Ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia
Overview
 
The Ethnic Cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia,
also known as the Massacres of Georgians in Abkhazia and Genocide of Georgians in Abkhazia (according to Georgian sources) — refers to ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic orreligious group from certain geographic areas....

, massacres and forced mass expulsion of thousands of ethnic Georgians
Georgian people
The Georgians are an ethnic group that have originated in Georgia, where they constitute a majority of the population. Large Georgian communities are also present throughout Russia, European Union, United States, and South America....

 living in Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

 (de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

 an Autonomous Republic within Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

) during the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict of 1992-1993
War in Abkhazia (1992–1993)
The War in Abkhazia from 1992 to 1993 was waged chiefly between Georgian government forces on one side and Abkhaz separatist forces supporting independence of Abkhazia from Georgia on the other side. Ethnic Georgians, who lived in Abkhazia fought largely on the side of Georgian government forces...

 and 1998
War in Abkhazia (1998)
The War in Abkhazia in 1998 took place in the Gali district of Abkhazia, after ethnic Georgians launched an insurgency against the Abkhazian secessionist government...

 at the hands of Abkhaz
Abkhaz people
The Abkhaz or Abkhazians are a Caucasian ethnic group, mainly living in Abkhazia, a disputed region on the Black Sea coast. A large Abkhazian diaspora population resides in Turkey, the origins of which lie in the emigration from the Caucasus in the late 19th century known as Muhajirism...

 separatists
Separatism
Separatism is the advocacy of a state of cultural, ethnic, tribal, religious, racial, governmental or gender separation from the larger group. While it often refers to full political secession, separatist groups may seek nothing more than greater autonomy...

 and their allies (possibly, including volunteers from Russia).
Encyclopedia
The Ethnic Cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia,
also known as the Massacres of Georgians in Abkhazia and Genocide of Georgians in Abkhazia (according to Georgian sources) — refers to ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic orreligious group from certain geographic areas....

, massacres and forced mass expulsion of thousands of ethnic Georgians
Georgian people
The Georgians are an ethnic group that have originated in Georgia, where they constitute a majority of the population. Large Georgian communities are also present throughout Russia, European Union, United States, and South America....

 living in Abkhazia
Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a disputed political entity on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus.Abkhazia considers itself an independent state, called the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny...

 (de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

 an Autonomous Republic within Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

) during the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict of 1992-1993
War in Abkhazia (1992–1993)
The War in Abkhazia from 1992 to 1993 was waged chiefly between Georgian government forces on one side and Abkhaz separatist forces supporting independence of Abkhazia from Georgia on the other side. Ethnic Georgians, who lived in Abkhazia fought largely on the side of Georgian government forces...

 and 1998
War in Abkhazia (1998)
The War in Abkhazia in 1998 took place in the Gali district of Abkhazia, after ethnic Georgians launched an insurgency against the Abkhazian secessionist government...

 at the hands of Abkhaz
Abkhaz people
The Abkhaz or Abkhazians are a Caucasian ethnic group, mainly living in Abkhazia, a disputed region on the Black Sea coast. A large Abkhazian diaspora population resides in Turkey, the origins of which lie in the emigration from the Caucasus in the late 19th century known as Muhajirism...

 separatists
Separatism
Separatism is the advocacy of a state of cultural, ethnic, tribal, religious, racial, governmental or gender separation from the larger group. While it often refers to full political secession, separatist groups may seek nothing more than greater autonomy...

 and their allies (possibly, including volunteers from Russia). Armenians
Armenians in Abkhazia
The Armenians in Abkhazia form the second largest ethnic group in the region of Abkhazia after the Abkhaz. Armenians settled in Abkhazia in late 19th and the early 20th centuries and are now the largest ethnic group in Gagra, Sukhumi and Gulripsh districts forming 20% of the Abkhazian population...

, Greeks
Greeks in Georgia
The Greek diaspora in Georgia is estimated at between 15,000 and 20,000 people down from about 100,000 in 1989. The community has dwindled due to the large wave of repatriation to Greece , as well as emigration to Russia...

