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Additional Information Needed for Kodori Shelling Probe
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 3 Apr.'07 / 17:40

Further progress in the investigation process into the reported March 11 shelling of the Tbilisi-controlled upper Kodori Gorge in breakaway Abkhazia requires additional information, UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) said on April 3.

Tbilisi has claimed that the area came under fire from Russian army helicopters and Abkhaz artillery.

A Joint Fact-Finding Group (JFFG) has already conducted two trips to the upper Kodori Gorge to investigate. However, no findings of the probe have been released yet.

JFFG is headed by the UN Observer Mission in Georgia, but as it also involves representatives of Russian peacekeepers, and both the Georgian and Abkhaz sides, any conclusions reached must reflect the views of all four members.

In a press-release, which contains very general information on the investigation process, UNOMIG said that during the probe JFFG had “collected and examined evidence from ordnance involved in the attack to determine what type of weaponry was involved.”

Investigators have also conducted “numerous interviews” with local residents, personnel of the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs and CIS peacekeepers, “to establish the best possible account of the incident,” according to UNOMIG.

“Additionally, in an effort to determine the direction and distance from which the attacks were conducted, the JFFG conducted ‘crater analysis’ of 17 different ground impact sites and inspected the damaged Chkhalta administration building. In the course of four separate sessions, the JFFG was provided [with] relevant information from joint working groups of experts on artillery, aviation and ammunition issues. All parties have presented information and arguments useful in interpreting the events,” the UNOMIG press release reads.

“Consensus has been reached on a number of aspects of the incident. The JFFG has also agreed that further progress requires additional information, which it expects to be provided in the near future.”

JFFG has been in existence since January 2000 and is convened by UNOMIG’s chief Military Observer, or on the request of any other party, to look into reported violations of the Moscow 1994 ceasefire agreement.

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