Ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia

Ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia

The Ethnic Cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia, [ Budapest Declaration and Geneva Declaration on Ethnic Cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia between 1992-1993 adopted by the OSCE and recognized as ethnic cleansing in 1994 and 1999 ] [ The Human Rights Field Operation: Law, Theory and Practice, Abkhazia Case, Michael O'Flaherty ] [The Politics of Religion in Russia and the New States of Eurasia, Michael Bourdeaux, p. 237 ] [Managing Conflict in the Former Soviet Union: Russian and American Perspectives,Alekseĭ Georgievich Arbatov, p. 388 ] [On Ruins of Empire: Ethnicity and Nationalism in the Former Soviet Union Georgiy I. Mirsky, p. 72 ] [ [http://www.nationsencyclopedia.com/Europe/Georgia-HISTORY.html Georgia - History] ] also known as Genocide of Georgians in Abkhazia (according to the Georgian side and by a number of western scholars) [Human Rights Watch World Report 1997, Human Rights Watch (Organization), Human Rights Watch Staff, p. 220 ] [Federalism and Decentralization: Perspectives for the Transformation Process in Eastern and Central Europe, Jürgen Rose Johannes Ch Traut, the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies write on p 352 ] [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20070607163702/http://abkhazeti.ru/pages/main/warabkhazia.html Геноцид грузинского населения Абхазии] ] [cite news |title=Georgia's U.N. ambassador accuses Russia of genocide in Abkhazia |url=http://newsfromrussia.com/world/2006/02/02/72217.html |work=Pravda |date=February 2, 2006 |archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20060209001850/http://newsfromrussia.com/world/2006/02/02/72217.html |archivedate=2006-02-09] (Lang-ka|ქართველთა გენოციდი აფხაზეთში) or the Massacres of Georgians in Abkhazia [Chervonnaia, Svetlana Mikhailovna. "Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia, and the Russian Shadow." Gothic Image Publications, 1994.] [Small Nations and Great Powers: A Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict in the Soviet Union, Svante E. Cornell ] — refers to ethnic cleansing, [ Human Rights Watch Helsinki, Vol 7, No 7, March 1995, p 230 ] massacres [Crossroads and Conflict: Security and Foreign Policy in the Caucasus and Central Asia, Gary K. Bertsch, Page 161 ] and forced mass expulsion of thousands of ethnic Georgians living in Abkhazia (de jure Autonomous Republic of Georgia) during the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict of 1992-1993 and 1998 at the hands of Abkhaz separatists and their allies (possibly, including volunteers from Russia). [Cornell Svante. Autonomy and Conflict: Ethnoterritoriality and Separatism in South Caucasus-Cases in Georgia, p 181] [Georgiy Mirsky. On Ruins of Empire: Ethnicity and Nationalism in the Former Soviet Union, (United States: Greenwood Press 1997), p 73] [Goltz Thomas. Georgia Diary: A Chronicle of War and Political Chaos in the Post-Soviet (United States: M.E. Sharpe 2006), p 133 ] [Chervonnaia Svetlana. Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia, and the Russian Shadow, p 59 ] [On Ruins of Empire: Ethnicity and Nationalism in the Former Soviet Union Georgiy I. Mirsky, p. 72 ] Some Armenians, Greeks, Russians and moderate Abkhaz were also killed.Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia, and the Russian Shadow by S. A. Chervonnaia and Svetlana Mikhailovna Chervonnaia, pp 12-13 ] Roughly 200,000 to 250,000 Georgian civilians became Internally displaced persons (IDPs). [http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?l=1&id=4377 Abkhazia Today.] "The International Crisis Group". "Europe Report N°176 – 15 September 2006", page 23. "Free registration needed to view full report"] The number of Georgian civilians killed in the war cannot be accurately known, however, it ranges from 8,000 to 10,000 people, not including the civilians who were killed in 1998 during the separatist onslaught on Gali region.Chervonnaia, Svetlana Mikhailovna. "Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia, and the Russian Shadow.", p 10 ] [Caucaz EuroNews: UN investigator raps Abkhazia over Georgia refugees, [http://www.caucaz.com/home_eng/depeches.php?idp=500] ]