, Russians
Russians in Georgia
There is a substantial Russian population in Georgia. For many years, Georgia was a part of the Russian Empire, and later the Soviet Union with Russia, and as the two countries share a border, many Russians emigrated to live in the Northern regions of Georgia.However, the population has decreased...

 and moderate Abkhaz
Abkhaz people
The Abkhaz or Abkhazians are a Caucasian ethnic group, mainly living in Abkhazia, a disputed region on the Black Sea coast. A large Abkhazian diaspora population resides in Turkey, the origins of which lie in the emigration from the Caucasus in the late 19th century known as Muhajirism...

 were also killed. Roughly 200,000 to 250,000 Georgian civilians became Internally displaced person
Internally displaced person
An internally displaced person is someone who is forced to flee his or her home but who remains within his or her country's borders. They are often referred to as refugees, although they do not fall within the current legal definition of a refugee. At the end of 2006 it was estimated there were...

s (IDPs).
The ethnic cleansing and massacres of Georgians has been officially recognized by the OSCE conventions in 1994, 1996 and again in 1997 during the Budapest
Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

, Lisbon
Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 and Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

 summits and condemned the “perpetrators of war crimes committed during the conflict.” On May 15, 2008, the UN
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 adopted (by 14 votes to 11, with 105 abstentions) a resolution A/RES/62/249 in which it “Emphasizes the importance of preserving the property rights of refugees and internally displaced persons from Abkhazia, Georgia, including victims of reported “ethnic cleansing”, and calls upon all Member States to deter persons under their jurisdiction from obtaining property within the territory of Abkhazia, Georgia in violation of the rights of returnees”. UN Security Council passed series of resolutions in which it appeals for a cease-fire.

Background

See also Abkhazia#Demographics

Prior to the 1992 War, Georgians made up nearly half of Abkhazia's population, while less than one-fifth of the population was Abkhaz
Abkhaz people
The Abkhaz or Abkhazians are a Caucasian ethnic group, mainly living in Abkhazia, a disputed region on the Black Sea coast. A large Abkhazian diaspora population resides in Turkey, the origins of which lie in the emigration from the Caucasus in the late 19th century known as Muhajirism...

. In contrast, in 1926 the two populations were nearly balanced at around one-third each, with Russians, Armenians and Greeks constituting the remainder. Large-scale immigration of Georgians, Russians and Armenians allowed their respective populations to balloon; while the Abkhaz population had not even doubled by 1989, the Georgian population had nearly quadrupled from 67,494 to 239,872, the Armenian population had tripled and the Russian population had sextupled.

Military conflict in Abkhazia

See also Georgian-Abkhaz conflict
Georgian-Abkhaz conflict
The Georgian–Abkhazian conflict refers to the ethnic conflict between Georgians and Abkhazians in Abkhazia, which is presently a de facto independent partially recognized republic...



In 1992, the political situation in Abkhazia changed into the military confrontation between Georgian government and Abkhaz separatists. The fighting escalated as Georgian Interior and Defence Ministry forces
Military of Georgia
The Georgian Armed Forces , is the name of the unified armed forces of Georgia. The Georgian military is a defence force consisting of the Georgian Land Forces, Georgian Air Force and a paramilitary organization Georgian National Guard...

 along with police units took Sukhumi
Sukhumi
Sukhumi is the capital of Abkhazia, a disputed region on the Black Sea coast. The city suffered heavily during the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict in the early 1990s.-Naming:...

 and came near the city of Gudauta
Gudauta
Gudauta is a town in Abkhazia and a centre of the eponymous district. It is situated on the Black Sea, 37 km northwest to Sukhumi, the capital of Abkhazia....

