Bloomberg News

Georgian Premier Seeks to Probe Saakashvili Over 2008 Russia War

April 10, 2013

Georgian Prime MinisterBidzina Ivanishvili wants to question President Mikheil Saakashvili over the country’s five-day war with Russia in 2008, a probe that may lead to legal proceedings against Saakashvili.

The president and the government “acted inadequately” and the Georgian army acted before Russian forces crossed the border during the conflict over the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, Ivanishvili, who defeated Saakashvili’s party in October parliamentary elections, said at a news conference in the capital, Tbilisi, today.

Ivanishvili, Georgia’s richest man, pledged to improve the rule of law and raise living standards. He also aims to develop relations with Russia, which routed its southern neighbor in the 2008 war, recognized the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and vowed to defend their borders.

“Personally, I have questions,” Ivanishvili said. “Everything was in the dark” during the war. “I think we need objective facts. I’ve always said that it would be better to start international monitoring.”

There is “documented evidence” that Russia initiated the military action in the 2008 conflict, in which Georgian soldiers and civilians were “dying before it all started,” Giorgi Kandelaki, a lawmaker for Saakashvili’s United National Movement party, said by phone today.

If Saakashvili is tried, that needs to be done in a “cultured and civilized” manner to avoid damaging Georgia’s image, Ivanishvili said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Helena Bedwell in Tbilisi at hbedwell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net


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