Georgia denies war crimes

The South Ossetia War may have faded into the shady avenues of history, but some reporters from the BBC allege that they have evidence to suggest that Georgia committed war crimes during their operations in the breakaway region over the summer. The BBC recently undertook the first unrestricted visit to South Ossetia by a foreign press organization since the conflict and have amassed witness testimony to suggest that Georgian tanks fired upon an apartment building and soldiers picked off civilians as they fled the combat zones. Some witnesses claim that tanks fired on their personal vehicles, causing them to crash and others claim that Georgian tanks systematically fired shells into every floor of an apartment complex, leaving the building in a severe state of disarray and causing multiple casualties.

Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili has denied the allegations that Georgia's army committed war crimes during the assault on South Ossetia, but some British officials have called for an international investigation into the conflict, which received limited and spotty coverage in the international news outlets at the time of its occurrence. The BBC allege that the evidence of destruction in South Ossetia corroborates the claims made by witnesses that the Georgian army undertook a systematic destruction of villages and areas that were populated by civilians. But they also chastised Russia for what they felt to have been a "disproportionate and wrong" retaliation in the conflict when their armies crossed into South Ossetia and other areas of Georgia. Their response was predicated on the belief that the people of South Ossetia were actually part of Russia, in keeping with the South Ossetian secession which happened in the early 1990s.

The American media has largely condemned Russia for their invasion of Georgia, which was labeled by the White House as an unforgivable breech of national sovereignty while in large part neglecting to hold the Georgian military up to the same level of scrutiny for their own aggression in South Ossetia. This is probably due at least part to latent Cold War tensions in which Russia is always set up to be the enemy. But the fact that Georgia chose to base their democratic framework on the structure of the United States following the dissolution of the Soviet Union undoubtedly plays a part as well. While it is seemingly impossible to condone Russia's actions in Georgia following the conflict in South Ossetia, the fact of the matter is that there is a large body of evidence to give credence to allegations that the Georgian military committed heinous crimes against people living within its own borders. International alliances aside, there are absolutely no excuses for these allegations to go uninvestigated. When it comes to the question of people's lives, there is no excuse to mire the discussion in political quagmire.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Targum.

Support Independent Student Journalism

Your donation helps support independent student journalists of all backgrounds research and cover issues that are important to the entire Rutgers community. All donations are tax deductible.