. The ethnically-based policies initiated by the Georgians in Sukhumi created simultaneously refugees and a core of fighters determined to regain lost homes. However, as the war progressed, the Abkhaz separatist have carried out same policies of violent displacement of ethnic Georgians from their homes in greater proportions which has left 250,000 people being forcefully evicted from their homes. Under the alleged aid from Russia, they managed to re-arm and organize “volunteer battalions” from North Caucasus. According to political analyst Georgy Mirsky, the Russian military base in Gudauta was, “supplying the Abkhazian side with weapons and ammunition.” Furthermore he adds that, “no direct proof of this has ever been offered, but it would be more naïve to believe that the tanks, rockets, howitzers, pieces of ordnance, and other heavy weapons that the anti-Georgian coalition forces were increasing using in their war had been captured from the enemy.” This anti-Georgian military coalition were made up of North Caucasian Group “The Confederates of Mountain People of Caucasus”, Shamil Basaev’s Chechen division “Grey Wolf,” Armenian battalion “Bagramian,” Cossacks, militants from Transnistria and various Russian special units. According to Political Scientist Bruno Coppieters, "Western governments took some diplomatic initiatives in the United Nations and made up an appeal to Moscow to halt an active involvement of its military forces in the conflict. UN Security Council passed series of resolutions in which is appeals for a cease-fire and condemned the Abkhazian policy of ethnic-cleansing."

Confronted with hundreds of thousands of ethnic Georgians who were unwilling to leave their homes, the Abkhaz side implemented the process of ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic orreligious group from certain geographic areas....

 in order to expel and eliminate the Georgian ethnic population in Abkhazia.

The exact number of those killed during the ethnic cleansing is disputed, however, it ranges from 8,000 to 10,000 people, not including the civilians who were killed in 1998
War in Abkhazia (1998)
The War in Abkhazia in 1998 took place in the Gali district of Abkhazia, after ethnic Georgians launched an insurgency against the Abkhazian secessionist government...

 during the separatist onslaught on Gali
Gali district
Gali district is a district of Abkhazia. Its capital is Gali, the town by the same name. The district is smaller than the eponymous one in the de jure subdivision of Georgia, as some of its former territory is now part of Tkvarcheli District, formed by de facto Abkhaz authorities in 1995.Gali...

 region. Roughly 200,000 to 250,000 ethnic Georgians were expelled from their homes. The campaign ethnic cleansing also included Russians, Armenians, Greeks, moderate Abkhaz and other minor ethnic groups living in Abkhazia. More than 20,000 houses owned by ethnic Georgians were destroyed. Hundreds of Schools, kindergartens, churches, hospitals, historical monuments were pillaged and destroyed.

The 1994 U.S. State Department Country Reports describes scenes of massive human rights abuse, also supported by Human Rights Watch based on their own findings. According to U.S. State Department Country Report on Conflict in Abkhazia (Georgia) :
After the end of the war, the government of Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

, United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 and OSCE, as well as the refugees themselves, began to investigate and gather facts about the allegations of genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

, ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is a purposeful policy designed by one ethnic or religious group to remove by violent and terror-inspiring means the civilian population of another ethnic orreligious group from certain geographic areas....

 and deportation which was conducted by the Abkhaz side during the conflict.
In 1994 and again in 1996 the OSCE during the Budapest summit gave its official recognition of ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia and condemned the “perpetrators of war crimes committed during the conflict.”

On March 2006, the Hague War Crimes Tribunal announced that it had reviewed all the documents submitted by the Georgian side. After a full-scale investigation, the Tribunal concluded that it would prosecute and start hearings against the campaign of ethnic cleansing, war-crimes and terror inflicted on ethnic Georgians in Abkhazia.

According to Catherine Dale from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:

Facts of ethnic cleansing (1992-1993)

Following are few examples taken from the Helsinki Human Rights Watch Reports and documentation submitted for the review to United Nations and Hague War Crimes Tribunal.

Fall of Gagra

On September 3, 1992, the Russian mediated agreement was signed between Georgian and Abkhaz separatist sides which obliged Georgia to withdraw its military forces from the city of Gagra. The agreement forced Abkhaz separatists from Gudauta to hold their attacks on the city. Soon after, the Georgian forces which included Shavnabada
Shavnabada
Shavnabada is a mountain and extinct volcano of 2929 m/9507 ft height in southeastern Georgia, some 30 km from the nation’s capital Tbilisi. It is one of the highest mountains of the Abul-Samsari Range, a part of the Lesser Caucasus....

