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Sovereign Right on Genocide Or Casus Belli

Sovereign Right on Genocide Or Casus Belli
Baranov Anatoly 20.08.2008

South Ossetian leader Kokojty yesterday once again stumped the Russian diplomacy having declared that he would ask about accommodation of the Russian military base on the territory of South Ossetia. At that he declared it at the presence of the Russian generals and press, that is publicly. Generals were obviously puzzled, as a question was not in their competence about what they tried to hint delicately to the Ossetic leader who insisted...

It's not the first time Mister Kokojty exposes his saviors - recently he has in detail told to the newspaper "Businessman": "Authorities of South Ossetia will not start up the Georgian refugees who have abandoned their villages in a zone of the Georgian-Ossetic conflict because of the beginning of military actions back".

"We are not going to let somebody in there any more. More than 18 thousand Ossetic refugees from Georgia are now in Northern Ossetia. We need to return them to South Ossetia", - Kokojty declared.

Well, once nonsense said can be written off on simplicity of customs and political inexperience but regular "leakages" which could please propagandists of adverse party - are, probably, already some conscious policy.

Certainly, it was not necessary to stop on information policy of Mister Kokojty so detailed if it was not a part of the state information policy related to the conflict in South Ossetia - and a key part. The question is about one Edward Kokojty's application made approximately the day after night bombardment of Tskhinvali by the Georgian armies which at once went to official position of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and then all Russian Federation - about a number of victims (1500-2000 people) and about qualification it as genocide. On August, 9th representatives pf the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs spoke about 2 thousand victims of peace inhabitants in South Ossetia without taking into account those who appeared under fragments of the destroyed buildings. "Results of attack are really catastrophic, more than two thousand people died. Basically Ossetins. Among them the majority is citizens of Russia", - the ambassador of Russia in Georgia Vyacheslav Kovalenko who by the time already checked up presence of the Russian passports and national identity said then.

In general all polemic around of confrontation in Georgia turns around of one question - if Russia had or didn't have the right to interfere sovereign territory of other state. On the one hand - all international law is based today on a principle of sovereignty and even wider - all world order. On the other hand - constant question, whether other country has the right to interfere sovereign territory to stop obvious disgrace - well, at least the territory of sovereign cannibals. Or sovereign cannibals have the right to eat own citizens on the basis of their cannibal laws and customs? Well or, for example, Hitler had full right to kill all "his" Jews and if he wouldn't intruded Poland all would be ok?

Usually, when it's a question about cannibals, the so-called civilized mankind (that is those who eat human flesh with a knife and a fork) somehow quickly comes to a consensus. But when situation is unevident... Well, to take for example the same South Ossetia on which territory in past-Soviet time lived 103 thousand people from which 26% were the Georgian, 2% were the Russian and others - basically Ossetins. Today the population of republic makes officially about 70 thousand (informally half from it) - it's clear that the basic part of decline in population was made due to the Georgian. Whether it was genocide?

According to the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of a Genocide accepted by General Assembly of the United Nations on December, 9, 1948, genocide is understood as "actions made with intention to destroy totally or partially some national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such", namely:

а) murder of members of such group;

b) causing of serious physical injuries or intellectual frustration to members of such group;

с) premeditated creation for some group of such vital conditions which are aimed at full or partial its physical destruction;

d) measures aimed at prevention of child-bearing in the environment of such group;

e) violent transfer of children from one human group into another.

As we see, exile the Georgians from South Ossetia (including what Edward Kokojty admitted recently to "Businessman") doesn't suit to the definition of genocide. It is ethnic purge - also a crime but nevertheless less heavy, than genocide.

Whether things which the Georgian militarians did in Tskhinvali suit to the definition of genocide?

It is very important as except for prevention of genocide the Kremlin today does not have serious justifications for intrusion into Georgia. If it was the question of genocide - then yes, cannibalism "civilized world" nevertheless does not justify. Not casually the American propaganda, for example, even in the World War II accused Japanese in cannibalism of the British and Australian captured and the Armenian mass-media accused Azerbaijanians in cannibalism during memorable attack of Baku by the Soviet army.

Without genocide position of the Russian armies in Georgia becomes the shakiest: as Jury Mukhin already marked, the Federal law from June, 23, 1995 N 93-FL "About the Order of Granting by the Russian Federation of Military and Civil Personnel for Participation in Activity on Maintenance or Restoration of International Peace and Safety" according to which the decision on sending of military formations of Armed forces for participation in peace-making activity outside the borders of Russia should be accepted by the president of the Russian Federation on the basis of the decision of Council of Federation was broken. The given question, as it's known, was not discussed in the Council of Federation.

As Boris Vishnevsky noticed on Grani.ru, Sochi (Dagomiss) agreements of 1992 are crossed out as they initially excluded "an opportunity of involving of Armed forces of the Russian Federation in the conflict". "Item about main principles of activity of military contingents and military observers intended for normalization of a situation in a zone of the Georgian - Ossetic conflict" according to which peacemakers should stop activity "of any uncontrollable by sides armed formations" and immediately settle group conflicts including armed ones is crossed out. Peacemakers had the right to pursue, detain and in case of rendering armed resistance to destroy armed gangs and formations which did not fulfill requirements of a mode of state of emergency in a zone of the conflict, while prosecution and carrying out of operations outside of a zone of conflict could be carried out only after obligatory notice of the local law enforcement bodies. At last, peacemakers had the right to carry out military operations using exclusively arms which were available to them and according to the order of the commander. It's clear that all these positions were also broken. Refusal of Russia of the structure of peace-making contingent - the Russian, the Northern Ossetian and the Georgian part set to it in essence cancel the agreement, namely - the application of the Russian authorities that the Georgian peacemakers would not be admitted to South Ossetia.

