Facts of Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing of Georgians in Gali Region
by the Abkhazian Separatists
From 20 - 26 of May 1998 and Later
Analytical group on Abkhazian issues of
the Parliament of Georgia
Georgians' Genocide still is in progress in Abkhazia
After 1993 tragedy in Abkhazia, Georgia, despite the efforts of Georgians, World Community and mediator-countries towards the peaceful settlement of the conflict, the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Georgians is in progress.
After the seizure of military operations, regular and extremely cruel genocide takes place in Gali region, where military confrontation never took place and the ethnic composition of population is homogenous- Georgian.
In the beginning of 1994 Abkhazian separatist government with carried out the cleansing of the remained and spontaneously returned IDPs in Gali. In February 8-13 Abkhazian "boeviks" and merceneries murdered more than 800 peaceful inhabitants, mostly women, children and the elders, they burnt down about 4200 houses and destroyed the economic capability of the region. Tens of thousands of people again became refugees.
In spite of the fact that peacekeeping forces under the auspices of the CIS, whose obligation was to secure return of refugees, entered Gali ragion, separatist government again carried out the cleansing of Gali population in summer and autumn of 1995-1996, the victims of these actions were more than 400 peaceful inhabitants, hundreds of residences were burnt and thousands of people again fled out from their dwellings.
Genocide and ethnic cleansing were conducted with different intensity during 1997.
Along with this, in the last two years, by means of Georgian Authority's peaceful politics and also peacekeeping forces, international military observers, UNHCR and OSCE's efforts, took place some kind of stabilization of situation, the result of it was the unorganized return of 40 000 Georgians to the security zone and creation of elementary living conditions for the population.
Separatist government, which is above all, afraid of the actual perspective of the conflict's settlement, returning of Georgian Population and restoration of the former demographic situation, from the beginning of the early spring 1998 began to implement the mean plan of Georgians' genocide and ethnic cleansing in Gali. For this purpose, the separatist government infringed the stabilization in the rayon, especially in its lower zone, in March, April and May, under pretext of fighting with so called guerrillas, they brought "boeviks", who took population as hostages, in order to receive ransom, committed different forms of violence and murders. Till May 20, 1998, "Boeviks" killed 13 peaceful inhabitants, took "hostages" about 250 people.
Separatist government with the silent consent and support of Russian peacekeeping forces, since May 20 brought into Gali rayon more than 1200 Abkhazian, Armenian, Cossaks and North Caucasian "boeviks" with a heavy armament and carried out large-scale punitive military operation against peaceful population.
In May 20-26 and the following period despite of sease-fire, taking away the troops and achieving agreement in Gagra on the returning of refugees, which was precisely fulfilled by Georgian side, separatist government killed with torture and burnt 56 people, 43 are missing, 100 were taken hostages, 2100 houses and 14 villages are completely ruined and burnt, 40 000 inhabitants became refugees again, the property of the population has been taken away. The houses, schools and health care objects, restored by UNHC (this cost 2 mln. dollars), were completely destroyed.
During the armed confrontation 21 participants of the contradiction movement and members of Abkhazian Autonomous Republic's interior forces' limited troops were killed.
In the end of May in Gali rayon were distributed the leaflets- "Death to all Georgians, Abkhazia without Georgians," and this was actually achieved.
At present no one doubts that if not the unorganized defense of the population and the appropriate measures taken by Georgian limited troops of interior forces, - the number of victims among peaceful population would have been much more.
On the other side of Enguri - in Zugdidi and Tsalenjikha regions, the situation of the expelled Georgians is extremely grave: homeless, starving, diseased, jobless, hopeless - it is impossible to describe their suffering. People live in schools, kinder-gardens, administrative buildings and farms, in many places there are 20-25 people in one room. Despite the efforts of Georgian authority and international organizations, their situation is catastrophic.
At the end of 20th century, when human rights and freedoms are recognized as supreme legal and moral categories, in Abkhazia, Gali, no one is responsible for these actions.
Unfortunately, during the tragic days of Gali, the UN observers and representatives of human rights protection international organizations, who received the part of murders' observers, took no actions. Refugees are doubtful about the capability of these institutions to fix objectively the facts of genocide and react on them.
It's a fact that during the last five years there was no real progress in the settlement of the conflict, were not fulfilled any requirements of the international documents about the political settlement of the conflict, the violence towards Georgian population goes on in front of UN military observers, at the moment in Gali rayon Georgians are killed every day, only because they are Georgians.