, Avaza and White Eagle battalions (along with their tanks and heavy artillery) left the city. Only small pockets of armed groups (made up of volunteers units of the ethnic Georgians of Gagra) remained. However, on October 1, the Abkhaz side violated the agreement and launched a full scale attack on Gagra. The attack was well coordinated and mainly carried out by the Chechen (under the command of Shamil Basaev) and North Caucasian militants. Meantime in Gagra, Georgian small detachments lost the control of the city suburbs (Leselidze and Kolkhida) and eventually were destroyed in the city center by the end of October 1. With the fall of the city, the Georgian population of Gagra was captured by the separatists and their allies. The first major massacres and ethnic-cleansing were committed during the fall of Gagra.

People of all ages were rounded up from Gagra, Leselidze, Kolkhida and killed. When the separatist militants entered the city, civilians became a target of mass murder. The main targets were young people and children. According to the witness account: "When I returned home I was surprised to see a lot of armed people on the street. They were quiet. I mistook one of them for my Georgian neighbour, and I said, "How are you?" in Georgian. He grabbed me by the wrist and said, "Keep quiet." I wasn’t afraid for myself; I thought they had killed my family. He asked me in Russian, "Where are your young people? We won’t kill you, we’ll kill them." I said they weren’t here, that there were only old people left."
Women and young girls captured by the militants became the victims of rape and torture. One elderly Georgian woman who lived through the October attack in Gagra recounted the following: "They brought over a blind man and his brother, who always stayed with him. They began to beat the blind man, his brother and his wife with a gun butt, calling him "dog!" and kicking him. He fell over. I saw blood. One soldier said: "We won’t kill you, but where are the young girls?" I said there weren’t any."
After the fall of Gagra, the victors started to pillage, rape, and torture followed by summary executions of everyone who was captured and failed to flee the city in time. At 5:00 pm on October 1, civilians (approximately 1000-1500 people) were rounded up and placed under the guard at the soccer stadium in downtown Gagra. On October 6, close to 50 civilians had been found hanging on electricity poles. Soon after, children, elderly, women and men who were detained on the soccer stadium were gunned down and dumped in mass graves not far from the stadium.

A Russian military observer Mikhail Demianov (who was accused by the Georgian side of being the military advisor to the separatist leader Ardzinba) told Human Rights Watch:
UN observers started to investigate and gather all the facts concerning the war crimes during the fall of Gagra. Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council of Abkhazia Mikhail Jinjaradze was dragged out from his office and executed.

Massacre in Kamani

After the failed attempt of the separatist forces and their allies to storm Sukhumi on March 14, 1993, Abkhaz diverted their main forces to the northern side of the front line which divided Georgian held Sukhumi and separatist controlled territories. On July 4, the Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus militia, Abkhaz formations, and Armenian Bagramyan battalion
Bagramyan Battalion
The Bagramyan Battalion was a battalion formed in Abkhazia, Georgia and predominantly composed of ethnic Armenians living in Abkhazia that fought together with pro-independence Abkhaz forces during the War in Abkhazia...

 transported by allegedly Russian naval forces to the city of Tkhvarcheli began their offensive on the northern Sukhumi district. Georgian forces and local volunteer units (including Ukrainian nationalist organization members(UNA-UNSO) which fought at Georgian side as volunteers) stationed in the villages of Shroma, Tamishi and Kamani
Kamani
Kamani is a village in Bhamo Township in Bhamo District in the Kachin State of north-eastern Burma..It is also the Hawaiian name for the tropical tree Calophyllum inophyllum.-External links:*...

 were taken by surprise. On July 5, after intensive fighting, Georgians lost as many as 500 people in a couple of hours. The village of Kamani fell into the hands of separatist formations and their North Caucasian allies. Kamani was populated mainly by Svans
Svans
The Svans are a group of Georgians that mostly live in Svaneti, a region of Georgia speaking the Svan language. The self designated Svan is Mushüan, known to the ancient authors as Misimian.-History:...

