Killing of Georgian citizen by occupation forces raised at Geneva International Discussions

The 59th round of Geneva International Discussions was held on December 5-6. Photo: Foreign Ministry press office, 07 Dec 2023 - 13:25, Tbilisi,Georgia

The 59th round of Geneva International Discussions, the only international format addressing security and humanitarian consequences of the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict, on Tuesday and Wednesday largely focused on the killing of Georgian citizen Tamaz Ginturi by Russian-controlled occupation forces last month. 

Toivo Klaar, the European Union's Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia, noted the discussions with the engagement of Co-Chairs from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the European Union and the United Nations, as well as Georgian Government officials, de facto authorities from the country’s Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) regions, Russia and the United States discussed ways to prevent a repeat of the incident.

From our side, we emphasised that all participants should think about how to create an atmosphere where people living near the Administrative Boundary Line will not be afraid to go to the church, to the cemeteries, because they might be arrested or killed”, he said, highlighting the importance of the format despite its “imperfections” and the lack of “many serious results” over the past 15 years. 

In its statement following the discussions, the US representation once again urged Russia to fulfil the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement and withdraw its troops from Georgian territory, saying Moscow was the “sole party” to the conflict in Georgia. The US side also said Russia’s violation of agreements and international law had led to the killing of Ginturi adjacent to the Russian-occupied Tskhinvali region on November 6. 

Lasha Darsalia, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia who attended the talks, told the press the militarisation of the occupied territories “persisted unequivocally” while Russia claimed it was not a part of the conflict, in reference to Moscow’s plans to deploy a naval base in occupied Abkhazia. 

Highlighting the importance of the international format, Darsalia said international law, which cites Russia as an occupier of Georgian territories, would become a “cornerstone” for conflict resolution, stressing Tbilisi’s “firm position” on the matter and noting lawsuits won by the Government in international courts.