The argument about protection of the Russian citizens in South Ossetia is very shaky - instead of recognizing independence of the republic they decided in the Kremlin to act "very cunningly", having given population the Russian passports. There is no use reminding that the Russian passport and the Russian citizenship in Russia - is not the same: right now there is a number of litigations where people who have received the Russian passports the same way they are given now to the Ossetians after several years (sometimes more than ten) suddenly were admitted to be not citizens and their "Russian" passports - "wrongly given". Yes, people had time to receive education, to get married, to give birth to children, to go abroad (with reception of passport), to serve in the army and "services" and then suddenly they appeared to be "not citizens". Only in Moscow the number of such precedents is tens thousand.

But if Moscow allows to recognize void passports given by it, why Georgia should recognize the same passports - in fact they are given on the territory which Russia also recognizes de jure Georgian. These passports are given obviously in infringement of the Russian laws on citizenship.

So, thesis about the Russians from South Ossetia is the same way convincing for world community, as thesis about protection of the rights of Sudeten Germans.

What else? There is a night bombardment of Tskhinvali which Kremlin tries to present as genocide of Ossetic people.

In Hague Convention of 1907 is said that "it is forbidden to attack or bombard in any way unprotected cities, settlements, dwellings or structures". Also in Geneva Convention of 1949 (with additional reports of 1977) "About Protection of Civilians during War" also stated about inadmissibility of similar actions. These actions are admitted as criminal and fall under jurisdiction of the International court. If Russia demanded after night bombardment of Tskhinvali detailed international trial and provisional punishment of guilty is one thing. But Russia garrisoned - it was justified only in case if people subjected bombardment were threatened with genocide. Otherwise the answer was, to put it mildly, inadequate.

That is, all over again comes to the proofs of genocide. In that one and a half or two thousand victims for the first time mentioned by Edward Kokojty in the first day of the conflict when neither he, nor someone else simply had authentic data - there were still fights in the streets of Tskhinvali.

Here at once the questions arise - who and how will confirm (or deny) it?

The same "ingenuous" Mister Kokojty already declared (not for the first time) that he would not admit any observers of OSCE to the territory of his republic. Investigative Committee of the Office of Public Prosecutor of the Russian Federation - that is representative of the interested side got engaged in searching for attributes of possible genocide of the Ossetins in the actions of the Georgian military men. Meanwhile inspectors are not too talkative - information goes basically from one more interested side - press centre of South Ossetia. The matter is that burial places are situated directly on a place of death - supposedly there is such a practice in those places. Some other scrappy proofs appear - obviously not for the benefit of the official version about thousand victims but they also can be not quite correct.

Meanwhile within the framework of investigation of criminal case on the fact of "aggression of Georgia in relation to the Russian citizens in South Ossetia" 2136 people are recognized as victims, the representative of Investigative Committee Vladimir Markin informed on the last Friday journalists. He specified that it's said about inhabitants of South Ossetia who had already arrived to the territory of Northern Ossetia, ITAR-TASS informs. "All of them have been already interrogated by inspectors and recognized as victims", - representative of Investigative Committee noted. "Besides 29 victims delivered from South Ossetia have been examined by inspectors and more than 50 various examinations including medicolegal are appointed", - Markin added.

Human rights organization Human Rights Watch considers that authorities of Russia and South Ossetia have seriously overestimated quantity of victims. According to director of Moscow representation of HRW Anna Nejstat, the quantity of wounded men as a result of operations in Tskhinvali from August, 8 till August, 10 is estimated in tens. As she said, rights advocates have data about 50-60 victims, half of them is peace population - however this information also bases on estimations and not on firm data.

In fact the Russian citizens - are not sheep! In fact the Russian passports are given to all these people, it means, all these people have surnames, names, patronymic and registration on a residence. There are registry offices and house registers. There are lists of refugees - all in all there are about 35 thousand people. By the way, it turns out so that it is a half of inhabitants of the republic officially and all 100 % informally - it means that official figure is closer to the true one as in Tskhinvali still there are a lot of people. So, these one and a half or two thousand people cannot be lost in any way. They should be found out already just about. If authorities cannot get clear in such a vital to them question for already 10 days with several tens thousand people - where they are, what is happening to them now, then how these authorities organize, for example, elections in which up to 100 million are registered?

Who then does not hurry up with results? Or there are already the results but their promulgation is impossible without scandal?

That is where Mister Kokojty appears and suggests Russia to place military base in South Ossetia (we shall remind that it's not recognized by anybody including Russia, that is formally Georgian territory). It's good that he is not speaking about the rockets of average range. Our generals languidly answer: "Given question, first of all, has political status and, secondly, demands study, - the deputy chief of Joint Staff VS of the Russian Federation Anatoly Nogovitsyn said. - I think that there would be some official answers in relation to this offer. But it's not a military question, it's not to me. We are ready to execute the order of our management in that form in which it will be given".

Ethnic purge, refusal of international observers, application about 2 thousand victims and, at last, the offer to place military base on another's sovereign territory - what does Russia need enemies for with such friends?..

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