T. Shamba, A. Neproshin
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Legal basis of statehood and sovereignty
Chapter 3. Legal basis of statehood
3.5. Georgian aggression and attempted annexation of Abkhazia
Underlying the Abkhazian-Georgian conflict, unsettled problems regarding the sovereignty of Abkhazia not only resulted in 1992-1993 in military expansion, but also in the subsequent unextinguished process of Georgian military escalation and tension in the region. UNOMIG is powerless to solve the problem because of the unwillingness of the United Nations to completely unravel the tightened knot. The problem has thousand-year-old roots though it has ripened throughout the last century - and all this time has been fostered by powerful mini-imperialistic ambitions of Georgian politicians encouraged morally (and materially!) by the world community, at the heart of which is the basic slogan – “the political status of Abkhazia must be defined considering Abkhazia as a part of Georgia”. Thus, they have tried and are trying to impose upon the people of Abkhazia an absolutely unacceptable form of coexistence with Georgians, forgetting that the policy of such a dictatorship, which began more than 100 years ago, has not brought anything to the Abkhazian people except genocide.
In 1992 the parliament of Abkhazia made the decision to restore the sovereignty of the country. Thereby, the Georgian annexation which had begun in 1918 was stopped de jure. Then it was stopped de facto as the Abkhazian government completely took control in all territory of the country.
The State Council of Georgia set a task for their military formations - the repeated annexation of Abkhazia and the physical destruction of Abkhazians, for the realisation of a numerical superiority of the Georgian component of the population in the country, with the subsequent abolition of an administrative unit of Georgia (autonomous Abkhazia). The military action (war) was prepared with the assistance of military-political strategists and carried the symbolic name “Sword”. At the beginning, ideological diversions were created, with the artificial kindling of national dissension. (During this period the countries had not yet been divided by state frontiers according to their choice of ways of development).
As T.Achugba notes in his work “To a substantiation of the state independence of Abkhazia” (2002), in Abkhazia, immediately after a referendum, educational institutions, enterprises, creative unions, sports teams and even the Ministry of Internal Affairs began to be divided by nationality at the initiative of Georgia. Two Offices of Public Prosecutor were created, then two parliaments, and eventually two governments of Abkhazia. The government of Georgia started the creation of illegal Georgian armed formations in the territory of Abkhazia, involving the Georgian diaspora of Abkhazia in their numbers.
On August 14th, 1992 the invasion of the Georgian army began, which had the aim of liquidating the statehood of Abkhazia and depriving its people of political independence. Georgia made an armed attack upon Abkhazia. The army of occupation pulled down cities, towns and other settlements, and destroyed the cultural values of the nation. The army included thousands of criminals who had been let out of jail especially for this purpose. They deliberately burnt the Central state archive of Abkhazia, which was the unique scientific research institute for Abkhazian studies, cruelly treated prisoners of war and wounded men, killed and raped civilians, and plundered and looted public and private property. The Georgian military-political authorities were guided by the principle “Abkhazia - without Abkhazians”, which was officially confirmed on television by the commander-in-chief of the occupation army, Colonel G.Karkarashvili, on August 25th, 1992.
In the massacre of Abkhazians, including children, women and old men, the most active participants were the Georgian population of Abkhazia, especially inhabitants who were immigrants from the Stalin epoch. As a result of ethnic cleansing in the occupied part of Abkhazia, including Ochamchira, Sukhum and Gagra, practically none of the Abkhazian population remained. For example, according to the Office of the Public Prosecutor of Abkhazia, out of seven thousand Abkhazians living in Ochamchira, more than 400 were compelled to register as Georgians, hundreds were killed, and the others were forced to seek safety in flight.
The Georgian invaders conducted their main attack across East Abkhazia. Under instructions from the Georgian government, in this region they surrounded and isolated all exclusively Abkhazian settlements from the external world, including Tquarchel. Having been saved from genocide, Abkhazians and representatives of other nationalities from Sukhum, Gagra and other settlements of the republic came to Bzyb Abkhazia, and were clamped within an enemy ring and torn off from the external world, conducting an unequal fight with invaders, the same as in East Abkhazia. Thus, at the end of the XX century the Georgian nationalists, in the eyes of all the civilised world, carried out a deliberate systematic destruction of the Abkhazian people, which according to the already mentioned Convention of the General Assembly of the United Nations from December 9th, 1948 is qualified as genocide.
