, terming it “an armed attack against Georgia in the sense of Article 51 of the UN Charter.” However, the report fails to discuss whether this attack was premeditated, as is widely assumed given the speed with which it occurred, or constituted a reaction to the events in South Ossetia. Nevertheless, Tagliavini again uses blunt terms: Russia’s response “cannot be regarded as even remotely commensurate with the threat to Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia.”

    • “Russia is only to blame for allowing Ossetians to run free and take their revenge”

      As a result of military action, Russia was in control of this territory. Controlling or occupying a territory goes with a certain responsibility: to make sure that the civilian population on this territory is safe and is certainly not subjected to acts of genocide. Or to put in the words the Neurenberg Tribunal put against the German general List on trial for what happened in the territories under his responsibilities:

      “A commanding general of occupied territory is charged with the duty of maintaining peace and order, punishing crime, and protecting lives and property within the area of his command. His responsibility is coextensive with his area of command. He is charged with notice of occurrences taking place within that territory…dereliction of duty rests upon him….”

      So, one could easily conclude that letting loose a militia and not stopping them when they are commiting ethnic cleansing is a war crime. For when the “Neurenberg” trial of the Russian military commanders?

  21. Sergey Shelukhin

    Oh, and the especially funny one: allegedly (but unconfirmed), Russian peacekeepers fired first when Georgian troops were rolling into shelled Tskhinvali.

    So even if (even if!) it was so: what should you do if you are peacekeeping the city controlled by one side of a conflict, and the other side moves its army in and shells it?

    • You don’t know much about international law regarding peacekeeping, don’t you? Well, they can do nothing but observe. Unless they were attacked, only then they allowed to return fire.

      They’re not there to take sides, and if they do they’re not peacekeepers but an active participant in the conflict (“peacemakers”, if you want).

      • Btw, the Georgian battalion also took active part in the conflict. But at least Georgians did not call them “peacemakers” once the hot war started.

        And actually it was already separate from the Russian-Ossetian battalions:

        On 18 July 2006 Georgia’s Parliament adopted a resolution terminating the peacekeeping
        operations underway in the Georgian-Ossetian and Georgian-Abkhaz conflict areas and
        mandating the withdrawal of the Russian peacekeeping units from the respective conflict
        areas. In practice, this resolution resulted in the Georgian battalion’s withdrawal from the
        JPKF and the relevant JPKF Command structures. The Georgian Ministry of Defence was
        tasked to exercise command and control of the Georgian peacekeepers.

        Also, I’ll just post you the TOC for the false justifications for the “second front” in Abkhazia (which is often completely overlooked – for many, it’s even “South Ossetia War”!):

        IV. No justification of the Abkhaz and Russian use of force against Georgia 291
        1. Argumentation by Abkhazia and Russia 291
        2. No previous “armed attack” by Georgia 293
        a) No Georgian military operation in the Kodori Valley by Georgia 293
        b) No preceding terrorist attacks sponsored by Georgia 293
        c) No imminent armed attack on Abkhazia as a whole by Georgia 293
        3. Military support by Abkhazia for South Ossetia 294
        4. Conclusion

        It’s even titled: ” No justification”. Totally unprovoked, illegal aggression – that’s for sure. Also, more Russian (and Abkhaz) lies.

        4. Conclusion
        The use of force by Abkhazia was not justified under international law and was thus illegal.
        The same applies to the Russian support for Abkhaz use of force.

        • And against the OTHER attacks against peacekeepers – before the Georgian offensive.

