The OSCE Mission to Georgia

Survey of OSCE Long-Term Missions and Other OSCE Field Activities
1. Basic decisions


  • 17th CSO meeting, 6 November 1992, Journal No. 2, Annex 2


  • 14th Permanent Committee meeting, 29 March 1994, Journal 14/Revised, Annex 1
  • Permanent Council Decision No. 115, 24 April 1996, PC.DEC/115
  • Permanent Council Decision No. 334, 15 December 1999, PC.DEC/334

2. Tasks

According to the original Modalities and Financial Implications approved at the 18th CSO meeting on 13 December 1992, the objective of the Mission was to promote negotiations between the conflicting parties in Georgia which are aimed at reaching a peaceful political settlement.

At the 14th meeting of the Permanent Committee on 29 March 1994, new Modalities were decided for an expanded CSCE Mission to Georgia, based on recommendations submitted by the Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office in accordance with the decisions of the Rome Council, which provided for a strengthening of the Mission. The original objective was complemented by a series of new objectives, namely to promote respect for human rights and assist in democratic institution building throughout the country; to monitor and promote free media principles; to facilitate co-operation with and among the parties concerned and, with their consent, to monitor the joint peacekeeping forces established under the Sochi Agreement of 24 June 1992, in order to assess whether their activities are carried out in conformity with CSCE principles, in particular those mentioned in chapter II, 3 of the Decisions of the Rome Council Meeting.

The above objectives for the expanded Mission are specified in a mandate consisting of the following points:

1) In relation to the Georgian-Ossetian conflict:

  • facilitate the creation of a broader political framework, in which a lasting political settlement (') can be achieved on the basis of CSCE principles and commitments;
  • intensify discussions with all parties to the conflict, including through the organisation of round tables, in order to identify and seek to eliminate sources of tension and extend political reconciliation throughout the area of conflict;
  • make recommendations regarding the early convening of an international conference under CSCE auspices and with the participation of the United Nations, aimed at the resolution of the conflict, including the definition of the political status of Southern Ossetia;
  • in pursuit of the monitoring role concerning the joint peacekeeping forces, establish appropriate forms of contact with the military commanders of the forces within the overall context of the CSCE negotiating efforts, gather information on the military situation, investigate violations of the existing cease-fire and call local commanders' attention to possible political implications of specific military actions;
  • be actively involved in the reconvened Joint Control Commission in order to facilitate co-operation with and among the parties concerned;
  • establish contact with local authorities and representatives of the population and maintain a visible CSCE presence throughout the area.
  1. In relation to the conflict in Georgia/Abkhazia:
  • ensure liaison with the United Nations operations in Abkhazia, in order to follow events closely and report regularly to the CSCE, inter alia with a view to facilitating the participation of the representative of the Chairman-in-Office, at the invitation of the United Nations, to the negotiations carried out under United Nations auspices.

In relation to Georgia as a whole:

  • promote respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms and assist in the development of legal and democratic institutions and processes, including providing advice on the elaboration of a new constitution, the implementation of a legislation on citizenship and the establishment of an independent judiciary as well as monitoring elections;
  • co-ordinate these activities with the CSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities and the ODIHR and co-operate with the Council of Europe, keeping also in touch with other international organizations active in Georgia in this field.

At the 262nd Plenary Meeting of the Permanent Council, on 15 December 1999, an expansion of the mandate of the Mission was decided in order "to observe and report on movement across the border between Georgia and the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation, both by vehicle and on foot". The OSCE monitors will be unarmed and will have no enforcement responsibilities. The Georgian Government gave assurances to provide security for the OSCE border monitors and ensure their freedom of movement. The Permanent Council tasked the OSCE Mission to Georgia to explore further the situation in the border area with a view to implementing the decision at a time and in a way which meet the security requirements of the Mission and allows the Mission to carry out this new task in an effective way. This implementation will take place following broad consultations.

"The Permanent Council will revert to this matter in January 2000 in order to review the initial implementation of this decision and take further decisions which may be required. This border monitoring operation will be established for an initial period until 30 April 2000".

3. Deployment

The Mission started to work on 3 December 1992. The MoU with the Government of Georgia was signed on 23 January 1993, and the MoU with the Leadership of the Republic of South Ossetia was agreed by an exchange of letters on 1 March 1993.

The Mission operates throughout Georgia from the Headquarters established in Tbilisi. The Modalities of 29 March 1994 provide for a branch office in Tskhinvali, which became operational on 22 April 1997.

At its 66th plenary meeting on 23 April 1996 the Permanent Council decided (PC.DEC/115) to task the Secretary General with establishing in close consultation with the OSCE Mission to Georgia, an understanding with the UN (High Commissioner on Human Rights) concerning the Human Rights Office [in Sukhumi]. The OSCE personnel allocated to the Office would remain under the responsibility of the OSCE Mission to Georgia. In accordance with this decision OSCE Secretary General Aragona signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 29 April 1997. The MoU enables the OSCE Mission to Georgia to implement the relevant parts of its mandate relating to the monitoring of the human rights situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, while supporting the activities of the UN Human Rights Office in the region.

4. Duration

The original Modalities provided for an initial operating period of 3 months. Subsequent prolongations of the Modalities were decided at:

  • 19th CSO meeting, 4 February 1993:until 23 August 1993;
  • 22nd CSO meeting, 30 June 1993:until 23 February 1994;
  • 10th Permanent Committee meeting, 24 February 1994:until 4 March 1994;
  • 25th CSO meeting, 3 March 1994:until 30 June 1994.

The new Modalities, decided at the 14th Permanent Committee meeting on 29 March 1994, were valid until 30 September 1994. Further prolongations were agreed at:

  • 34th Permanent Committee meeting, 22 September 1994: until 31 March 1995;
  • 9th Permanent Council (PC), PC.DEC/18, 23 February 1995:until 30 September 1995;
  • 35th PC meeting, PC.DEC/70, 14 September 1995:until 30 June 1996;
  • 70th PC meeting, PC.DEC/122, 23 May 1996:until 31 March 1997;
  • 104th PC meeting, PC.DEC/156, 6 March 1997:until 31 December 1997;
  • 141st PC meeting, PC.DEC/199, 27 November 1997:until 30 June 1998;
  • 173rd PC meeting, PC.DEC/234, 17 June 1998:until 31 December 1998;
  • 198th PC meeting, PC.DEC/267, 13 November 1998:until 30 June 1999;
  • 235th PC meeting, PC.DEC/299, 17 June 1999:until 31 December 1999;
  • 260th PC meeting, PC.DEC/320, 2 December 1999until 30 June 2000.

5. Composition

Originally, the authorized strength of the Mission was 8 members (including the Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office). The CSO approved an increase by 3 members at its 19th meeting on 4 February 1993. A human rights/legal expert and an administrative officer were included in the Mission by a decision of the 25th CSO meeting on 3 March 1994. The decision reached at the 14th Permanent Committee meeting on the new Modalities provided for additional civilian and military personnel, bringing the total authorized strength up to 17 (of which approximately one half will be military and one half civilian).

At its 18th meeting on 27 April 1995, the Permanent Council approved an increase of the authorized strength by two officers once the branch office in Tskhinvali was established.

According to Permanent Council Decision No. 334, the size of the Mission could be increased by up to 20 international personnel.

The Head of Mission (since 2 November 1998) is Amb. Jean-Michel Lacombe of France.

6. Financial Implications

The OSCE Budget for 2000, adopted at the 262nd Plenary Meeting of the Permanent Council on 15 December 1999, PC.DEC/331, Mission to Georgia: EUR 1,534,000.

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