About Civil.ge
Eng | Geo | Rus
Last updated: 16:30 - 30 Aug.'16
RSS
Mobile
Twitter
Facebook
ICC Judges Authorize Prosecutor to Investigate 2008 War
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 27 Jan.'16 / 18:48

Three-judge pre-trial chamber of The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) has given the ICC’s prosecutor go-ahead to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the lead up to, during, and after the August, 2008 war in Georgia.

The decision comes slightly over three months after ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda filed a 160-page request asking judges to authorize opening of the investigation and detailing alleged crimes attributed to the Georgian, Russian and South Ossetian sides.

The investigation will cover a period from July 1, 2008 – over one month prior to the war’s start – to October 10, 2008, when Russia withdrew troops from the areas it was occupying in Georgia beyond breakaway South Ossetia. 

“After examining the [prosecutor’s] request and the supporting material, the [Pre-Trial] Chamber concluded that there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction have been committed in the situation in Georgia,” The Hague-based court said on January 27.

“Such crimes include crimes against humanity, such as murder, forcible transfer of population and persecution, and war crimes, such as attacks against the civilian population, wilful killing, intentionally directing attacks against peacekeepers, destruction of property and pillaging allegedly committed in the context of an international armed conflict between 1 July and 10 October 2008,” it said.

The ICC Prosecutor said in a statement that “the investigation will take as long as needed to gather the required evidence.”

In her request to open the investigation made in October 2015, ICC Prosecutor Bensouda identified the following crimes, which she “reasonably believes” fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC:

  • “Killings, forcible displacements and persecution of ethnic Georgian civilians, and destruction and pillaging of their property, by South Ossetian forces (with possible participation by Russian forces)”;
  • “Intentionally directing attacks against Georgian peacekeepers by South Ossetian forces; and against Russian peacekeepers by Georgian forces.”

ICC Prosecutor’s request to the judges was also accompanied by a confidential annex, which included a list of “persons or groups that appear to be the most responsible for the most serious crimes, with an indication of their specific role.”

Few days after requesting opening the investigation ICC Prosecutor Bensouda visited Tbilisi in mid-October 2015 and met the Georgian Justice Minister and Chief Prosecutor, as well as representatives of those Tbilisi-based human rights groups, which in 2009 compiled a report detailing violations of fundamental rights and international humanitarian law during the August war, and which have been cooperating with and providing information to the ICC prosecutor’s office throughout its preliminary examination of the case.  

It will be ICC’s first investigation into the situation outside Africa.

Although Russia is not a party to the Rome Statute, which established the ICC, the Hague-based Court’s has a jurisdiction to investigate Russian nationals as well because alleged crimes in question were committed on the territory of Georgia, which is a member of ICC.

Georgia, as a state party to the Rome Statute, will be obligated to fully cooperate with ICC – something that will not apply to Russia, because it is not an ICC member.

Human Rights Watch, which in early 2009 released a report on humanitarian law violations during the August 2008 war, welcomed ICC judges’ decision to authorize launch of investigation.

“An ICC investigation will restart justice efforts for victims,” said Elizabeth Evenson, senior international justice counsel at Human Rights Watch. “It’s been more than seven years since the war ended, but neither Georgia nor Russia has held to account those responsible for unlawful civilian killings, looting, and torching of homes.”

Latest News
30 Aug.'16 16:30
OSCE Launches Georgia Election Observation Mission
Mission now includes a core team of 12 experts, which will be joined by 26 long-term observers next week.
30 Aug.'16 11:56
Geostat: GDP Growth 2.1% in July
Economy grew 2.7% y/y in the first seven months of this year, according to preliminary data.
29 Aug.'16 20:27
Policeman, Implicated by Suicide Note, Charged
Policeman charged with driving 22-year-old man to suicide after allegedly coercing him to snitch.
28 Aug.'16 20:00
Defense Minister Visits Georgian Troops in Afghanistan
This is Izoria’s first foreign trip since becoming the Defense Minister on August 1.
27 Aug.'16 14:21
14 Parties, 5 Blocs Run in Elections for Adjara’s Supreme Council
Election commission registered 26 political parties for elections of Autonomous Republic’s local parliament.
26 Aug.'16 20:48
25 Parties, 7 Blocs Run in Parliamentary Elections
CEC registered 45 parties, 20 of which plan to form 7 election blocs to run on joint ticket.
25 Aug.'16 18:37
UNM Makes Ex-First Lady Number 2 on Its Party List of MP Candidates
Sandra Roelofs is also running as UNM’s majoritarian MP candidate in Zugdidi.
25 Aug.'16 17:23
Chief of Belarus Security Agency Visits Tbilisi
Agreement on cooperation between the security agencies of the two countries was signed.
25 Aug.'16 10:42
List of Majoritarian MP Candidates
Deadline of nominating majoritarian MP candidates for political parties expires on September 8.
24 Aug.'16 18:36
NATO NAC to Visit Georgia on Sept.7-8
It will be the fourth visit of ambassadors from NATO member-states to Georgia.

About Civil Georgia
Civil.Ge © 2001-2016, Daily News Online
Registered office: 2 Dolidze Str, 4-th Floor.
32