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4 Sep, 2008 06:45

“Cultural Terrorism” in South Ossetia

The Commission of the Russian Federation on UNESCO affairs has called for the international community to strongly condemn Georgia for the “cultural terrorism” it inflicted upon South Ossetia.

“The commission notes with indignation that Georgia's criminal aggression against South Ossetia has led not only to the loss of irreplacable human lives, but also to the defilement of historical and cultural monuments,” it said in the official statement.

More specifically, a complex of third-century buildings was completely destroyed over the course of military operations. In the centre of Tskhinval, St. Gregory’s Church, which dates back to the seventh century, and the Church of the Virgin Mary, from the 17th century both sustained irreparable damage during bombings.

According to the commission, this is not only an irreparable injury to South Ossetia's cultural life, but also a gross violation of such important international agreements as “The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict” (1954), “The UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of World Cultural and Natural Heritage” (1972) and the UNESCO declaration of 2003