Once started, the war was directed towards the physical destruction of the Abkhazian ethnos, and simultaneously of other nationalities in the country: Armenians, Greeks, Jews and Russians. The Georgian special services struck their names from lists of tenants against their will, took written obligations that they would never return to Abkhazia, forced them to hand over keys from dwellings with all their furniture and belongings, and deported them under guard. Members of these gangster formations diligently carried out a change of the ethno-demographic structure of the country defined by the State Council of Georgia, but did not forget about themselves, raping youngsters and pregnant women, marauding, plundering, looting, and pulling out the teeth of old men and women to extract their gold crowns...
War against the civilian population and the peoples’ volunteer corps (as Abkhazia at that time had no army) was conducted with extreme cruelty. Georgia used the most advanced weapons, which it had inherited from the USSR, against the civilian people of Abkhazia: the systems of mass destruction “GRAD” and “URAGAN”, the volumed (needle-shaped) shells, the use of which was forbidden by the Geneva Convention of 1949. The aggressor purposely and methodically destroyed the Abkhazian population of Abzhui Abkhazia, who comprised almost half of all Abkhazian people. During operations a number of the Abkhazian settlements were wiped off the face of the earth. In documents of the command of the 24th brigade of the Georgian army, taken by soldiers of the Abkhazian army as a trophy, the plan for a massed nuclear attack on December 26th, 1992 with 34 targets, including settlements in East Abkhazia, was discovered.
It is difficult for a normal person to imagine, at the end of the XX century, that a nation which is proud of its civilisation and nobleness, could raise its weapons against a tiny ethnos only because it had demanded the restoration of its trampled rights, i.e. against a people who at that stage only wished to gain independence and realise the natural rights given to them by God. But in Tbilisi they probably considered themselves above God. These “inhabitants of Heaven” usurped the right of the people of Abkhazia to a definition of their destiny. At their own discretion, and up to the destruction of Abkhazia, they tried to repeat what they had not had time to finish during their occupation of the country in 1918-1921.
Georgian mass-media covered the Georgian-Abkhazian war deceitfully. For Abkhazians, the war began with the absolutely unexpected invasion of the Georgian army. From the first hours this was accompanied by the cruel murder of civilians and by continuous looting. Georgian interpretations of the war always begin with its final phase – the hurried escape of the Georgians. The armed opposition to them which continued for more than a year is dismissed in half a line, approximately in the following form - “blood-thirsty Abkhazian rebels expelled innocent Georgians from their houses”. And never a word about what preceded their expulsion. The circumstances which induced Abkhazians to take up arms, and the main reason for the expulsion of Georgians, are in every possible way ignored or misinterpreted.
Shamefully expelled in 2004, E.Shevardnadze only once gave any actual facts about the beginning of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict and Georgian military expansion into Abkhazia. This occurred in November 1993 in A.Karaulov's telecast “the Moment of Truth”. From his words it appeared thus: Shevardnadze and Ardzinba during a telephone conversation on August 12th, 1992 agreed to carry out joint actions for the protection of trains regularly plundered on the line between Ochamchira and Samtredia railway stations. That very day Shevardnadze ordered Minister of Defence Kitovani to go to Sukhum and there, having met with Ardzinba, to specify details of the actions planned by them. Exceeding his powers, Kitovani under his own initiative entered divisions of the Georgian armed forces into the territory of Abkhazia on August 14th, which began to move towards its capital Sukhum.
The Georgian population of Abkhazia in considerable numbers supported the Georgian national guards occupying the republic, took an active part in the operations, and in every possible way supported the advancement of the Georgian military units. The hands of many Georgians, living in Abkhazia, were soiled by blood. They participated in the plunder of national treasures, destruction of historical monuments, looting of Abkhazian dwellings, robberies and murders of Abkhazians and other excesses. All this occurred assuming that Abkhazians as a nation would be eradicated and would disappear as a nationality, and the people who left the country would never return. They were convinced of this by propaganda from the Georgian government, and were assured by President E.Shevardnadze personally. The most tragic part of this war was that the Georgian population of Abkhazia, not wishing to take part in a war, was systematically involved in it by the Georgian authorities, and so the war became a civil war. Behind the actions of these people there was a confidence in their impunity, guaranteed by the government of Georgia.
Abkhazians, peacefully living on their land, were very severely treated. The Georgian government, having considered that active armed forces were insufficient for the destruction of Abkhazians, also armed the local Georgian population. This was confirmed in an interview with the head of the Georgian parliament. The obvious question is who armed all the Georgian population, which was several times greater than the number of Abkhazians, and why was this done? After all, until August 14th, 1992 – the day of invasion by the Georgian army – Abkhazia did not undertake any aggressive actions against them. The question answers itself: they were armed for only one purpose - to kill Abkhazians.
