April 14, 2009

Clearance and Risk Education

To stop the number of civilian casualties from duds from rising, efficient and effective clearance is imperative. “If I find one cluster, I save one life,” said Amir Musanovic, who in October 2008 was leading a team of NPA deminers in Ruisi.[176] NPA estimated then that there were “thousands” of unexploded submunitions to be cleared.[177] As of February 2009, international deminers estimated submunitions had contaminated 15 million square meters, and they expected to continue clearance in Georgia until at least August 2009.[178] Human Rights Watch’s investigation showed that many of the submunitions were hidden in cornfields and cabbage beds, and by February, most of the remaining submunitions were buried below the surface.[179] This situation has not only caused socioeconomic harm but also complicated clearance.

Since the end of the war, both military and NGO deminers have tackled the problem. They have faced a range of challenges, including their different standards of clearance as well as a lack of resources, environmental factors, and complications from civilians. With better coordination and ongoing risk education programs, however, they can keep the number of civilian casualties from duds to a minimum.

Russian Military

Before they withdrew from the buffer zone adjoining South Ossetia on October 10,[180] Russian forces did extensive clearance of submunitions. Civilians reported clearance by Russian troops in Disti, Kvemo Khviti, Tirdznisi, Variani, Varianis Meurneoba, and Zemo Khviti.[181] Multiple residents of a neighborhood in Variani said the Russian forces had removed duds from their homes and gardens,[182] and several civilians of other villages reported that the Russian troops cleared “a lot.”[183] The Russian forces may have also destroyed duds elsewhere, but the full extent of their efforts is unknown. They have not publicly reported on their clearance, and in its official letter to Human Rights Watch on January 30, 2009, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to a request for information about its clearance efforts.[184] That letter also did not answer a question about whether Russia had provided strike data, including the locations, types, and numbers of cluster munitions used, to deminers in either Georgia or South Ossetia. As of February 2009, deminers working in the Gori and Kareli districts of Georgia had not received such information, which is necessary to facilitate clearance.[185]

Russia should continue to provide assistance with clearance to ensure civilians are not killed or injured by the duds left behind. Such assistance should ideally meet the standards of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but it should at least follow the provisions laid out in CCW Protocol V, which entered into force for Russia in January 2009. According to both instruments, Russia should provide technical, financial, material, or human assistance for clearance. In particular, Russia should immediately share with demining organizations on the ground the specific locations of cluster munition attacks and the specific types and quantities of weapons used.

Georgian Military

More is known about clearance by the Georgian military. When Russian forces withdrew from Gori and Kareli districts, the Georgian military stepped in with an engineering brigade of 80 deminers.[186] In October 2008, local residents noted Georgian clearance in Brotsleti, Dzlevijvari, Shindisi, Tirdznisi, and Variani,[187] and it might have been occurring in other towns as well. In Variani, for example, Tengo Kebadze said Georgian troops removed 27 duds from his cherry orchard. “They cleared on the spot—as soon as they came in, after the Russians left,” Kebadze said.[188] By February 2009 the Georgian military deminers had ceased their operations, but NPA was training 24 national deminers who were scheduled to start work in March 2009.[189]

While the Georgian deminers cleared large numbers of duds over a wide area,[190] they focused on surface clearance at the expense of more systematic clearance that also deals with submunitions below the surface. An officer in charge of military engineers said in October 2008, “We are in almost all villages with six-man teams.... We take a village and start demining. We do systematic surface clearance. We do our best to clear the surface. Then we give territory to [international deminers] to do subsurface.”[191] The International Campaign to Ban Landmines’ Landmine Monitor Report 2008 reported that before the war Georgia hoped to upgrade its clearance standards to meet the widely accepted International Mine Action Standards,[192] but it had not done so as of fall 2008. Mick McDonnell, operations manager of Information Management & Mine Action Programs (iMMAP), told Human Rights Watch in October 2008, “Georgians are doing the first level of clearance flat out. Their response should be applauded. A lot of countries don’t do that.” As McDonnell pointed out, however, this procedure has created challenges that will be discussed below.[193]

Humanitarian concerns guided Georgian clearance efforts, according the officer in charge. The deminers prioritized the submunitions most tempting to children. He said, “Everything that is beautiful or attractive to kids, we destroy first.”[194] Furthermore, these deminers tried to remove duds from the area before destroying them. If it was not possible to render them safe and move them, they destroyed unexploded submunitions in situ.[195]

Even looking only on the surface, Georgian deminers expressed surprise at the high number of duds, especially M85s, they found. The high-ranking engineer said, “For us what is surprising as professionals is all the cluster munitions we’re finding there, and the problem is the majority [of the M85s that were launched] are unexploded.”[196] The officer said they passed the information they found on to the Ministry of Defense for its M85 investigation.

