The Ministry of Foreign Affairs points the attention of the international community to the media reports concerning the statement of the leader of the occupation regime in Tskhinvali to tear down the villages to the north of Tskhinvali (among them Kurta, Kekhvi, Achabeti and Tamarasheni). These predominantly Georgian villages were ethnically cleansed, torched and partially destroyed during the August 2008 war with the Russian Federation by the South Ossetian militias under protection and with direct aid of the invading armed forces of the Russian Federation. This destruction has been documented by many international observers, including the fact finding mission of the Organization for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) in late 2008.
In his statement, leader of the occupation regime Mr. Leonid Tibilov has ordered obliteration of the remaining signs of habitation and the very memory of the villages. "These areas will not be used for habitation, there is no point of keeping their names; they will no longer exist as inhabited areas...These houses are not destroyed yet, but we are planning to put these territories, where the ruins are, under specific legal regime, so that there are no questions asked tomorrow or the day after. These we are planning to cleanse these villages. These ruins don't look very good. We will plan to build some kind of enterprises there", - stated Mr. Tibilov.
The statement is latest in the chain of official declarations by the occupation regime during and after the 2008 war, which contain direct admissions of intent to ethnically cleanse the region. On 15 August 2008, the ex-leader of the occupation regime Eduard Kokoity stated that militias "have leveled everything" in Georgian villages and are "not planning to allow returns." In December 2010 the occupation regime issued a decree which changed the legal status of property in predominantly ethnic Georgian Akhalgori district, allowing for its appropriation.
All responsibility for ethnic cleansing as well as for the acts that pursue an objective of making it irreversible rests with the Russian Federation under the international law. The Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, together with Abkhazia remain under Russia's illegal military occupation and are governed by the occupation regime.
The Ministry calls on the Co-Chairs of the Geneva International Discussions and the International Organizations involved in the Geneva International Discussions to urgently raise this issue in their contacts with Moscow in order to seek prompt reversal of the decision.
Tbilisi, 15 August 2012