 (a sub-ethnic group of the Georgian people) and by Orthodox
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 nuns who had been living in the church of St George located in the center of the village. The local villagers (including women and children) were massacred while the church of St George became the scene of a blood bath. The nuns were raped and killed in front of the orthodox priests, father Yuri Anua and father Andria. Both priests were taken outside of the church and questioned about the ownership of the land in Abkhazia. After answering that Abkhazia was neither Georgian nor Abkhaz land but God's, they were shot by a confederate soldier. Another priest was killed along with father Yuri Anua and father Andria, an ethnic Abkhaz who was forced to shoot father Andria before he was killed. Approximately, 120 inhabitants of the village were massacred.

Fall of Sukhumi

Thomas Goltz, a war correspondent who visited Abkhazia during the war, recalls that Russian MIG-29’s dropped 500 kilograms of vacuum bombs which mainly targeted the residential areas of Sukhumi and villages on Gumista River. The Russian journalist Dmitry Kholodov
Dmitry Kholodov
Dmitry Yuryevich Kholodov was educated as a physicist and began his working life, alongside his parents, at the defence industry institute in Klimovsk in the Moscow Region. Faced by limited career prospects he turned to journalism, first working for the local radio. In 1992 he became a reporter...

 stayed in Sukhumi before it fell to separatists and wrote couple of report from the besieged city,
On July 27, 1993, a Russian-brokered trilateral agreement on a cease-fire and principles for the solution of the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict was signed. Once again Georgian military started to withdraw all of its heavy artillery, tanks and significant number of its troops from Sukhumi. The Abkhaz separatists along with their allies were bound by the agreement to hold their offensive and heavy bombardment of the city. In return, the Georgian side was reassured by Russia that Sukhumi would not be attacked or bombed if Georgian army would complete its withdrawal. The Georgian troops along with their tanks were evacuated by the Russian military ships to the city of Poti. The city was left without any significant military defense. A large number of civilians stayed in Sukhumi and all school were re-opened on September 1. The large number of IDPs returned to their homes and the normal life resumed in Sukhumi. According to Shevardnadze he trusted Yeltsin and the Russian guarantees and therefore, asked the population to return. However, the Abkhaz separatists, North Caucasian Volunteers, Cossacks and Russian special forces attacked Sukhumi on September 16 at 8 a.m.

It marked the beginning of 12 days non-stop fighting around the besieged Sukhumi with intensive fighting and human loss from the both sides. Georgians who stayed in the city with only rifles and AK 47's were left without any defense from artillery or mechanized units. The union of theater actors of Sukhumi joined fighting along with other civilians who decided to fight. The city was mercilessly bombed by Russian air forces and separatist artillery. On September 27, the city fell as Abkhaz, Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus
Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus
Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus is a militarized political organization composed of militants from the North Caucasian republics of the Russian Federation. This controversial organization, later renamed into the Confederation of the Peoples of the Caucasus , was formed on the eve...

 (CMPC) and Russian units stormed the House of the Government of Abkhazia. One of the most horrific massacres of this war was waged on the civilian population of Sukhumi after its downfall. During the storming of the city, close to 1,000 people perished as Abkhaz formations overran the streets of the city. The civilians who were trapped in the city were taken from their houses, basements and apartment building. In Tamaz Nadareishvili's book, Genocide in Abkhazia, the eye witness interviews of the IDPs includes the following account by the elderly Georgian refugee who survived the war:
The separatists and their allies captured the Chairman of the Supreme Council Zhiuli Shartava
Zhiuli Shartava
Zhiuli Shartava was a Georgian politician and the Head of the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia who was killed by Abkhaz militants during the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia in 1993....

, the Mayor of Sukhumi Guram Gabiskiria
Guram Gabiskiria
Guram Gabiskiria was a Mayor of Sukhumi who was murdered by Abkhaz separatists during the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia in 1993....