Georgia should coordinate on clearance with international demining organizations, including by providing details on the clearance done by the Georgian military and by providing information on the specific locations of cluster munitions attacks and the specific types and quantities of weapons used. Its performance of remedial measures should ideally meet the standards of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but it should at least follow the provisions laid out in CCW Protocol V, which will enter into force for Georgia in June 2009.

Georgia should also provide assistance with any remedial measures necessary in South Ossetia, including by providing strike data to those in charge of clearance. Such assistance should ideally meet the standards of the Convention on Cluster Munitions, but it should at least follow the provisions laid out in CCW Protocol V.

NGO Clearance

NGOs have also played an important role in cluster munition clearance in Georgia. HALO Trust and NPA have taken charge of the fieldwork, while iMMAP is serving in a coordination role.

HALO Trust, a non-profit organization that “specialises in the removal of the hazardous debris of war,”[197] started clearance immediately because it already had established clearance programs in Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia.[198] As of February 2008 it had about 30 teams of 12 deminers, totaling 360 deminers, in action.[199] It has assumed responsibility for surveying and mapping areas contaminated with submuniton duds and other forms of unexploded ordnance.[200] Human Rights Watch found HALO Trust’s red warning signs in several towns it visited, and HALO Trust has published maps of danger areas along the Gori-Tskhinvali corridor south of the South Ossetian administrative border.[201] It has also conducted clearance, including in Akhaldaba, Brotsleti, Pkhvenisi, Ruisi, Shindisi, and Tirdznisi.[202] Like Human Rights Watch, HALO Trust has found three types of submunitions: the AO-2.5 RTM, 9N210, and M85.[203]

A humanitarian organization whose work includes demining and anti-cluster munition advocacy,[204] NPA joined the clearance efforts at the end of September 2008. To expedite the process, it brought in experienced deminers who have worked in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Lebanon. Between September and December 2008 its deminers had control of 1.5 million square meters of contaminated land in Ruisi and cleared 35 9N210 submunitions. “We started in Ruisi because we couldn’t enter the buffer zone [that Russia occupied before October 10],” said then-Program Manager Joseph Huber. “If there’s a higher priority, we’d move.”[205] In March 2009 Huber’s replacement, Jonathon Guthrie, reported that NPA was working in Kvemo Khviti, where it has found 9N210s and M85s, and Zemo Nikozi, where it has found 9N210s.[206] It expected to complete clearance in those villages by August 2009. It is now responsible for clearing two million square meters.[207]

These international NGOs follow International Mine Action Standards, which are higher than the standards used by the Georgian military. Amir Musanovic, who was leading NPA’s clearance team in Ruisi, described a three-level approach to clearance. Visual clearance focuses on surface submunitions, and subsurface clearance targets submunitions either 10 centimeters or 30 centimeters deep. NPA has looked for submunitions at all of those levels, allowing it to find 9N210s buried about 35 centimeters in the ground. In Ruisi, the complete process took 15 days for an approximately 100,000 square meter area covered by a 12-person team. To prevent casualties and achieve desired clearance rates, NPA surveys land even when residents claim it has been cleared. It also carefully marks danger areas with red sticks and safe ones with white sticks.[208]

While HALO Trust and NPA work on the clearance itself, iMMAP provides coordination. A leader in the development of landmine and cluster surveying technologies, iMMAP provides mapping and management services to those involved in clearance, including setting up an Explosive Remnants of War Coordination Center to administer the work of the various demining actors.[209] In Georgia, its role is to coordinate the activities of all deminers, whether military or NGO, and serve as a clearinghouse of information. According to Operations Manager McDonnell, iMMAP had been trying to establish an office in Georgia for seven years, but the recent conflict finally persuaded Georgia to agree to one in mid-October.[210] It has since coordinated with about a dozen government agencies as well as HALO Trust and NPA to promote information exchange and cooperation. It is also working with other organizations on a survey of civilian casualties.[211]

