ICC to Investigate Russia-Georgia War

The International Criminal Court of The Hague is interested in the Russia-Georgia war of 2008. The court says that its prosecutor has planned to investigate the probable crimes committed in the conflict bringing Moscow, an opponent of the court, under fire for the first time.

A court statement on Thursday stated that Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had concluded that there was a “reasonable basis to believe” that crimes had been committed during the short war over Russian-backed breakaway province South Ossetia.

“Judges must now decide whether to permit the move, which would pit non-member Russia against the European-backed permanent global war crimes court at a time when east-west tensions run higher than at any time since the Cold War.”

The prosecutor’s request comes amid Russia’s attempts to become a more active global diplomatic and military player, launching air strikes to support Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, defying the strong western opinion that he should go.

Georgian Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani said “The Chief Prosecutor’s Office actively cooperated with The Hague Prosecutor’s office on the issue of the ethnic cleansing committed during the war of August 2008.

“The Hague Prosecutor’s Office has been investigating the August war facts since 2008 and today it was revealed that The Hague Prosecutor Mrs. Bensouda decided to take the first steps to be involved in the investigation.

“We have not had access to the occupied territories and I hope that Mrs. Bensouda’s office will be able to arrive there and conduct a thorough investigation. Mrs. Bensouda will visit Georgia as well as Russia.”

In addition, Mikheil Saakashvili, the ex-president of Georgia, has said on a social network “it is important for the Georgian side to provide full information about the ethnic cleansing to the Prosecutor’s Office.

“Our government addressed the Prosecutor’s Office in August 2008 and provided information on violations of international norms, including crimes against humanity (ethnic cleansing) and war crimes.

“Unfortunately Russia does not recognize the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction and all this time it has been trying to use their procedures for political purposes. It is important that the Georgian side provides full information on the ethnic cleansing to the Prosecutor’s Office.”

Seven years have passed since Russia launched a full-scale military attack against Georgia, hoping to distance the country from the Euro-Atlantic path it had chosen. There were many casualties. The International community said the intervention by Russia breached international law and threatened Georgia’s sovereignty. Georgia regarded Russia as an occupant country after this. 

09 October 2015 13:38