2008 War Anniversary: UN Security Council Reiterates Support for Georgia

In a joint statement marking 14 years since the Russo-Georgian War of August 2008, current and incoming United Nations Security Council Members reaffirmed support for “Georgia’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.”

The statement was delivered after Security Council members met to discuss the situation in Georgia under “any other business” (AOB) on 15 August. Albania, France, Ireland, Norway, the UK, and the U.S. requested the meeting to mark the anniversary. Incoming Council members Malta and Japan were also present.

The group emphasized that the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008 “marked a more aggressive trend in Russia’s policy regarding its neighboring countries and European security architecture.” “As we are witnessing in Ukraine today, Russia has continued down this path,” they added.

“We deplore the continuous, blatant violation of the territorial integrity of Georgia by the Russian Federation,” the group stated and expressed condemnations over Russia’s “illegal” invasion and “continued military presence and exercising of control over Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, integral parts of Georgia, and its steps towards the annexation of these Georgian regions.”

The group rebuked Russia’s “unprovoked and unjustified war against Ukraine” and its continued presence in Georgia’s occupied regions, as well as the borderization process, unlawful detentions and kidnapping of citizens, restrictions on freedom of movement, and lengthy closures of crossing points, discrimination against ethnic Georgians, and prohibiting residents from learning in their native Georgian.

“We recall with regret, the uninvestigated murders of Georgian citizens Davit Basharuli, Giga Otkhozoria, and Archil Tatunashvili, whose perpetrators have not yet been brought to justice and held accountable,” the group added.

The statement brought attention to the 21 January 2021 decision of the European Court of Human Rights and the International Criminal Court’s June 2022 determination to issue arrest warrants for war crimes committed during Russia’s invasion in 2008.

The Council members expressed worry that no international human rights monitoring mechanisms have been granted “unrestricted access” to the occupied regions for several years and called for “immediate, unhindered access to be granted to the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights and other international and regional human rights mechanisms as well as to the European Union’s Monitoring Mission.”

“The conditions for a safe, voluntary, dignified, and unhindered return of internally displaced people and refugees must be created,” they urged.

The group affirmed its commitment to the Geneva International Discussions (GID) and support for the continued meetings of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) to address the implementation of the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and other issues.

They highlighted the need for a “peaceful resolution” of the conflict in line with international law, the UN Charter, and the Helsinki Final Act “especially in the context of Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine.”

Finally, they called on Russia to fulfill its obligations under the 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, withdraw its forces from Georgia, reverse its recognition of the occupied territories, and not impede the creation of an international security mechanism.

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