GENEVA, June 8 (Itar-Tass) — International legal experts have arrived at the conclusion “there are no reasons to speculate about some sort of Russian occupation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told Itar-Tass in the wake of Thursday’s information session.
The information session preceded the ongoing 20th round of consultations on ensuring security and stability in Trans-Caucasia. It was devoted to the legality of using the term “occupied territories” in relation to Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
“The experts used some international examples to prove that the term ‘occupation’ is utterly inappropriate in relation to the Russian troop contingents stationed in the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” Karasin said.
As an argument the experts mentioned a number of conventions, including the 4th Hague convention of 1907 on laws and customs of war on land, which stipulates that a territory shall be recognized as ‘occupied’, if it is under the control of an enemy army. As Karasin explained, the regime of occupation is characterized by the transition of powers from the local government to the authorities of the occupying state, the establishment of an interim administration to govern the territories and the mandatory regulatory acts the authorities of occupation issue for the local population.
“The participants in the information session were able to see for themselves that the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia is fundamentally different, Karasin said, adding that “the Russian troops stationed there have never substituted for the local bodies of power or issued any regulatory acts mandatory for the population. They address purely military tasks for ensuring the security of Abkhazia and South Ossetia with the consent of the respective states.”
Karasin said “those who have so far used heavily politicized Georgian propaganda without taking the trouble to check the sources of international law should be more attentive and responsible in their statements and actions.”
The international experts who participated in the information session – Louise Doswald-Beck and Hans-Peter Hasser – had been invited by the co-chairs of the Geneva discussions – the United Nations, the EU and the OSCE.