          Yes, many people (you too?) also think there were only Russian peacekeepers – forgetting the Georgian ones, who were already a target of provocative agression by the Ossetians for days:

          b) South Ossetian attacks on the Georgian peacekeepers and police as an “armed
          attack”

          The South Ossetian attacks on the villages were primarily directed against Georgian
          peacekeepers59 and against Georgian police.60 This constitutes an attack by the armed forces of
          South Ossetia on the land forces of Georgia, as also described in Art. 3 (d) UN Resolution
          3314.61

          According to the findings of the Mission, the acts preceding the outbreak of the hostilities led
          to several fatalities on both sides. They not only involved de facto border guards, but also the
          inhabitants of the villages that were attacked. From 6 August on, continuous heavy fighting
          took place. As explained in the section on International Humanitarian Law, the firing caused
          many civilians to leave their villages.65

          The Mission does not have evidence that Russian peacekeepers acted directly against their
          mandate, e.g. by directly attacking Georgian peacekeepers, Georgian police or Georgian
          villages. Such attacks were rather initiated by the South Ossetian militia.

  22. Russia has no moral right to host next olympic games! Winter olympic games in Sochi 2014 must be revoked or at least boycotted!

    http://www.petitiononline.com/norussia/petition-sign.html

  23. One final link:

    ‘Levan Aleksidze – Tagliavini’s Report is Profitable for Georgia, though Factual Materials Don’t Coincide with Final Conclusion’

    http://www.geotimes.ge/index.php?m=home&newsid=18568

    Expert of international law Levan Aleksidze assesses that report of Tagliavini’s mission is profitable for Georgia. As InterpressNews was informed by Aleksidze, despite the mission had learned many facts, some conclusions are drawn by international policy conjecture. 
    He says that as specialist of international law, he bows before Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, who had to work under unseen pressure from Russia. He says that Tagliavini was extremely neutral diplomat while heading EU mission, though she managed to prepare profitable report for Georgia. 
    Aleksidze explains that he still has pretenses to Tagliavini’s mission, as factual materials in the report don’t coincide with the final conclusion. 
    ‘The mission accused Russia in issuing passports in Abkhazia and so called South Ossetia, open support to the regions before august war and didn’t affirm genocide of Ossetian population, though mission was not consecutive as it used the existent political conjecture of the today’s world. The mission could have been more critical towards aggressor country, that carried out ethnic cleansing, by depicting it in the report’, – Aleksidze considers. 
    Aleksidze is surprised by the statement of Georgian politicians, accusing government of Georgia in August events. 
    ‘It is not important who shot first, but the one who shot first was driven by Russia into a corner and was about to suffocate it. The war was inevitable. If we had not fought war with Russia, their tanks would be in Tbilisi in two hours and the country would lose independence’, – Levan Aleksidze stated.

  24. The people defending the Rusian standpoint here still didn’t answer one big question. Let’s assume the claim is right that they were protecting South Ossetia from an illegal attack, and let’s assume that that protection was impossible without crossing the border of South Ossetia and sending troops into Georgia proper. Let’s even assume this would all be under the mandate of the former cease fire agreements. But what is the justification of sending troops into Abkhasia – where there was no violence, attacking Georgia from Abkhasian territory – again when there was no provocation or even immediate threat from Georgia and attacking Georgia from the sea, where there are no South Ossetians are living, no Russian peacekeepers threatend at the Georgian coast. THis went well beyond any possible mandate and any possible justification. This was an act of pure aggression, lackin any legal or moral grounds.

    • I wonder how the kremlin spin-doctors rationalizad their invasion of Abkhasia ? I keep seeing articles about the South Ossetians.

      • As I cited already:

        The Abkhaz leadership gave, however, four different explanations in an
        attempt to justify its military operation. Abkhazia claimed that the military operation was
        launched “to liberate the Kodori Valley” and also that it had to be carried out to abort
        terrorist attacks against the civilian population. It further claimed the Abkhaz operation
        was necessary to pre-empt an imminent military operation by Georgia against Abkhazia,
        and finally Abkhazia deemed itself obliged to open a “second front” in accordance with its
        Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation with South Ossetia of 19 September 2005.
        However, none of these explanations can be considered as substantiated in fact or as
        legally valid. Hence the use of force by Abkhazia was not justified under international law.
        The same applies for the Russian support of these actions.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s