The Monitoring Committee condemns the outbreak of the war
between Georgia and Russia, two member states of the Council of
Europe, and deplores the human suffering caused by it. During the
war and in its aftermath, international law principles, the Statute
of the Council of Europe and accession commitments undertaken by
both states have been violated.
In the view of the committee, the outbreak of the war on 7
August 2008 was the result of a serious escalation of tensions,
with provocations and ensuing deterioration in the security situation,
which had started much earlier. Truth is a prerequisite for reconciliation.
Since the facts surrounding the outbreak of the war are disputed
by both Georgia and Russia, they should be established, in an objective
manner, by an independent international investigation.
The report condemns the recognition by Russia of the independence
of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as a violation of international law
and Council of Europe statutory principles. In addition, the act
of recognition and the subsequent signing by Russia of friendship
and co-operation treaties with the de
facto authorities in Tskhinvali and Sukhumi hinder the
effective deployment of humanitarian aid. The committee reaffirms
its attachment to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia
and calls upon Russia to withdraw its act of recognition.
Human rights and humanitarian law violations committed in
the course of the war by both sides are an issue of concern. The
committee is 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.
Dialogue is the best way forward for the solution of any conflict
and for fostering stability in the long-term. But it requires political
will on both sides and cannot be pursued in isolation of concrete
actions. Some basic conditions for the dialogue have to be established
and observed. Full implementation of the peace plan, including withdrawal
of the Russian troops to positions ex
ante the conflict, is essential. In addition, full deployment
of EU and OSCE monitors into South Ossetia and withdrawal by Russia
of the recognition of independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia,
would be minimum conditions for a meaningful dialogue.