Community Clearance

As in most conflicts involving cluster munitions, local people have also tried to clear duds. Community clearance endangers the individual doing it and others in the area because civilians generally use unsafe methods to destroy submunitions. It also complicates the work of professional deminers because it disturbs the ordnance while often failing to destroy it. Despite the risks, locals say they are driven to clear by the need to protect their families and to work in their fields.

The clearance by Ramaz Pataradze, a 38-year-old farmer, exemplifies the problem. Pataradze described putting cardboard boxes over M85s in the fields of Shindisi and laying twigs on top. Then he lit the twigs to blow up the submunitions. He said he had done this 10 to 15 times between August 21 and October 17. Although he had seen warnings on posters and on television, he explained that personal safety and economic necessity drove him to take the risk; he walks through the fields with his cows even at night. “I’m going there [to the contaminated field] to harvest and take my cows. What should I do?” he asked.[212] While some Georgians have made the same choice as Pataradze, Guthrie reported an ongoing problem in February 2009.[213] Human Rights Watch found that far fewer had done so than in previous conflicts where cluster munitions were used, such as Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan.[214]

Challenges

Deminers have faced numerous challenges in the course of cluster munition clearance although many of them have been reduced over time. Challenges have ranged from coordination to resource shortages, from environmental factors to complications from civilians.

Coordination

One of the biggest initial challenges was a lack of coordination among various demining agencies, which used different methods of clearance. As described above, the Georgian military focused on faster, surface clearance, and the international organizations adopt a slower but more thorough approach. The contrast frustrated international deminers, who follow international standards and want information on exactly what other groups have cleared. In October 2008 Huber said, “The problem we have is the Georgian Army and Ministry of Interior are collecting and destroying stuff. No one knows what they’re doing. There’s a gap if nothing is recorded. It will be a problem for future clearance. We have to redo from the beginning without knowing where the strikes were.”[215] Huber continued, “The Georgian Army is running all over the place. They remove what they find on the surface, but if there’s a problem, there is no marking, no register. That’s changing. We’re asking them to mark.”[216] According to McDonnell of iMMAP, who was striving to bring the groups together, the Georgian deminers in turn distrusted the foreigners.[217]

The difference in approaches was not merely an internal debate, but has also affected civilians. To clarify the distinction, an officer in charge of the Georgian deminers said, “[The Georgian military] distribute[s] posters, and when done with our clearance, we tell the local population to wait until the subsurface is done.... We don’t give any guarantees.”[218] A Shindisi woman recognized the limitations of surface-only clearance. “The deminers did visual clearance but have not done a thorough search of the area. I don’t go to my garden. I am afraid of this area. Two of them fell near my house, and I saw the clearance done.”[219] While this woman understood that the surface approach was insufficient, others may have become confused by the mixed messages.[220] They may have assumed since a group did some clearance, even surface clearance, an area must be safe, but in fact subsurface submunitions continue to pose risks. The Georgian military has since ceased regular demining, and NPA reports now having good relationships with military authorities.[221]

Resource Shortages

Resource shortages also interfered with early clearance. According to NPA, getting enough explosives to destroy the submunition duds it found had been a major impediment to demining.[222]

 

For the Georgian military, the loss of equipment during the conflict presented an obstacle to clearance. “We [the deminers] did not participate in the war, and we lost our equipment when the Russians took it. We had a new system of mine searching, specialized demining vehicles, all of which were taken by the Russians. There was a lot of capacity lost, and that’s an impediment,” said the engineering officer.[223]

In February 2009 McDonnell and Guthrie said the earlier resource shortages had been resolved, but McDonnell noted that “clearance operations are nearly always under resourced.”[224] Guthrie added that that lack of information remained a major problem.[225]

