New Chance For IDPs To Return To Their Properties
The Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation started a new program for IDPs ‘My House’. Every IDP, who fills in the declaration and submits all the necessary documentation, will receive special certificate of property.
Private property in Abkhazia as well as in South Ossetia should be registered according to the Georgian Constitution and international law and added to the database of the public registration body. IDPs have to fill in the special declaration in the ministry of Refugees and Accommodation to get the right to property in the conflict regions.
The registration of property is implemented by the ministry of Refugees and Accommodation of Georgia. To fill out the declaration form, the applicant should submit their flat warrant, testament, buyer’s contract, extracts from the house registration and other documents. People, who do not have any of the documents, should appeal to the courts. The courts will decide if their appeal is grounded or not.
According to Gia Kheviashvili, the Minister of Refugees and Accommodation, IDPs from Abkhazia should describe their property in detail while filling in the declaration. “They should write the exact address of the house, telephone number, their profession, place of work, the condition of the property – is it burned, ruined or not, if there is someone living there and so on. IDPs will be handed evidence of the registration of the property after filling the declaration and submitting all the documents,” declares the Minister.
People, who are not living in Georgia and who want to fill in the declaration, should go to the embassies and consulates of Georgia in their respective countries. The process of registering property was not agreed with the Abkhazian side, but Georgia intends to offer participation to the self-proclaimed republic.
As archive materials needed for the registration were destroyed, satellite photos of the conflict regions are used. “We have quite small amounts of archive materials, that is why satellite pictures and cartographic maps give us a chance to have the complete picture from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The process has already started and almost finished in Tskhinvali. As for Abkhazia - we have started from Gali and Gagra,” says the Minister.
As soon as IPDs have the evidence of property, they will have the right to return to their private houses. Within the framework of the project, the whole picture of the conflict regions will be completed, which will later be used in the European Court in Strasbourg as evidence. “We will show the European Court and international organizations, that other people are using Georgian property and we will fight to return real estate to its legal owners”, says Kheviashvili.
IDP Iuri Turkia has started to fight for the return of his property he left in Abkhazia a long time ago. He appealed to the public registration body to register his property, but he was refused. Later he sued the Ministry of Justice and the Legitimate Government of Abkhazia and won. The public registration body was forced to register his property; however the Ministry of Justice is not going to fulfil the court’s decision. Minister Kheviashvili is sure that Turkia will loose.
Kheviashvili declares that the lack of documentation is the motive behind the refusal. The Minister says that Turkia wants to sell his house in Abkhazia. “He wants to sell the house, but I wonder to whom he is going to sell it? I think it is counteractive to the processes we have started. IDPs want to sell their property. If so, they have to live there and then they can sell or give their property to anyone they want. Who are the buyers? Of course Russians, who have kicked 350,000 Georgians out of Abkhazian territory. They made us leave our property there and now we want to sell it to them? It means that we do not have hope of returning there anymore. This position is unacceptable to any patriot”.