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Bill on Occupied Territories Signed into Law
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 31 Oct.'08 / 16:53

President Saakashvili has signed into law a document on the occupied territories passed by Parliament last week, according to the president’s administration.

The law covers breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia. 

The law envisages restrictions on free movement and economic activities in the territories.

In particular, according to the law, foreign citizens should only enter the two breakaway regions through Georgia proper.

The law specifies that in case of Abkhazia the entry should be carried out from the Zugdidi district and in case of South Ossetia - from the Gori district. The major road leading to South Ossetia from the rest of Georgia passes through the Gori district. 

The document, however, also lists those “special cases” in which entry into the breakaway regions will not be regarded as illegal. It says that “a special permit” on entry into the breakaway regions can be issued, if this trip there “serves Georgia’s state interests; peaceful resolution of the conflict; de-occupation or humanitarian purposes.”

The law also bans “any type of economic activity – entrepreneurial or non- entrepreneurial,” if such activities require permits, licenses or registration in accordance with Georgian legislation. It also bans air, sea and railway communications and international transit via the regions; and mineral exploration and money transfers.

The provision covering economic activities is retroactive, going back to 1990.

The law says that the Russian Federation – the state, “which has carried out military occupation” – is fully responsible for the violation of human rights in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Russian Federation, according to the document, is also responsible for compensation of “material and moral damage inflicted on Georgian citizens, stateless persons and foreign citizens, who are in Georgia and enter the occupied territories with appropriate permits.”

The law also says that de facto state agencies and officials operating in the occupied territories are regarded as “illegal.”

The law will remain in force until “the full restoration” of Georgian jurisdiction over the breakaway regions is realised.

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