Abkhazian separatism is obsessed with impunity syndrome and still goes on with abusing civilized world's efforts, violating human rights and freedoms, taking away the most precious thing - the life.
The punitive operations in Gali witnesses that situation in occupied Abkhazia is under the control of Russian policy.
Long time has passed after the seizure of military operations but despite the expectations and enormous spiritual and phisical sufferings, there was still hope for the future in the refugees. Genocide and ethnic cleansing that took place in May 20-26, made obvious for everybody that the returning of the lost territory is a very distant or unrealistic dream.
We present the facts of Georgians' genocide carried out by Abkhazian separatists in May 1998 and afterwards, these are materials in which you can see the terrible facts of ethnic cleansing and bloodshed in Gali.
THE PRE-TRAGEDY PERIOD
On the 11 April from Gali rayon, village Saberio, Abkhaz "boeviks" kidnapped Gamgebeli (head of local administration) of the village Davit Eteria together with his son. Kidneppers asked for ransom.
On the 12 April in Gali rayon's village Saberio took place the clash between Abkhaz police and local inhabitants, in which interfered Russian peacekeepers. One Abkhazian died and several Russian soldiers were wounded.
Abkhazian "boeviks" in Gali rayon's village Gudava killed brothers Barkaia and captured their sister.
The group of 150 fighters was brought to Gali rayon. The group mainly consisted Abkhazian and Armenian "boeviks," inhabitants of Gudauta and Gagra. They actively participated in 1992-93 Georgians' genocide.
On 27 April in Gali rayon local inhabitants were invaded by Abkhazian "boeviks". Regarding this fact was proofed that on that day 50 men group in Abkhazian police uniforms along with Russian peacekeeping forces' tanks entered village Sida. So called police took hostages several residents. Brothers Ekhvaia are wounded. The invaders placed the hostages in the building of village Sida administration and burnt several houses. The leader of the group, distinguished by extreme cruelty, was the nephew of Givi Eshba, Civil Proceedings Division's Head of so called Gali rayon.
On 28 April in village Mziuri of Gali rayon happened the spontaneous fight. From the side of Abkhazian "boeviks" were killed two fighters, some were wounded.
On 29 April in village Shesheleti of Gali rayon happened the fight between Abkhazian "boeviks" and local population. Some people were wounded, "boeviks" took as hostages 11 people.
On 10 May in village Mziuri of Gali rayon in order to carry out punitive operations Abkhazian separatists brought so called Bagramian Battalion. The Battalion attacked peaceful population, burnt the houses and took hostages.
On 18 May three buses with Abkhazian "boeviks" entered Gali
On 20May two "Gaz 66" vehicles full of Abkhazian "boeviks" entered village Sida of Gali rayon. Took place unorganized resistance of the population. To avoid more danger the population was warned to leave their houses and take away children from the conflict zone.
Anti-Georgian meetings are organized in Ochamchire, Gudauta and Sukhumi.
The facts of genoc in Gali rayon from May 20, 1998.
In the morning of May 20, with the purpose of punitive operations first 50 men were brought to Gali rayon. Than 70 men (May 16-17), afterwards 120 men (May 18) groups of Abkhazian "boeviks", and on the 20th of May - 120 "boeviks" entered the rayon. Later, 800 men groups with means of transport on which are so called "Shilka" and heavy guns, with the support and participation of Russian Peacekeeping Forces, began punitive operations in villages Sida, Repo-Etseri and Khumushkuri, where they opened the fire to peaceful population. The population of these villages, along with local guerrillas, in order to stop the punishing operations and avoid victims was forced to resist, which resulted in an open armed fighting.
On 21 May, heavily armed 100 men group of Abkhazia "boeviks" entered Gali rayon village Khumushkuri. Georgian guerrillas managed to stop Abkhazians but additional Abkhazian forces encircled guerrillas. Abkhazians used heavy artillery and grenade-launchers.
On 22 May, Abkhazian "boeviks" took hostages 4 local inhabitants, occupied 45 houses and a mill in village Sida of Gali rayon. From village Khumushkuri were taken hostages 10 peaceful inhabitants. 100 men Abkhazian group entered territory of Mziur-Makhunjia. Two men were taken hostages. Abkhazians occupied the territory of village Pirveli Gali and completely drove the population out of the village. In community Tskhiri Abkhazians shot Zaur Tsimitia and his two children, took as hostages 4 peaceful inhabitants: Omister Nakopia, Otar Nakopia, Arvelodi Bakarandze and the guest of the family from Gulripshi, where these four are, is unknown.