The ethnic cleansing and massacres of Georgians has been officially recognized by the OSCE conventions in 1994, 1996 and again in 1997 during the Budapest, Lisbon and Istanbul summits and condemned the “"perpetrators of war crimes committed during the conflict".” [ [http://www.osce.org/documents/mcs/1994/12/4048_en.pdf Resolution of the OSCE Budapest Summit] , "OSCE", 1994-12-06] On May 15 2008, UN General Assembly adopted a resolution (GA/10708) which acknowledges the ethnic cleansing campaign which have been described by OSCE conventions, and strongly emphasizes the return of all Georgian IDPs back to Abkhazia, protection of their property rights and full restoration of the pre-war population. [ [http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2008/ga10708.doc.htm General Assembly Adopts Resolution Recognizing Right Of Return By Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons To Abkhazia, Georgia ] ]

The International Criminal Court is currently investigating allegations of genocide and crimes against humanity in Abkhazia. [ [http://www.unpo.org/content/view/942/236/ Abkhazia: The International Criminal Court looks at Georgian "Genocide" ] ] The ICC was provided with the documents selected from the 300 volumes of evidence about the genocide of Georgians in Abkhazia. These materials were collected by the Georgian Prosecutors' Office beginning in 1993 and allegedly contain horrific accounts of atrocities committed by the Abkhaz fighters and mercenaries from Russia. [The Jamestown Foundation, Volume 1, Issue 57 (July 22, 2004), [http://www.jamestown.org/publications_details.php?volume_id=401&issue_id=3024&article_id=2368290] ] The reports included a detailed description of how the separatists played soccer with the heads of dead Georgians on the field after the executions in Gagra. [Murphy, Paul J. (2004), "The Wolves of Islam: Russia and the Faces of Chechen Terror", page 15. Brassey's, ISBN 1574888307]

Background

Military conflict in Abkhazia

:"See also Georgian-Abkhaz conflict"

The 1994 U.S. State Department Country Reports describes scenes of massive human rights abuse, which Human Rights Watch supported based on their own evidence:

quotation|The [Abkhaz] separatist forces committed widespread atrocities against the Georgian civilian population, killing many women, children, and elderly, capturing some as hostages and torturing others ... they also killed large numbers of Georgian civilians who remained behind in Abkhaz-seized territory...
The separatists launched a reign of terror against the majority Georgian population, although other nationalities also suffered. Chechens and other north Caucasians from the Russian Federation reportedly joined local Abkhaz troops in the commission of atrocities... Those fleeing Abkhazia made highly credible claims of atrocities, including the killing of civilians without regard for age or sex. Corpses recovered from Abkhaz-held territory showed signs of extensive tortureSDHR. State Department, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1993, February 1994 ]

In 1992, the political situation in Abkhazia changed into the military confrontation between Georgian government and Abkhaz separatists. The fighting escalated as Georgian Interior and Defence Ministry forces along with police units took Sukhumi and came near the city of Gudauta. The ethnically-based policies initiated by the Georgians, dubbed Georgia for Georgians, in Sukhumi created simultaneously refugees and a core of fighters determined to regain lost homes. [Human Rights Watch report. [http://www.hrw.org/reports/pdfs/g/georgia/georgia953.pdf Georgia/Abkhazia: Violations of the Laws of War and Russia's Role in the Conflict] , page 23. Published in March, 1995 ] Under the alleged aid from Russia, they managed to re-arm and organize “volunteer battalions” from North Caucasus. According to political analyst Georgy Mirsky, the Russian military base in Gutauta was, “supplying the Abkhazian side with weapons and ammunition.” [Georgiy Mirsky. On Ruins of Empire: Ethnicity and Nationalism in the Former Soviet Union, (United States: Greenwood Press 1997),p 73] Furthermore he adds that, “no direct proof of this has ever been offered, but it would be more naïve to believe that the tanks, rockets, howitzers, pieces of ordnance, and other heavy weapons that the anti-Georgian coalition forces were increasing using in their war had been captured from the enemy.” [Georgiy Mirsky. On Ruins of Empire: Ethnicity and Nationalism in the Former Soviet Union, (United States: Greenwood Press 1997),p 73] This anti-Georgian military coalition were made up of North Caucasian Group “The Confederates of Mountain People of Caucasus”, Shamil Basaev’s Chechen division “Grey Wolf,” Armenian battalion “Bagramian,” Cossacks, militants from Transnistria and various Russian special units including notoriousFact|date=October 2008 airborne unit “Tapir.” [Goltz Thomas. Georgia Diary: A Chronicle of War and Political Chaos in the Post-Soviet (United States: M.E. Sharpe 2006), 133]

