CoE Committee of Ministers Decision on Conflict in Georgia

In its May 4 decision on the conflict in Georgia, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE) reiterated that Russia “continues to impede the peaceful conflict resolution process and to undermine the security and stability in the wider region.” 

In this context, the Committee highlighted Russia’s continuing military presence in occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia, “increased military exercises and infrastructure reinforcements” as well as the implementation of deals with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali on alliance or integration.

The said deals include Moscow’s 2020 program on “common social and economic space” and the 2021 dual citizenship agreement with the Tskhinvali Region, the CoE decision pointed out. 

The Committee asserted that none of the “illegal acts by the Russian Federation aimed at changing the status of the Georgian regions” have any legal effect. 

The decision also denounced as illegitimate the recent “presidential elections” of Tskhinvali and “parliamentary polls” of Abkhazia.

Besides, the Deputy Ministers expressed concern over the discrimination of ethnic Georgians, “obliteration and alteration” of Georgian monuments and deteriorating human rights situation in both occupied regions.

The decision also voiced grave concern about continuing arbitrary detentions of Georgian citizens, particularly the cases of Irakli Bebua, a Gali Georgian whose “health condition is severe,” and Genadi Bestaev, a Georgian citizen who died shortly following transfer to Tbilisi after suffering a stroke in Tskhinvali custody.

The CoE Deputy Ministers urged Russia to comply with the 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, including by withdrawing its military and security forces, and to uphold the European Court of Human rights judgment in the Georgia v. Russia case.

The decision also called on Russia for the immediate release of arbitrary detainees in the occupied regions, to remove any impediments to freedom of movement across the dividing lines, and remove any obstacles to ending impunity in cases concerning the murder of ethnic Georgians in the regions. 

It also urged Russia to cease “ethnic discriminatory measures against the Georgian population of the Gali and Akhalgori districts, including demands to register as foreign residents or to change their surnames in order to be granted access to full civil rights.”

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