On the 23-rd of May, on Saturday, Abkhazian Separatists brought to Gali additional several hundreds of policemen to carry out punishing operations against Georgian population.
On the 24-th of May, at 10 o'clock in the morning Abkhazian separatists carried out the armed attack on Gali rayon villages Khumushkuri and Kvemo Barghebi, they opened the fire to peaceful population, burnt the houses, killed the helpless old people, women and children. Local population, along with guerrillas actively resisted. This is one more evidence of Separatists' decision to complete the ethnic cleansing of Georgian population.
On the 24th of May Abkhazian "boeviks" invaded the office of the mission of UN military observers in Gali, disarmed and beat the members of the guard and surrounded the building.
On 24 May, 1998 in order to secure safe escape of the civilian population from the conflict zone, armed unites of the Internal Ministry were introduced into certain villages of Gali region.
On 25 May, 1998 Abkhaz "boeviks" murdered correspondent of the newspaper "Resonance" Giorgi Chania in the Gali region village of Ganakhleba.
25-26 May, Abkhaz "boeviks", applying massive military force, committed large-scale punitive operations against in the following villages of the Gali region: Tagiloni, Nabakevi, Ganachleba, Gagida, Otobaia. They robbed local population of livestock, burnt down their dwellings and infrastructure and mercilessly looted the local population.
Shootings are still going on. 26-27 May, armed clashes took place in village Dikhazurga. At the same night, the Abkhaz separatists burnt more than 25 houses in villages Dikhazurga and Saberio. The next day hostilities resumed. According to the trustworthy source of information, there were 545 households in Dikhazurga. Because of violence, 80% of these households were burnt down. The Abkhaz separatists were supported by the Russia "peace keepers" in carrying out their punitive operations.
Despite of the agreement on cease fire by 6a.m. 0f 26 May reached between the parties to the conflict, by 9a.m. situation became very explosive in the Saberio direction, where Enguri hydroelectric station's control panel is situated. Abkhazians carried out punitive operations here and as a result peaceful civilians were forced to abandon their dwellings and found refuge in Zugdidi. The abkaz "boeviks" took hostages, murdered and burnt alive helpless civilians.
There are about 30 thousand IDPs from the Gali region in Zugdidi and Tsalendjikha regions. Mostly, they live in schools and other administrative buildings. As a rule, 15-20 persons live in one room. Despite the fact that different towns and regions of Georgia did their best to render humanitarian aid to refugees, it proved extremely difficult to provide IDPs with the essentials and food products. International humanitarian organizations are rendering humanitarian assistance as well.
The International Red Cross has not played any positive role in the course of the events. The IDPs asked the aforementioned organization to render assistance in the evacuation of the wounded, the elders, children and women from the conflict zone. In response, representatives of the Red Cross Zugdidi office demanded full guarantee of their safety.
On 28 May, the Abkhaz separatists staged another violent raid in Zugdidi region villages situated beyond the river Enguri. At that time separatists aimed at the village Khurcha and took two Georgian young men as hostages. The destiny of these men is unknown to the Georgian side.
According to the uncompleted date, during these days 17 partisans and 56 civilians were killed. It is believed that common grave of 100 civilians is in the surroundings of Gali. The Georgians were not allowed make a video shot of these corpses. According to the eyewitnesses, there were facts of brutal torture and burning alive of helpless civilians.
Situation is still tense in the Gali region. The Abkhazian militia and "boeviks" debauching. Due to the passiveness of Russian peace keeping forces,
UN military observers and other missions, murder, robbery, burning of dwellings is frequent. Almost all goods are taken from the houses and aftermath these houses are burnt, cattle are slaughtered. There is complete chaos impunity. Abkhazians are mining bridges, roads and paths.
On 2 July, at 7a.m Abkhaz "boeviks" burnt several houses in Tagiloni and Nabakevi. In the village of Tagiloni Abkhazians took invalid Amiran Okudjava as hostage and looted villagers who happened to return to take their personal belongings.
On 2 June, the separatists enforced their checkpoints on the river Enguri. Passage of civilians between the Zugdidi and Gali regions is banned. The so called Internal Ministry forces of Abkhazia seek to control the whole coast line in order to prevent passage of population from Zugdidi to Gali.Georgian population leaves their houses because of Abkhazians new attack. Abkhazians occupied villages Zemo and Kvemo Barghebi. Abkhazian "boeviks" actively carried out military operations using mine-shooters; they burn houses, administrative buildings, kill the rest of old people, take hostages.