Confronted with hundreds of thousands of ethnic Georgians who were unwilling to leave their homes, the Abkhaz side implemented the process of ethnic cleansing in order to expel and eliminate the Georgian ethnic population in Abkhazia. [ US State Department, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1993, February 1994, pp. 120 ]

The exact number of those killed during the ethnic cleansing is disputed, however, it ranges from 8,000 to 10,000 people, not including the civilians who were killed in 1998 during the separatist onslaught on Gali region. Roughly 200,000 to 250,000 ethnic Georgians were expelled from their homes. The campaign ethnic cleansing also included Russians, Armenians, Greeks, moderate Abkhaz and other minor ethnic groups living in Abkhazia. More than 20,000 houses owned by ethnic Georgians were destroyed. Hundreds of Schools, kindergartens, churches, hospitals, historical monuments were pillaged and destroyed.

After the end of the war, the government of Georgia, Hague War Crimes Tribunal, United Nations and OSCE, as well as the refugees themselves, began to investigate and gather facts about the allegations of genocide, ethnic cleansing and deportation which was conducted by the Abkhaz side during the conflict. In 1994 and again in 1996 the OSCE during the Budapest summit gave its official recognition of ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia and condemned the “perpetrators of war crimes committed during the conflict.” [ From the Resolution of the OSCE Budapest Summit, December 6, 1994 ]

On March 2006, the Hague War Crimes Tribunal announced that it had reviewed all the documents submitted by the Georgian side. After a full-scale investigation, the Tribunal concluded that it would prosecute and start hearings against the campaign of ethnic cleansing, war-crimes and terror inflicted on ethnic Georgians in Abkhazia. [The conflict in Abkhazia: dilemmas in Russian 'peacekeeping' policy, Lynch, Dov, pp 36-37 ] [Challenges to peacebuilding : managing spoilers during conflict resolutionNewman Edward, p 282 ]

Facts of ethnic cleansing (1992-1993)

Following are few examples taken from the Helsinki Human Rights Watch Reports and documentation submitted for the review to United Nations and Hague War Crimes Tribunal.

Fall of Gagra

On September 3, 1992, the Russian mediated agreement was signed between Georgian and Abkhaz separatist sides which obliged Georgia to withdraw its military forces from the city of Gagra. The agreement forced Abkhaz separatists from Gudauta to hold their attacks on the city. Soon after, the Georgian forces which included Shavnabada, Avaza and White Eagle battalions (along with their tanks and heavy artillery) left the city. Only small pockets of armed groups (made up of volunteers units of the ethnic Georgians of Gagra) remained. However, on October 1, the Abkhaz side violated the agreement and launched a full scale attack on Gagra. The attack was well coordinated and mainly carried out by the Chechen (under the command of Shamil Basaev) and North Caucasian militants. Meantime in Gagra, Georgian small detachments lost the control of the city suburbs (Leselidze and Kolkhida) and eventually were destroyed in the city center by the end of October 1st. With the fall of the city, the Georgian population of Gagra was captured by the separatists and their allies. The first major massacres and ethnic-cleansing were committed during the fall of Gagra. [ Human Rights Watch Report, First draft made in December 1993 and submitted to Helsinki office.]

People of all ages were rounded up from Gagra, Leselidze, Kolkhida and killed. When the separatist militants entered the city, civilians became a target of mass murder. The main targets were young people and children. According to the witness account: "When I returned home I was surprised to see a lot of armed people on the street. They were quiet. I mistook one of them for my Georgian neighbour, and I said, "How are you?" in Georgian. He grabbed me by the wrist and said, "Keep quiet." I wasn’t afraid for myself; I thought they had killed my family. He asked me in Russian, "Where are your young people? We won’t kill you, we’ll kill them." I said they weren’t here, that there were only old people left." [Human Rights Watch report. [http://www.hrw.org/reports/pdfs/g/georgia/georgia953.pdf Georgia/Abkhazia: Violations of the Laws of War and Russia's Role in the Conflict] , page 26. Published in March, 1995 ] Women and young girls captured by the militants became the victims of rape and torture. One elderly Georgian woman who lived through the October attack in Gagra recounted the following: "They brought over a blind man and his brother, who always stayed with him. They began to beat the blind man, his brother and his wife with a gun butt, calling him "dog!" and kicking him. He fell over. I saw blood. One soldier said: "We won’t kill you, but where are the young girls?" I said there weren’t any." [Human Rights Watch report. [http://www.hrw.org/reports/pdfs/g/georgia/georgia953.pdf Georgia/Abkhazia: Violations of the Laws of War and Russia's Role in the Conflict] , page 27. Published in March, 1995 ]

