Georgia committed war crimes in its attack on South Ossetia in August 2008
There are no ifs, no buts, no maybes. Georgia attacked South Ossetia in a war of aggression and committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Overwhelmed by besieged by incontrovertible evidence, the BBC has finally admitted that “Georgia may have committed war crimes in its attack on its breakaway region of South Ossetia in August ”
Eyewitnesses told BBC that “tanks fired directly into an apartment block, and how civilians were shot at as they tried to escape the fighting.”
Human Rights Watch also told BBC that Georgian military used indiscriminate force, and possibly targeted civilians deliberately.
Dr Marina Kochieva says her car was targeted by a Georgian tank. Source: BBC. Image may be subject to copyright.
“Indiscriminate use of force is a violation of the Geneva Conventions,” BBC said, “and serious violations are considered to be war crimes.” [As if that has stopped George Bush’s corporate military from committing war crimes and heinous crimes against humanity in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria …]
British Foreign Secretary David [how the heck did you get here] Miliband who called on the EU and Nato to initiate “hard-headed engagement” with Russia in response to its actions in Georgia, has now made a u-turn calling Georgia’s attack on South Ossetia as “reckless”.
David [how the heck did you get here] Miliband said “he had raised the issue of possible Georgian war crimes with the government in Tbilisi.” [BBC reported. But he didn’t state what Tbilisi rplied.]
They went on firing all the next day without stopping. At some point there was a pause, and we saw Georgian soldiers going along the street in their Nato uniforms
Source: BBC. Image may be subject to copyright.
Georgia unleashed an indiscriminate barrage of heavy artillery, rockets and ground-to-ground missiles on the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, on 7 August 7, 2008. Tbilisi first said that it was responding to attacks on its own villages by South Ossetia militia, which of course was untrue. Georgia later changed its story and said the attack was provoked by an earlier Russian invasion, which of course was also a lie.
Eye-witness account (from the BBC report)
Georgy Tadtayev, a 21-year-old dental student, was one of the Ossetian civilians killed during the fighting.
His mother, Taya Sitnik, 45, a college lecturer, told the BBC he bled to death in her arms on the morning of 9 August after a fragment from a Georgian tank shell hit him in the throat as they were both sheltering from artillery fire in the basement of her block of flats.
Mrs Sitnik said she subsequently saw the tank positioned a few metres from the building, firing shells into every floor.
Extensive damage to the five-storey block appeared consistent with her version of events.
She said she and her son were watching television when the Georgian attack began.
“They started firing not from rifles, but from heavy weapons. Shells were exploding.”
“We jumped up straight away, switched off the lights and ran down to the cellar.”
“And we sat here on boxes. We thought it would end, but the firing got heavier and heavier,” she added.
We’re very concerned at the use of indiscriminate force by the Georgian military
Human Rights Watch
“They went on firing all the next day without stopping. At some point there was a pause, and we saw Georgian soldiers going along the street in their Nato uniforms,” according to Mrs Sitnik.
“Then they started firing again, even more heavily. The Grad rockets were coming over all the time.”
“How can you trust those people now? What possible friendship can there be? Let them all be cursed, cursed for the deaths of our children.”
Neighbours said another resident of the block, Khazbi Gagloyev, also died of wounds received during the attacks.
The Russian prosecutor’s office is investigating more than 300 possible cases of civilians killed by the Georgian military.
Some of those may be Ossetian paramilitaries, but Human Rights Watch believes the figure of 300-400 civilians is a “useful starting point”.
That would represent more than 1% of the population of Tskhinvali – the equivalent of 70,000 deaths in London.
Allison Gill, director of the Moscow office of Human Rights Watch, said: We’re very concerned at the use of indiscriminate force by the Georgian military in Tskhinvali.
“Tskhinvali is a densely populated city and as such military action needs to be very careful that it doesn’t endanger civilians.”
“We know that in the early stages there were tank attacks and Grad rockets used by Georgian forces,” she added.
“Grad rockets cannot be used in densely populated areas because they cannot be precisely targeted, and as such they are inherently indiscriminate.
“Our researchers were on the ground in Tskhinvali as early as 12 August.
“And we gained evidence and witness testimony of Grad rocket attacks and tank attacks on apartment buildings, including tank attacks that shot at the basement level.
“And basements are typically areas where civilians will hide for their own protection.
“So all of this points to the misuse, the inappropriate use of force by Georgia against civilian targets,” according to Alison Gill.
Human Rights Watch will talk only of the “possible” deliberate targeting by Georgian forces of individual civilians, a still more serious charge, though some Ossetians the BBC spoke to in Tskhinvali claim to have witnessed such cases.
Marina Kochieva, a doctor at Tskhinvali’s main hospital, says she herself was targeted by a Georgian tank as she and three relatives were trying to escape by car from the town on the night of 9 August.
She says the tank fired on her car and two other vehicles, forcing them to crash into a ditch.
The firing continued as she and her companions lay on the ground.
She showed the BBC the burnt-out wreckage of the car on the town’s ring-road, riddled with bullet holes and with a much larger hole, apparently from a tank round, in the front passenger door.
Ms Kochieva says a nurse from her hospital was killed while fleeing Tskhinvali in similar circumstances.
She says she counted 18 burnt-out cars on the ring-road on 13 August, at the end of the war, suggesting there may have been more casualties.
Asked if, at night, Georgian soldiers might not have suspected her car of carrying Ossetian fighters, Ms Kochieva said: “Fighters wouldn’t have gone away from town, they would have gone towards town. We were escaping like other refugees.
“The Georgians knew this was the ‘Road of Life’ for Ossetians. They were sitting here waiting to kill us,” she said.
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