Apparently, by giving out the weapons, leaders of the Georgian state decided that Georgians living in Abkhazia had more rights to live than local Abkhazian inhabitants. Otherwise, what was the reason to arm only one section of the people in the community? Weapons, as is known, have two missions - they can protect and they can kill. Nothing threatened the Georgian population of Abkhazia, behind its back there was the Georgian army which had invaded the country, but there was nobody to be protected from. Hence, they was armed to kill. And who to kill in Abkhazia if not Abkhazians?
With the victory of the Abkhazian people in this war, many Georgian settlers, being afraid of revenge for their own evil deeds or those of their compatriots, left the country, taking with them both their own and stolen property. Georgians whose hands and conscience were clean remained to live in Abkhazia, and in relation to them there are no elements of reprisals that are reflected in OSCE documents. The only commission on this question sent to Abkhazia by the United Nations Organization did not confirm the presence of persecutions (5/26795 on November 17th, 1993). It is necessary to underline that before the attack by Georgia on Abkhazia in 1992, throughout all historical periods there was no oppression by Abkhazians of other nationalities within the country, but it is impossible to say the same about the actions of the Georgian government in Abkhazia from 1918 to 1991. The eviction of Greeks from Abkhazia after the Second World War should not be considered in this respect, as the authorship and realisation of this process belonged to both Stalin and Beria, and Abkhazians only by a lucky chance escaped the same fate.
No action has damaged the prestige of peace-making activities of the United Nations in the 1990s more than its unwillingness to distinguish a victim from an aggressor. This was directly declared by Kofi Annan in his report at the 55th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. Unsolved by international organisations, primarily the United Nations, the basic problem relates to definitions of the originator of aggression, its punishment, elimination of the consequences of aggression and acceptance of measures for their prevention, and the prevention of further escalation and aggression by an aggressor (e.g. Georgia). This situation leads to subsequent provocations and creates favorable conditions for the next act of aggression, and this statement is not merely words. After all, it is known that punishment for illegal actions is given not only because such actions were committed, but also to prevent their being repeated (punitur non quia peccatur, sed ne peccatur). Silence is a sign of consent to further offences (qui tacet consentire videtur), and is used by revanchist Georgia.
We see and feel today the breath of war in Transcaucasia, provoked by both the former and the present head of Georgia with the connivance and direct assistance of the United Nations which has not revealed, defined nor eliminated the reasons generating this escalation. But nothing contradicts consent as much as violence and threat (nigil consensui tam contrarium est, quam vis atque metus).
The attempt by the Georgian government to represent the war of 1992-1993 as aggression by Abkhazia against Georgia is absolutely groundless, and with what follows from United Nations documents, this international organisation also agrees because:
a) armies of the Georgian National Guard, and not Abkhazians, started war against the civilian population of Abkhazia, though the international organisation keeps silent about this;
b) war began under a far-fetched pretext, and the true reason was the session of the Supreme Soviet of the АССР planned for August 14th, 1992, concerning the statehood of Abkhazia in connection with the exit of Georgia from the structure of the USSR;
c) Georgian interventionists, and not Abkhazians, invaded another's land to impose their will by means of the methods peculiar to fascists of all times: killing, and the destroying of all the rebellious and innocent. The United Nations has not said anything about the circumstances for the occurrence of the international conflict known as the war in Transcaucasia.
Knowing these three factors, it was easy to establish the true aggressor - Georgia, which attacked a peaceful sovereign country - but this has also not been done;
d) even the fact that the war started by the Georgian aggressors was conducted in the territory of Abkhazia, where the people of the country lost their sons who were protecting their native country, culture, land, and their right to live on it outside of the Georgian yoke, has not persuaded officials from the United Nations that these actions directly classify Georgia in this conflict as an aggressor. Aggression is a crime which, according to the status of the International court, arrives under its jurisdiction, as does genocide which the International convention defined on December 9th, 1948 as: “actions made with the intention to destroy in full or in part any national, ethnic, racial or other religious group by: murder of members of such a group, causing of serious physical injuries... premeditated creation for any group of such living conditions as are calculated to result in its full or partial physical destruction etc.”.
Once again the United Nations, the international organisation created for the purpose of prevention of wars and aggressions, became the protector of an aggressor which had managed to get the support of reactionary forces, being representatives of those countries who were interested in the destruction of the administrative state structures of the USSR, primarily in the Caucasus. That Abkhazia could remain as a part of the USSR or even in the form of an independent state, did not suit the United Nations and its rich sponsors in any way.
Shamba T., Neproshin А. Abkhazia: Legal basis of statehood and sovereignty. М: Open Company "In-Oktavo", 2005, 240 pages.
Абхазы - (самоназвание апсуа) автохтонное население Кавказа.
Абхазия (краткая историческая справка).
Исторические лица Абхазии (биографический справочник).
Редактор Вячеслав Румянцев
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