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Georgian Human Rights Activists Brief ICC Prosecutor on August War
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2 Feb.'10 / 18:25

A group of Georgian human rights activists will meet with International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, in The Hague on February 2 to brief him about their findings on violation of international humanitarian law by the Russian forces and South Ossetian militias during the August, 2008 war, Tbilisi-based NGOs said in a statement.

Shortly after the war, the ICC Prosecutor said on August 20, 2008, that the situation in Georgia was under analysis by his Office. Unlike Georgia, Russia is not a state party to the Rome Statute, which set up the International Criminal Court.

Five Georgian non-governmental organizations, with the support of Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF), compiled a comprehensive report on violations of human rights and humanitarian law during the August war.

The report, which includes testimonies of 1055 persons displaced as a result of the war, will be released later this month.

“Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo got interested in the report and today representatives of Georgian NGOs will present draft report to the prosecutor and his team,” OSGF and Young Lawyers’ Association of Georgia (GYLA) said in the statement.

Apart of GYLA, Human Rights Centre, Article 42 of the Constitution, Union 21st Century and Centre for Protection of Constitutional Rights, compiled the report.

The Office of the ICC Prosecutor confirmed that its representatives would visit Tbilisi and Moscow as part of its preliminary examination, but no precise dates have yet been set. Similar visit has already been conducted to Georgia in November, 2008.

“The Office already announced visits to meet with judicial authorities of both countries to check if there are proceedings in relation to the crimes committed during the conflict.  It is part of the Georgia preliminary examination, and so visits are planned as with any preliminary examination,” the Office of Prosecutor wrote in an e-mail to Civil.Ge.

According to the Office of Prosecutor, it requested information from the Russian and Georgian governments back in August, 2008 and received response from both countries. 

OSGF and GYLA said that all the materials collected during drafting of the report, including interviews with displaced persons, “were processed statistically as well as with application of fact-comparison methodology.”

“Pursuant to the stories of IDPs, statements made by the representatives of the de facto authorities, photo and video materials, assessments of numerous international organizations and researchers and reporters, we can state with full confidence: the goal of the so-called ‘peace enforcement operation’ carried out jointly by the Russian and the South Ossetian authorities was to clean Georgian villages on the South Ossetian territory from ethnically Georgian population. Ethnic cleansing was carried out in a well planned and systematic manner,” the authors of the report say.

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