The tragedy that took place near the village of Lata in the Gulripshi district of Abkhazia on December 14, 1992 became one of the most tragic events of the fratricidal war. A shell fired from the territory controlled by the military units of the State Council of Georgia shot down a helicopter flying from Tkvarcheli, killing 87 people on board, including 35 children and 8 pregnant women.
The war-related horror made the Lata tragedy part of war statistics. Today, 29 years after the tragedy, we must realize the gravity of this day for the Abkhazian society. Nothing can bring back any Georgian or Abkhaz lives lost during the war. However, we have to realize our mistakes and guilt and, where possible, remedy them. Offering sincere condolences to the Abkhaz side and a proper examination and assessment of the Lata tragedy would be important steps towards rebuilding trust.
We would like to reach our voice to our Abkhazian friends, who are separated from the rest of Georgia by the pain of war, and tell them that the Lata tragedy is a tragedy of Georgia. With this statement, the Democracy Research Institute reminds all citizens of our divided country that such crimes are not allowed to be repeated.
To this end we call on the Georgian Government to:
Express an official position on the Lata tragedy;
Ensure the investigation of the Lata tragedy to identify all responsible persons involved in it;
Ensure that Georgian citizens are informed about the Lata tragedy;
Declare December 14 a remembrance day in order to immortalize the memory of the victims of the Lata tragedy and pay tribute to all the civilians who died during the 1992-93 war in Abkhazia.