, Mamia Alasania
Mamia Alasania
Mamia Alasania was a colonel of the Georgian Armed Forces, defending the Government of the Georgian Autonomous Republic of Abkazia from separatist and russian combatants during the conflict in Abkhazia in 1990s...

 and other members of the Abkhaz government including the members of Sukhumi police. Initially they were promised safety, but eventually killed, and the UN report mentions Shartava being excessively tortured.
A Georgian women who survived Sukhumi massacre, recalls her ordeal in an interview with Russian film director Andrei Nekrasov,
The massacres continued after the fall of Sukhumi for about two weeks. Georgians who had failed to flee the city had been hiding in abandoned apartment buildings and house basements. Upon discovery by the militants, they were killed on the spot. One of the most brutal massacres of the war was committed during this period. Video materials show a 5 year old child being brutally killed by Abkhaz militant in front of his mother on the streets of Sukhumi. Abkhaz nationals were also targeted during the Sukhumi massacres. Anyone who had tried to hide a Georgian refugee or helped in any way was condemned and killed. "Temur Kutarba, an Abhazian, was killed by an Adighe Soldier in front of his children, for not being active in killing Georgians. V. Vadakaria, 23 and his Abhazian friend, who tried to defend him, both were killed."

Ochamchire

Approximately 400 Georgian families were killed during the Abkhaz offensive on Ochamchire
Ochamchire
Ochamchira is a seaside city on the Black Sea coast of Abkhazia, Georgia, and a centre of the eponymous district.According to the 1978 population census, Ochamchira had 18,700 residents. After the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict of 1992-93, Ochamchira experienced a significant population decline due to...

. Similar to Gagra events of 1992, the local inhabitants were driven to the city soccer stadium Akhaldaba. Men, women and children were separated from each other. Within hours, the men were executed while women and teenagers were raped and later killed. According to witness accounts, Abkhaz separatist organized detention camps where teenage girls and women were kept for 25 days. During this period they were systematically raped and abused. Besides the atrocities being committed against civilians, more than 50 Georgian prisoners of war were executed. The mass killing of civilians also occurred in other parts of the Ochamchire district, mainly in Kochara (heavily populated by ethnic Georgians, 5340 persons according to pre-war estimates). Approximately 235 civilians were killed and 1000 houses were destroyed.

The former resident of Ochamchire district, Leila Goletiani, who was taken prisoner by Abkhaz separatists, gave the following account of her captivity to the Russian film director Andrei Nekrasov
Andrei Nekrasov
Andrei Lvovich Nekrasov is a Russian film and TV director from Saint Petersburg.Andrei Nekrasov studied acting and directing at the State Institute for Theater and Film in his native Saint Petersburg. He studied comparative literature and philosophy at the University of Paris, taking a master's...

:

Gali

After the fall of Sukhumi, the only region in Abkhazia which maintained its large ethnic Georgian population was Gali
Gali district
Gali district is a district of Abkhazia. Its capital is Gali, the town by the same name. The district is smaller than the eponymous one in the de jure subdivision of Georgia, as some of its former territory is now part of Tkvarcheli District, formed by de facto Abkhaz authorities in 1995.Gali...

. The ethnic composition of Gali region differed from the rest of Abkhazia. The region was mainly populated by ethnic Georgians and never experienced any military activity during the war. In the beginning of 1994, Abkhaz separatists confronted by the reality of the large ethnic Georgian presence within the borders of Abkhazia continued its policy of ethnic cleansing and forced expulsion of ethnic Georgians. United Nations observers witnessed the events of 94 as they unfolded. Between February 8 and 13 Abkhaz separatist militia and their allies attacked the villages and populated areas of Gali region, killing, raping and destroying houses (approximately 4,200 houses were destroyed as the result). Despite the presence of Russian CIS peacekeeping forces, the massacres and mass killing of ethnic Georgians was carried out between 1995-1996 which resulted in 450 death and thousands of IDPs fleeing eastwards.