Environmental Factors

The environment also has threatened the progress of clearance. Huber highlighted the difficulties of clearing submunitions among trees and in cornfields. “It is not that easy to work in these areas. People want to harvest,” he said. In October 2008 Musanovic was worried about the approaching winter. “We will do a survey in the whole village because with the snow we will lose all evidence.”[226] Snow both covers duds and creates mud, driving them deeper underground. The Georgian military also expressed concern about the coming of winter and said its goal was to finish clearance before it sets in.[227] In February 2009 Guthrie said that winter had indeed proved to be “a major obstacle” and that clearance efforts had been suspended for parts of December and January.[228]

Complications from Civilians

Finally, civilians themselves have presented challenges. As mentioned above, some have tried to clear the submunitions themselves. Others have interfered with the marking process, unsure of what best serves their communities. Vasili Omadze, a 26-year-old farmer, said deminers searched some farms in Sakasheti with metal detectors, which started beeping loudly indicating the presence of unexploded ordnance. “They wanted to mark the fields [with red warning signs], but the locals wouldn’t let them because it makes children more curious,” Omadze said. “They wanted to mark my field, and I wouldn’t let them.”[229]

Risk Education 

In an effort to reduce further casualties, several groups collaborated immediately after the conflict to provide civilians with information regarding the danger of submunition duds. Risk education efforts included civil service announcements on the radio and television, programs at schools and internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, and fliers and posters.[230] HALO Trust took the lead on many of these efforts,[231] but the Georgian Ministry of Education and Science and UNICEF also contributed.[232] The Georgian government responded swiftly to Human Rights Watch’s insistence on risk education in August 2008; it regularly aired educational videos and distributed fliers with a hotline number to call if something suspicious was found. By December 2008, risk education had been conducted in at least 180 schools,[233] and 44,000 Georgians had received information about the risks of cluster munitions and other unexploded ordnance.[234]

Witness testimony and the limited number of civilian casualties from duds suggest that these programs have been successful in at least some cases. They may have saved 68-year-old Tamar Eremov’s life. She was looking for walnuts when she found an unexploded AO-2.5 RTM at the base of a tree in Variani. “I almost touched it, but then I remembered the leaflets that were given out and didn’t,” Eremov said.[235] As described earlier, Omar Mindiashvili knew immediately to stop his daughter and her cousin from playing with an M85 in Ditsi because he had seen warnings on television.[236] While in an IDP tent city between October 7 and 8, Sergo Nikolaishvili said that he and other Brotsleti residents received photos and flyers from Georgians and NGOs alerting them to the danger of duds.[237]

Victim Assistance

Victim assistance for individuals and communities is another critical humanitarian measure. According to the Landmine Monitor Report 2008, “The medical and rehabilitation sectors in Georgia suffer from lack of funding, poor infrastructure and equipment, inadequate and low-quality services, and corruption.”[238] When asked in October 2008 about assistance for cluster munition survivors of the 2008 war, then- Georgian First Deputy Minister of Defense Kutelia said Georgia had not established any formal programs. He explained, “Our general policy is the same regardless of the type of munition. We request assistance from different countries. For the most expensive ones, like those who have lost limbs, we ask governments and companies to collaborate with us to provide assistance. For example, some were taken to Israel for treatment.”[239] McDonnell said, in October 2008, that iMMAP was starting to investigate the status of victim assistance, but he did not provide information on the progress of the investigation in an email to Human Rights Watch in February 2009. 

 

[176] Human Rights Watch interview with Amir Musanovic, technical advisor, Norwegian People’s Aid, Ruisi, October 15, 2008.

[177] Human Rights Watch interview with Joseph Huber, then program manager, Norwegian People’s Aid, Tbilisi, October 14, 2008.

[178] Email communication from Jonathon Guthrie, program manager, Norwegian People’s Aid, to Human Rights Watch, February 12, 2009; email communication from Mick McDonnell, operations manager, iMMAP, to Human Rights Watch, February 16, 2009.

[179] Email communication from Guthrie, February 12, 2009.

[180] “EU Verified Russia’s Withdrawal,” BBC News Online, October 10, 2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7663145.stm (accessed November 17, 2008).