After the fall of Gagra, the victors started to pillage, rape, and torture followed by summary executions of everyone who was captured and failed to flee the city in time. At 5:00 pm on October 1, civilians (approximately 1000-1500 people) were rounded up and placed under the guard at the soccer stadium in downtown Gagra. On October 6, close to 50 civilians had been found hanging on electricity poles. Soon after, children, elderly, women and men who were detained on the soccer stadium were gunned down and dumped in mass graves not far from the stadium.

A Russian military observer Mikhail Demianov (who was accused by the Georgian side of being the military advisor to the separatist leader Ardzinba) told Human Rights Watch:

UN observers started to investigate and gather all the facts concerning the war crimes during the fall of Gagra. The blame for cutting the heads off the dead was placed on Shamyl Basaev’s battalion. Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council of Abkhazia Mikhail Jinjaradze was dragged out from his office and executed.

Massacre in Kamani

After the failed attempt of the separatist forces and their allies to storm Sukhumi on March 14th, 1993, Abkhaz diverted their main forces to the northern side of the front line which divided Georgian held Sukhumi and separatist controlled territories. On July 4, the Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus militia, Abkhaz formations, and Armenian Bagramyan battalion transported by allegedly Russian naval forces to the city of Tkhvarcheli began their offensive on the northern Sukhumi district. Georgian forces and local volunteer units stationed in the villages of Shroma, Tamishi and Kamani were taken by surprise. On July 5, after intensive fighting, Georgians lost as many as 500 people in a couple of hours. [The Conflict in Abkhazia: Dilemmas in Russian 'Peacekeeping' Policy by Dov Lynch ] The village of Kamani fell into the hands of separatist formations and their North Caucasian allies. Kamani was populated mainly by Svans (a sub-ethnic group of the Georgian people) and by Orthodox nuns who had been living in the church of St George located in the center of the village. [Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia, and the Russian Shadow by S. A. Chervonnaia and Svetlana Mikhailovna Chervonnaia, p 51 ] The local villagers (including women and children) were massacred while the church of St George became the scene of a blood bath. [Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia, and the Russian Shadow by S. A. Chervonnaia and Svetlana Mikhailovna Chervonnaia, p 51 ] The nuns were raped and killed in front of the orthodox priests, father Yuri Anua and father Andria. Both priests were taken outside of the church and questioned about the ownership of the land in Abkhazia. After answering that Abkhazia was neither Georgian nor Abkhaz land but God's, they were shot by a confederate soldier. Another priest was killed along with father Yuri Anua and father Andria, an ethnic Abkhaz who was forced to shoot father Andria before he was killed. [Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia, and the Russian Shadow by S. A. Chervonnaia and Svetlana Mikhailovna Chervonnaia, p 52 ] Approximately, 120 inhabitants of the village were massacred. Similar events took place in the villages of Shroma, Aguzera, Gulripsh, Labra and Tamishi. [No peace, no war in the Caucasus: Secessionist conflicts in Chechnya, Abkhazia and Nagorno-Karabakh by Edward W Walker ]

Fall of Sukhumi

Thomas Goltz, a war correspondent who visited Abkhazia during the war, recalls that Russian MIG-29’s dropped 500 kilograms of vacuum bombs which mainly targeted the residential areas of Sukhumi and villages on Gumista River. [Goltz Thomas. Georgia Diary: A Chronicle of War and Political Chaos in the Post-Soviet, p 139] The Russian journalist Dmitry Kholodov stayed in Sukhumi before it fell to separatists and wrote couple of report from the besieged city,

