UNOMIG Fact Finding Team
The UNOMIG Fact Finding Team (FFT) consists of 3 UNMOs and a Language/Administrative Assistant. One of the UNMOs is a trained military lawyer appointed directly to the team as the legal officer and the other 2 UNMOs are selected after gaining patrol experience in the sectors. One of the main responsibilities of the FFT is to chair, on the Chief Military Observer's (CMO) behalf, the Joint Fact-Finding Group, known commonly as the JFFG.
Authority for the group's activities was formalized by the signing of the JFFG Protocol in Tbilisi on January 19, 2000 . This document defines the JFFG's composition, procedures and responsibilities. The JFFG is composed of representatives of law enforcement agencies from Abkhazia and Georgia, and of the Commonwealth of Independent States Peacekeepers (CIS-PKF) and UNOMIG FFT members, who chair the weekly meetings and direct the investigations.
The purpose of the JFFG is to investigate violations of the 1994 Moscow Agreement throughout the AOR and also to investigate suspected acts of terrorism, sabotage or politically motivated illegal acts directed against the civilian population. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity for law enforcement agencies on both sides of the CFL to meet and discuss recent incidents, exchange information and cooperate in their investigations. Since its inception in 2000, the Joint Fact-Finding Group (JFFG) has conducted a numerous investigations based on a mutual trust and cooperation between members. The JFFG today is a body capable of conducting investigations in a professional and effective manner.
Once a case has been fully investigated and all evidence obtained has been considered by the JFFG, the FFT drafts a final report for signature by all parties. If one side disagrees with the contents they may add their own views on the case. In addition to investigations conducted at the scene of an incident, the JFFG meets once a week to discuss recent incidents, exchange information and to cooperate on investigations on both sides of the cease-fire line. Thus, the collective resources of the group are available to both sides' law enforcement agencies in order to work together to pursue and bring to justice those responsible for such acts.
In any case, the UNOMIG Fact Finding Team (FFT) always attends the scene of an incident when either side or the CMO determines that the incident falls within their mandate. The purpose of the FFT attending the scene is to ensure that each side is fully aware of the true facts and circumstances surrounding each incident, and therefore to prevent incorrect information being circulated regarding a particular case.
This helps prevent increased tension in the region and possible retaliatory attacks that could lead to a general destabilization of the situation. Sometimes a UNOMIG patrol may be first on the scene in their capacity as Quick Reaction Investigators (QRI). The purpose of the QRI is to preserve and record the evidence at the scene, which might otherwise be lost. Each UNMO receives regular training by the FFT in the skills required to gather photographic evidence, interview witnesses, and liaise with the local authorities at the scene.