Commentary of the Abkhazian Foreign Ministry

Commentary of the Abkhazian Foreign Ministry
26 January 2021 873

M. Kalyurand, head of the European Parliament delegation for relations with the South Caucasus, issued a statement calling on the Russian Federation to "fulfill its international obligations and withdraw its recognition of Abkhazia's independence.
MEP's statement was made in connection with and in support of the recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights on the so called "Georgia vs. Russia" case related to the armed conflict in South Ossetia in August 2008.

As you know, Georgian officials have already rushed to call the decision of the European Court a "historic victory" and almost a prerequisite for "de-occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. M. Kalyurand assesses the decision of the ECHR in the same way. Meanwhile, the published conclusions of the court turned out to be far from those that Tbilisi had expected to see. However, despite this, Georgia and its Western partners prefer to pretend that they have achieved some unprecedented "historic victory".

First, attention should be paid to the very procedure of discussion and adoption of the ECtHR decision concerning the events in the South Caucasus in August 2008. This "case" was considered without any participation of representatives of the states directly involved in the August events - the Republic of South Ossetia and the Republic of Abkhazia. The judgment of the ECtHR itself was rendered in the same dubious manner. Needless to say that the practice of passing such "judicial verdicts" calls into question the objectivity and weightiness of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

With regard to the merits of the case, it should be noted that, contrary to the triumphant statements by Georgia and its European partners, in its opinion the ECtHR recognized that the Russian Federation cannot be held responsible under the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms for incidents that occurred when Russian servicemen repelled an attack by the Georgian army on a peacekeeping contingent and the local civilian population from 8 to 12 August 2008. The Court also did not support the claims of the Georgian authorities that the Russian armed forces had "invaded" South Ossetia on 7 August 2008, i.e., before the Georgian military attack on Tskhinvali.

The Georgian side also failed to prove that the European Convention on Human Rights is applicable not only in peacetime but also in combat conditions. It was recognized that the legal assessment of the actions of the Russian armed forces in South Ossetia and Abkhazia on August 8-12, 2008 is beyond the jurisdiction of the European judges. Moreover, the ECtHR did not establish a single case of violation by the Russian armed forces of the rights of civilians during the events of August 2008.
Thus, the Georgian and European victory speeches that appeared shortly after the European Court's ruling have hardly any serious basis in fact. In this connection, it is not surprising that the statement by Kalyurand, which appeared in support of the ECHR ruling, also turned out to be opportunistic and completely disconnected from reality.

 The judgment of the ECtHR, issued at Georgia's insistence for many years, has once again demonstrated the confrontational attitude of Tbilisi, its commitment to continuing its flawed policy of international isolation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and its complete lack of political will for mutually respectful dialogue on an equal footing.

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