[181] Human Rights Watch interview with neighbor of Omar Mindiashvili, Ditsi, October 17, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with resident (name withheld), Kvemo Khviti, October 16, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Pridon Solomonian, Tirdznisi, October 17, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Alika Sa’atashvili, Variani, October 18, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Galaktion Zubashvili, Variani, October 18, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Nukri Stepanishvili, farmer, Variani, October 18, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Tengo Kebadze, Variani, October 18, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Anzor Zubashvili, farmer, Variani, October 18, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Eliko Ominadze, Varianis Meurneoba, October 21, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Ketino Berikashvili, Varianis Meurneoba, October 21, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with resident (name withheld), Zemo Khviti, October 16, 2008.

[182] Human Rights Watch interview with Alika Sa’atashvili, October 18, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Galaktion Zubashvili, October 18, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Nukri Stepanishvili, October 18, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Tengo Kebadze, October 18, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Anzor Zubashvili, October 18, 2008.

[183] Human Rights Watch interview with resident (name withheld), Zemo Khviti, October 16, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Pridon Solomonian, October 17, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Nukri Stepanishvili, October 18, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Tengo Kebadze, October 18, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Ketino Berikashvili, October 21, 2008.

[184] Letter from Kelin, January 30, 2009.

[185] Email communication from McDonnell, February 16, 2009.

[186] Human Rights Watch interview with high-ranking Georgian officer of engineering brigade, Osiauri, October 21, 2008.

[187] Human Rights Watch interview with Sergo Nikolishvili, farmer, Brotsleti, October 16, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Ilia Chagalishvili, farmer, Dzlevijvari, October 21, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Vazha Mazmishvili, Shindisi, October 20, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Ramaz Pataradze, farmer, Shindisi, October 20, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Dato Lapachi, farmer, Tirdznisi, October 16, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Galaktion Zubashvili, October 18, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Tengo Kebadze, October 18, 2008.

[188] Human Rights Watch interview with Tengo Kebadze, October 18, 2008.

[189] Email communication from Guthrie, February 12, 2009.

[190] According to the Georgian Ministry of Defense, its deminers cleared 479 submunitions and some cluster munition casings between October 10 and 21, 2008. The clearance took place in the following towns and villages in the Gori and Kareli districts: Abisi, Akhaldaba, Avnevi, Brotsleti, Dzlevijvari, Ergneti, Kvemo Khviti, Kvemo Nikozi, Meghvrekisi, Pkhvenisi, Tirdznisi, Tortiza, and Zemo Nikozi. “Annex 1: Information Regarding the Demining of Cluster Munitions Dropped by Russian Side,” attachment to email communication from David Nardaia, head, Analytical Department, Ministry of Defense of Georgia, to Human Rights Watch, November 18, 2008. Although the ministry’s document refers to the submunitions as Russian, it does not break down the submunitions by type, and Human Rights Watch found evidence of Georgian M85s in several of the towns listed. Furthermore, a Georgian officer reported that his deminers cleared many M85s, suggesting that some of the submunitions counted were in fact Georgian. See Human Rights Watch interview with high-ranking Georgian officer of engineering brigade, October 21, 2008.

[191] Human Rights Watch interview with high-ranking Georgian officer of engineering brigade, October 21, 2008.

[192] International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 840 (citing email from Kartlos Koranshvili, Ministry of Defense, June 23, 2008).

[193] Human Rights Watch interview with Mick McDonnell, operations manager, iMMAP, Tbilisi, October 17, 2008.

[194] Human Rights Watch interview with high-ranking Georgian officer of engineering brigade, October 21, 2008.

[195] Ibid.

[196] Ibid.

[197] HALO Trust, “The HALO Trust—A Charity Specialising in the Removal of the Debris of War,” undated, http://www.halotrust.org/ (accessed November 12, 2008).

[198] HALO Trust, “HALO Emergency Response in Georgia,” undated, http://www.halotrust.org/news.html (accessed February 18, 2009).

[199] Email communication from Guthrie, February 12, 2009.

[200] Human Rights Watch interview with Joseph Huber, October 14, 2008.

[201] HALO Trust, “Unexploded Ordnance Contamination Maps,” undated, http://www.halogeorgia.org/ (accessed November 17, 2008) (maps of areas of Georgia showing clearance progress).