Post-war period

The Human Rights Watch report which was drafted in 1995 and included detailed account of the war crimes and atrocities committed during the war concludes that, "Human Rights Watch finds Abkhaz forces responsible for the foreseeable wave of revenge, human rights abuse, and war crimes that was unleashed on the Georgian population in Sukhumi and other parts of Abkhazia. In Human Rights Watch's judgment, these practices were indeed encouraged in order to drive the Georgian population from its homes."

"And out of group of 12 front line soldiers, 2 were Abkhazian, 2 were Armenian, 1 Armenian locally from Sukhumi, 1 from Yerevan who was too young to go fight the good fight in Karabakh, and the rest were either from the North Caucasus or from places like in Siberia. What were they motivated by? Looting. They had been promised houses with tangerine gardens. They had been promised cars."

The legacy of ethnic cleansing in Abkhazia had been devastating for the Georgian society. The war and the subsequent systematic ethnic cleansing produced about 200,000-250,000 of IDPs
Internally displaced person
An internally displaced person is someone who is forced to flee his or her home but who remains within his or her country's borders. They are often referred to as refugees, although they do not fall within the current legal definition of a refugee. At the end of 2006 it was estimated there were...

 that fled to various Georgian regions, mostly in Samegrelo
Samegrelo
Samegrelo/Samargalo or Megrelia, Mingrelia is a historic province in the western part of Georgia, formerly also known as Odishi.It is inhabited by the Megrelians, an ethnic subgroup of the Georgians.-Geography and Climate:...

 (Mingrelia) (112,208; UNHCR, June 2000). In Tbilisi and elsewhere in Georgia refugees occupy hundreds of hotels, dormitories and abandoned Soviet military barracks for temporary residency. Many of them have to leave for other countries, primarily to Russia, to search for work.

Many refugees living in Georgia resist assimilation into the Georgian society. Georgia's government also has not encouraged the assimilation of the refugees fearing that it would "lose one of the arguments for retaining hegemony over Abkhazia".

Some 60,000 Georgian refugees spontaneously returned to Abkhazia's Gali district
Gali district
Gali district is a district of Abkhazia. Its capital is Gali, the town by the same name. The district is smaller than the eponymous one in the de jure subdivision of Georgia, as some of its former territory is now part of Tkvarcheli District, formed by de facto Abkhaz authorities in 1995.Gali...

 between 1994 and 1998, but tens of thousands were displaced again when fighting resumed in the Gali district in 1998. Nevertheless from 40,000 to 60,000 refugees have returned to the Gali district since 1998, including persons commuting daily across the ceasefire line and those migrating seasonally in accordance with agricultural cycles. The human rights situation remains precarious in the Georgian-populated areas of the Gali district. The United Nations and other international organizations have been fruitlessly urging the Abkhaz de facto authorities "to refrain from adopting measures incompatible with the right to return and with international human rights standards, such as discriminatory legislation... [and] to cooperate in the establishment of a permanent international human rights office in Gali and to admit United Nations civilian police without further delay."

See also

  • United Nations resolutions on Abkhazia
    United Nations resolutions on Abkhazia
    220px|thumb|United Nations map of AbkhaziaThe Security Council of the United Nations passed 32 resolutions where it recognizes Abkhazia as an integral part of Georgia and supports its territorial integrity according to the principles of the international law...

  • Georgian Civil War
    Georgian Civil War
    The Georgian Civil War consisted of inter-ethnic and intranational conflicts in the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia , as well as the violent military coup d'etat of December 21, 1991 - January 6, 1992 against the first democratically elected President of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia and his...

  • History of Georgia
    History of Georgia (country)
    The nation of Georgia was first unified as a kingdom under the Bagrationi dynasty in the 9th to 10th century, arising from a number of predecessor states of ancient Colchis and Iberia...

  • Ethnic Cleansing of Georgians in South Ossetia
    Ethnic cleansing of Georgians in South Ossetia
    Ethnic cleansing of Georgians in South Ossetia was the removal of Georgian people, which was conducted in South Ossetia and other territories occupied by Russian and South Ossetian forces, which happened during and after the 2008 South Ossetia war....



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