PM Bidzina Ivanishvili kept on insisting in a written statement on April 12 that “truth” about circumstances of the August, 2008 war should be established and in the process “everyone, including the President, will have to appear for questioning as many times as needed.”
On April 11 President Saakashvili said that PM’s April 10 remarks about the August war amounted to giving Russia "legal justification for occupation" of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Saakashvili was referring to remarks by PM Ivanishvili when he said on April 10, that circumstances of the August, 2008 war still remained “obscured by fog” and should be investigated. “I personally have many questions and I also think that our authorities, including the President, acted inadequately in that situation,” Ivanishvili said. "I think it was unjustifiable to start military actions before Russian [troops] crossed into Georgian borders." Ivanishvili also said that President Saakashvili should be questioned in the process “if needed.” Saakashvili responded on April 11 that he would not cooperate “even a second with this anti-state investigation, whose eventual goal is to shake Georgia's statehood and which is directed against territorial integrity of our country.”
Chief prosecutor, Archil Kbilashvili, said on April 11 that a group of prosecutors would be set up to probe into alleged war crimes - the investigation, which was opened by the previous government and which is under preliminary examination from Office of the Prosecutor of The Hague-based International Criminal Court.
On April 12 PM Ivanishvili released a statement saying that his response to a journalist question on April 10 caused "groundless" hype and that he had “never stated that Georgia was the aggressor and that Georgia started the war.”
“Our army has not crossed into other country’s borders and has not intruded into other country’s territory,” PM’s statement reads.
Saakashvili said on April 12 in response to Ivanishvili’s written statement that he’s already accustomed to PM at first saying “something completely strange and unacceptable” and then explaining and revising his own initial remarks. Saakashvili said that he would not have even commented on that, but this recent case was serious as it was related to the war and Georgia’s sovereignty.
“What he said two days ago it was revision of fundamental issues of Georgia’s sovereignty … He said exactly what Russia has been saying throughout recent years,” Saakashvili said.
The Prime Minister said in his written statement that “it was Russia, which violated borders of the sovereign state and carried out aggression against our country, which led to occupation of our territories.”
“But despite of that, it is our obligation to answer to all the questions, which cause concern of our society. We should investigate and establish the truth, which, I am absolutely sure, will not in any way harm our country’s image,” PM Ivanishvili said in the statement adding that the investigation cannot either harm Georgia’s territorial integrity because no matter what the actions of then Georgian authorities were “it cannot justify Russian aggression.”
“Establishing the truth is important for our country; unbiased investigation will put an end to speculations with this topic of war; establishing principle of justice will increase Georgia’s authoritativeness and its reliability,” the statement reads.
“It is required to answer to many war-related questions, existing in address of the previous authorities – why did Saakashvili fail to evade an obvious provocation; how were the supreme commander and the government acting; why were high ranking representatives of the government meddling in command of the military operations, which led to chaos and disorder; why there was so large number of casualties among civilian population; why did the government fail to evacuate the civilian population; why were our reserve troops… left without commander,” PM’s statement reads.
He says that no one doubts in “heroism” of the Georgian armed forces.
“Questions are only being asked in the address of political leadership – the supreme commander and the entire government and they are obliged before the law to answer these questions,” the statement says.
“I think, those times are now over when Saakashvili was personally defining who should and who should not answered to questions painful for the people. The time when the ruler of the country puts himself above the law should be over in Georgia once and for all.”
“Now the rule of law is essential and everyone, including the President, will have to appear for questioning as many times as needed,” PM’s statement reads.
“The fact that Saakashvili yielded to Russia’s provocation is beyond any doubt. But neither did Russia win by this provocation and I hope they too realize it well in Russia.”
“I believe that our country will definitely manage to return occupied territories through right diplomatic and prudent steps,” Ivanishvili’s statement reads.
President Saakashvili reiterated on April 12, that he would not cooperate with the war-related investigation; he said that this investigation would aim at portraying then leadership of Georgia as being at fault for launching the war, which in turn would damage Georgia’s sovereignty.
“This is completely Russian game,” Saakashvili said. “I declare with full responsibility that not a single Georgian patriot can take part in this investigation; this investigation is Russian game and dancing on Russian tunes,” Saakashvili said and added “everyone will be held responsible in the future” who will become part of this investigation.