On July 27, 1993, a Russian-brokered trilateral agreement on a cease-fire and principles for the solution of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict was signed. Once again Georgian military started to withdraw all of its heavy artillery, tanks and significant number of its troops from Sukhumi. The Abkhaz separatists along with their allies were bound by the agreement to hold their offensive and heavy bombardment of the city. In return, the Georgian side was reassured by Russia that Sukhumi would not be attacked or bombed if Georgian army would complete its withdrawal. The Georgian troops along with their tanks were evacuated by the Russian military ships to the city of Poti. The city was left without any significant military defense. A large number of civilians stayed in Sukhumi and all school were re-opened on September 1st. The large number of IDPs returned to their homes and the normal life resumed in Sukhumi. According to Shevardnadze he trusted Yeltsin and the Russian guarantees and therefore, asked the population to return. [ Shevardnadze Edward, Thoughts on Past and Future, , p 121 ] However, the Abkhaz separatists, North Caucasian Volunteers, Cossacks and Russian special forces attacked Sukhumi on September 16th at 8 a.m. [Goltz Thomas. Georgia Diary: A Chronicle of War and Political Chaos in the Post-Soviet, p 93]

It marked the beginning of 12 days non-stop fighting around the besieged Sukhumi with intensive fighting and human loss from the both sides. Georgians who stayed in the city with only rifles and AK 47's were left without any defense from artillery or mechanized units. [Goltz Thomas. Georgia Diary: A Chronicle of War and Political Chaos in the Post-Soviet, p 153] The union of theater actors of Sukhumi joined fighting along with other civilians who decided to fight. The city was mercilessly bombed by Russian air forces and separatist artillery. [Goltz Thomas. Georgia Diary: A Chronicle of War and Political Chaos in the Post-Soviet, p 135] On September 27, the city fell as Abkhaz, Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus (CMPC) and Russian units stormed the House of the Government of Abkhazia. One of the most horrific massacres of this war was waged on the civilian population of Sukhumi after its downfall. During the storming of the city, close to 1,000 people perished as Abkhaz formations overran the streets of the city. The civilians who were trapped in the city were taken from their houses, basements and apartment building. According to Russian journalist Dmitry Kholodov: [Dmitry Kholodov, Moscow journalist covering the Conflict, 1992 ]

The separatists and their allies captured the Chairman of the Supreme Council Zhiuli Shartava, the Mayor of Sukhumi Guram Gabiskiria, Mamia Alasania and other members of the Abkhaz government including the members of Sukhumi police. Initially they were promised safety, [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20070702074602/http://abkhazeti.ru/pages/1/102.html Zhiuli Shartava memorial page] ] but eventually killed, and the UN report mentions Shartava being excessively tortured. [ Report of the UN Secretary General on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, October 12, 1993 ]

The massacres continued after the fall of Sukhumi for about two weeks. Georgians who had failed to flee the city had been hiding in abandoned apartment buildings and house basements. Upon discovery by the militants, they were killed on the spot. One of the most brutal massacres of the war was committed during this period. Video materials show a 5 year old child being brutally killed by Abkhaz militant in front of his mother on the streets of Sukhumi. Abkhaz nationals were also targeted during the Sukhumi massacres. Anyone who had tried to hide a Georgian refugee or helped in any way was condemned and killed. "Temur Kutarba, an Abhazian, was killed by an Adighe Soldier in front of his children, for not being active in killing Georgians. V. Vadakaria, 23 and his Abhazian friend, who tried to defend him, both were killed." [Internal Displacement and Conflict in Abkhazia, by Erin Mooney, p 237]

Ochamchire

Approximately 400 Georgian families were killed [Chervonnaia, Svetlana Mikhailovna. Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia, and the Russian Shadow. Gothic Image Publications, 1994.] during the Abkhaz offensive on Ochamchire. Similar to Gagra events of 1992, the local inhabitants were driven to the city soccer stadium Akhaldaba. [Chervonnaia, Svetlana Mikhailovna. Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia, and the Russian Shadow. Gothic Image Publications, 1994.] Men, woman and children were separated from each other. Within hours, the men were executed while woman and teenagers were raped and later killed. [State Department, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1993, February 1994] According to witness accounts, Abkhaz separatist organized detention camps where teenage girls and woman were kept for 25 days. During this period they were systematically raped and abused. [The conflict in Abkhazia: dilemmas in Russian 'peacekeeping' policy, Lynch, Dov, p 34] Besides the atrocities being committed on civilians, more than 50 Georgian prisoners of war were executed. The mass killing of civilians also occurred in other parts of Ochamchire district, mainly in Kochara (heavily populated by ethnic Georgians, pre-war estimates 5340 people lived in Kochara). Approximately 235 civilians were killed and 1000 houses were destroyed. [The conflict in Abkhazia: dilemmas in Russian 'peacekeeping' policy, Lynch, Dov, pp 16-17 ]

