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'There Is no Way to Peace; Peace Is the Way' - An Appeal to the Georgian Nation

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Endless Hatred

  Aleko Tskitishvili

On December2, everybody hoped the one-month epopeeof the adults kidnapped from Tirdznisi village will end in happy-end but decision of Ossetian separatists showed we have to wait for the happy-end for more ten days. However, we can speak about the conditional end because release of the children does not mean hatred has disappeared and nobody will be kidnapped in future.


Lately, we found out that Georgian law enforcement bodies really have ethnic Ossetian detainees arrested in a very vague situation; Ossetian separatists categorically demanded Georgian side to release them. Finally, “generosity” of the government of Georgia resulted into the release of two children. Human Rights Commissionaire of the Council of Europe Thomas Hammarberg took the released Ossetian detainees – Ibragim Laliev (born in 1974), Lavrenti Kaziev (born in 1974), Iakob Tekhov (born 1941), Pavlic Tekhov (born in 1958) and Vladimer Eloev (born in 1978) to Tskhinvali. Tskhinvali de-facto authority demanded their release but Georgian governmental officials used to deny their existence in Georgian detention settings until now.

Head of Shida Kartli regional police department Vladimer Jugheli reported to the Georgian news agency “Pirveli” that released Ossetian people were detained after the war of August, 2008 for various crimes. “We expressed kind will to release them. I mean, we did not exchange hostages but Georgian side acted generously.”

In reply to this “generosity”, Tskhinvali de-facto court released two of four children (under one-year suspended sentence) – 14-year-old Giorgi Romelashvili and Aleko Sabadze. Older boys – 16-year-old Viktor Buchukuri and 17-year-old Levan Khmiadashvili are sentenced to one-year imprisonment in the prison of compulsory labor. European Human Rights Commissionaire Thomas Hammarberg took the released children to the territory under Georgian authority.


Tskhinvali de-facto government promised the commissionaire to release other two children within 10 days.

Thomas Hammarberg’s merit in these negotiations was tremendous. For his deed, spokesperson of the president of Georgia announced Saakashvili is very grateful to Hammarberg. Spokesperson Manana Manjgaladze said Mikheil Saakashvili thinks the release of the two children is result of the oppression of international community on Tskhinvali de-facto authority for what he is grateful to the head of EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia Hansjorg Haber and Human Rights Commissionaire of the Council of Europe Thomas Hammarberg.

It is difficult to say how sincere the president is in his words because several days ago, member of the National Movement and head of Parliamentary Committee of Foreign Relations Akaki Minashvili blamed Hammarberg in “having some relation with Russia” and inactivity.  According to the news agency “Inetrpressnews”, on November 20, Minashvili stated at the plenary session that reaction of international organizations is urgently important for the resolution of the problem of the kidnapped children. Human Rights Commissionaire of the CoE Thomas Hammarberg is inactive and it raises many questions. He said Hammarberg is particularly inactive when the problem deals with Russia and does not make radical statements.

“Inactivity of the commissionaire seriously discredits the Council of Europe. Questions are raised about the impartiality of these people. He avoids sharp statements when the problem deals with Russia. Nobody shall be surprised if we have suspicions about his close relation with Russia,” said Minashvili.

Davit Bakradze, chairperson of the parliament of Georgia, responded to the statement of Minashvili at the plenary session and underlined that the issue is very urgent and kidnapping of adults is kind of test for the international organization. Bakradze added Georgian MPs do not oppose the CoE but it is clear that if they want to be trusted, they should do their utmost.

Apparently, the government of Georgia does not trust the CoE. Nevertheless, after Hammarberg took five Ossetian people to Tskhinvali, the Council of Europe will definitely lose confidence in the government of Georgia. Human Rights Commissionaire of the CoE was almost declared to be a spy of Russia. Later it was cleared up that several Ossetian people were really kept in the prison and not only the fate of the children from Tidznisi village depended on their release, but it could also neutralize the hatred resulted from the war.

Society does not know why Georgian police detained those people? What crime they were charged for? When and how they were arrested? Whether they enjoyed their right to defense? Whether the trial was carried out or did they spend such a long time in the custody without court hearing? Who else are detained and what conditions are they in?

Ministry of Internal Affairs does not answer these questions and denied the existence of Ossetian detainees for a long time before Council of Europe involved the situation and finally they found out there were some prisoners somewhere in the dungeon.

Details of the detention of the children from Tirdznisi village are very vague as well. Parties spread controversial information about the detention. According to one of the versions, boys went fishing and had explosives with them. It is another point that fishing with explosives is prohibited by Georgian law; but if they really had explosives, it means separatists really had reason to detain them.

To tell the truth, it is difficult to believe information spread by various sources. Very often such information is influenced by political situation – they are too official and express position of the governmental structures. Part of the information is very critical and is influenced by opposition parties. No media source has carried out impartial journalistic investigation yet. Furthermore, leading national TV-companies avoided releasing the information about released 5 Ossetian detainees. Furthermore, it should not have been less resonant information for democratic society.

As it is demonstrated by recent events, further relation between the government of Georgia and separatists will rely on permanent exchange of hostages and hatred; year-long hostility will not end soon.

4 Dec. '09