[202] Office of the UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator in Georgia, Situation Report No. 38 on the Situation in Georgia, November 27-December 4, 2008, p. 1; Office of the UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator in Georgia, Situation Report No. 33 on the Situation in Georgia, October 23-30, 2008, p. 1; Office of the UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator in Georgia, Situation Report No. 31 on the Situation in Georgia, October 16, 2008, p. 1.

[203] HALO Trust, “An Introduction to the Ammunition Threat in the Gori-Tskhinvali Corridor,” undated, http://www.halogeorgia.org/guidetouxo.htm (accessed November 17, 2008).

[204] Norwegian People’s Aid, http://www.npaid.org/www/English/World/Cluster_munitions/ (accessed November 12, 2008).

[205] Human Rights Watch interview with Joseph Huber, October 14, 2008.

[206] Email communications from Guthrie, March 10 and March 27, 2009.

[207] Email communication from Guthrie, February 12, 2009.

[208] Human Rights Watch interview with Amir Musanovic, October 15, 2008.

[209]Information Management & Mine Action Programs,“Services and Tools,”undated, http://www.immap.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=51&Itemid=55 (accessed November 17, 2008).

[210] Human Rights Watch interview with Mick McDonnell, October 17, 2008.

[211] Email communication from McDonnell, February 16, 2009.

[212] Human Rights Watch interview with Ramaz Pataradze, Shindisi, October 20, 2008.

[213] Email communication from Guthrie, February 12, 2009.

[214] See, for example, Human Rights Watch, Flooding South Lebanon, pp. 88-90; Fatally Flawed, p. 35.

[215] Human Rights Watch interview with Joseph Huber, then program manager, Norwegian People’s Aid, Tbilisi, October 16, 2008.

[216] Human Rights Watch interview with Joseph Huber, October 14, 2008.

[217] Human Rights Watch interview with Mick McDonnell, October 17, 2008.

[218] Human Rights Watch interview with high-ranking Georgian officer of engineering brigade, October 21, 2008.

[219] Human Rights Watch interview with Alexandra Zhghenti and Marina Mamistrashvili, Shindisi, October 19, 2008.

[220] Human Rights Watch interview with Joseph Huber, October 14, 2008.

[221] Email communication from Guthrie, February 12, 2009.

[222] Human Rights Watch interview with Joseph Huber, October 14, 2008. See also email communication from Mick McDonnell, operations manager, iMMAP, to Human Rights Watch, February 16, 2009.

[223] Human Rights Watch interview with high-ranking Georgian officer of engineering brigade, October 21, 2008.

[224] Email communication from McDonnell, February 16, 2009.

[225] Email communication from Guthrie, February 12, 2009.

[226] Human Rights Watch interview with Amir Musanovic, October 15, 2008.

[227] Human Rights Watch interview with high-ranking Georgian officer of engineering brigade, October 21, 2008; Human Rights Watch interview with Mick McDonnell, October 17, 2008.

[228] Email communication from Guthrie, February 12, 2009; email communication from McDonnell, February 16, 2009.

[229] Human Rights Watch interview with Vasili Omadze, Sakasheti, October 18, 2008.

[230] Human Rights Watch interview with Mick McDonnell, October 17, 2008.

[231] Ibid.

[232] Office of the UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator in Georgia, Situation Report No. 38 on the Situation in Georgia, p. 1.

[233] Office of the UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator in Georgia, Situation Report No. 36 on the Situation in Georgia, November 13-20, 2008, p. 4.

[234] Office of the UN Resident/Humanitarian Coordinator in Georgia, Situation Report No. 38 on the Situation in Georgia, p. 1.

[235] Human Rights Watch interview with Tamar Eremov, farmer, Variani, October 18, 2008.

[236] Human Rights Watch interview with Omar Miniashvili, Ditsi, October 17, 2008.

[237] Human Rights Watch interview with Sergo Nikolaishvili, farmer, Brotsleti, October 16, 2008.

[238] International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Landmine Monitor Report 2008, p. 842. For complete information on victim assistance for mine and ERW victims, see ibid., pp. 842-843.

[239] Human Rights Watch interview with Batu Kutelia, then Georgian first deputy minister of defense, Tbilisi, October 21, 2008.