"The Abkhazian separatist group captured sisters – Eka Jvania (17 years old) and Marina Jvania (14 years old), Leila Samushia and others in village Pshadi. They undressed them in front of their parents and neighbors, and raped them. After this the Abkhazians executed all of them by shooting." [Report by Human Rights Watch Helsinki, March 1995]

Gali

After the fall of Sukhumi, the only region in Abkhazia which maintained its large ethnic Georgian population was Gali. The ethnic composition of Gali region differed from the rest of Abkhazia. The region was mainly populated by ethnic Georgians and never experienced any military activity during the war. [Chervonnaia, Svetlana Mikhailovna. Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia, and the Russian Shadow. Gothic Image Publications, 1994. ] In the beginning of 1994, Abkhaz separatists confronted by the reality of the large ethnic Georgian presence within the borders of Abkhazia continued its policy of ethnic cleansing and forced expulsion of ethnic Georgians. [Briefing on Current Situation in Georgia and Implications for U.S. Policy, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, October 25, 1993 ] United Nations observers witnessed the events of 94 as they unfolded. [Report of the UN Secretary General on the situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, October 12, 1994 ] Between February 8 and 13 Abkhaz separatist militia and their allies attacked the villages and populated areas of Gali region, killing, raping and destroying houses (approximately 4,200 houses were destroyed as the result). [S State Department, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1993, February 1994] Despite the presence of Russian CIS peacekeeping forces, the massacres and mass killing of ethnic Georgians was carried out between 1995-1996 which resulted in 450 death and thousands of IDPs fleeing eastwards. [S State Department, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1993, February 1994] In 1997, more than 1,300 civilians perished, thousands of houses burned and hundreds of cultural centers and churches looted. By 1998, almost all of ethnic Georgian population (approximately 50,000 people) in Gali region was forcefully driven out. [Chervonnaia, Svetlana Mikhailovna. "Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia, and the Russian Shadow." Gothic Image Publications, 1994.]

Post-war period

The Human Rights Watch report which was drafted in 1995 and included detailed account of the war crimes and atrocities committed during the war concludes that, "Human Rights Watch finds Abkhaz forces responsible for the foreseeable wave of revenge, human rights abuse, and war crimes that was unleashed on the Georgian population in Sukhumi and other parts of Abkhazia. In Human Rights Watch's judgment, these practices were indeed encouraged in order to drive the Georgian population from its homes." [http://www.hrw.org/reports/1995/Georgia2.htm March 1995, GEORGIA/ABKHAZIA: VIOLATIONS OF THE LAWS OF WAR AND RUSSIA'S ROLE IN THE CONFLICT] ]

"And out of group of 12 front line soldiers, 2 were Abkhazian, 2 were Armenian, 1 Armenian locally from Sukhumi, 1 from Yerevan who was too young to go fight the good fight in Karabakh, and the rest were either from the North Caucasus or from places like in Siberia. What were they motivated by? Looting. They had been promised houses with tangerine gardens. They had been promised cars"." [Briefing on Current Situation in Georgia and Implications for U.S. Policy, Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe Monday, October 25, 1993', p.7]

The legacy of ethnic cleansing in Abkhazia had been devastating for the Georgian society. The war and the subsequent systematic ethnic cleansing produced about 200,000-250,000 of IDPs that fled to various Georgian regions, mostly in Samegrelo (Mingrelia) (112,208; UNHCR, June 2000). In Tbilisi and elsewhere in Georgia refugees occupy hundreds of hotels, dormitories and abandoned Soviet military barracks for temporary residency.when Many of them have to leave for other countries, primarily to Russia, ["30,000 Georgians left Abkhazia for Russia" - cite book |title= Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization: Yearbook 1997|last= Mullen|first= J. Atticus Ryan|coauthors= Christopher A. Mullen|year= 1998|publisher= Martinus Nijhoff Publishers|isbn= 9041110224|pages= 173|url= http://books.google.com/books?id=yiesQNB3SAMC&pg=PA175&dq=Jews+Abkhazia&ei=QsHYSLC0GoGCywSpi-HrDg&hl=ru&sig=ACfU3U1q4fGO9tXQTQL94Y6kMGts67RMVw#PPA173,M1] to search for work.

Many refugees living in Georgia resist assimilation into the Georgian society. Georgia's government also has not encouraged the assimilation of the refugees fearing that it would "lose one of the arguments for retaining hegemony over Abkhazia". [cite book |title= When Things Fall Apart|last= Dudwick|first= Nora|authorlink=Nora Dudwick|coauthors= Elizabeth Gomart, Alexandre Marc|year= 2003|publisher=World Bank Publications|isbn= 0821350676|pages= 245|url=http://books.google.com/books?id=dF4p6OBxv0wC&pg=PA245&dq=Abkhazia&lr=&as_brr=1&ei=ShLASKqzKKXayASQqq2PDg&hl=ru&sig=ACfU3U3ex3zDKvoczUbQ2peOrcBGUvNksA] when

Some 60,000 Georgian refugees spontaneously returned to Abkhazia's Gali district between 1994 and 1998, but tens of thousands were displaced again when fighting resumed in the Gali district in 1998. Nevertheless from 40,000 to 60,000 refugees have returned to the Gali district since 1998, including persons commuting daily across the ceasefire line and those migrating seasonally in accordance with agricultural cycles. [ [http://www.unhcr.org/publ/RSDLEGAL/43a6878d4.pdf UN High Commissioner for refugees. Background note on the Protection of Asylum Seekers and Refugees in Georgia remaining outside Georgia] , [http://web.archive.org/web/20070628110410/http://www.unhcr.org/publ/RSDLEGAL/43a6878d4.pdf cached version] ] The human rights situation remains precarious in the Georgian-populated areas of the Gali district. The United Nations and other international organizations have been fruitlessly urging the Abkhaz de facto authorities "to refrain from adopting measures incompatible with the right to return and with international human rights standards, such as discriminatory legislation... [and] to cooperate in the establishment of a permanent international human rights office in Gali and to admit United Nations civilian police without further delay." [ [http://www.brook.edu/fp/projects/idp/200603_rpt_Georgia.pdf Report of the Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally displaced persons – Mission to Georgia] . United Nations: 2006.]

ee also

*United Nations resolutions on Abkhazia
*Georgian Civil War
*History of Georgia
*Cases before the International Criminal Court
*VSS Vintorez (Special silenced sniper rifle used by some Russian troops)
*Spetsnaz, OSNAZ

Notes

Bibliography

* Mirsky, Georgiy. "On Ruins of Empire: Ethnicity and Nationalism in the Former Soviet Union." MacArthur Foundation and the London School of Economics and Political Science.
* Chervonnaia, Svetlana Mikhailovna. "Conflict in the Caucasus: Georgia, Abkhazia, and the Russian Shadow." Gothic Image Publications, 1994.
* Human Rights Watch. [http://www.hrw.org/reports/1995/Georgia2.htm "Georgia/Abkhazia: Violations of the Laws of War and Russia's Role in the Conflict."] Published on hrw.org, March 1995.
* Lynch, Dov. "The Conflict in Abkhazia: Dilemmas in Russian 'Peacekeeping' Policy." Royal Institute of International Affairs, February 1998.
*Marshania L. "Tragedy of Abkhazia" Moscow, 1996
*"White Book of Abkhazia." 1992-1993 Documents, Materials, Evidences. Moscow, 1993.
*Dmitry Kholodov, Moscow journalist covering the Conflict, 1992
* Andersen, Andrew. [http://www.conflicts.rem33.com/images/Georgia/RUSSIA%20VERSUS%20GEORGIA.htm "Russia Versus Georgia: One Undeclared War in the Caucasus."] Published October 2001.

External links

* [http://www.hrw.org/reports/pdfs/g/georgia/georgia953.pdf Violations of the laws of war and Russia's role in the conflict] , Human Rights Watch report
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20070607163702/http://abkhazeti.ru/pages/main/warabkhazia.html Documented accounts of ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia] ru icon
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20070705173138/http://abkhazeti.ru/video/sukhumi93.avi Video file, capture of Zhuili Shartava, Guram Gabiskiria, Raul Eshba, etc and their execution] (right-click to open file)
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20060824001205/http://www.abkhazeti.ru/video/KLIP.WMV Video file, ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia]
* [http://www.conflicts.rem33.com/abkhazia.htm "Abkhazia: An Open Wound in Georgia" by Dr. Andrew Andersen]
* [http://www.abkhazeti.info/ Government of Abkhazia (-in-exile)]
* [http://www.exileimages.co.uk/ThomasM/Abkhazia/Abkhazia_01.html Exile Images - Thomas Morley: The forgotten refugees of Abkhazia]


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