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Guardian: ‘The Russia-Georgia war: why the ICC is launching war crimes probe’

Tuesday, March 29
The Guardian has released an interview with a judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, who is investigating the Russia-Georgia war of 2008.

In her interview for the British media outlet, Bensouda spoke about the reasons and the intentions of the investigation that will cover the period between July 1 and October 10, 2008 of the short but violent war.

The Prosecutor stressed last year her office had been informed by the current Georgian Government that there was “no prospect of further progress domestically on the cases related to the 2008 armed conflict.”

This was apparently the reason she asked the judges of ICC in October 2015 to authorize her to carry out a further investigation, a request which was granted in January 2016.

Bensouda said she was cooperating with the current Georgian Government and there were some positive signals of cooperation from South Ossetia as well.

“If the evidence collected provides reasonable grounds to believe that a person has committed war crimes or crimes against humanity, then we will proceed to the next phase, which would be to apply to the ICC judges for a warrant of arrest or a summons to appear before the court,” Bensouda said.

Bensouda added her investigation mandate concerned individual criminal responsibility.

“It is about bringing a measure of justice to the victims of serious crimes allegedly committed during the 2008 war. It is about holding to account those responsible – irrespective of their status, background or nationality.”

Bensouda stressed the investigation was an independent legal process aimed at uncovering the truth regarding grave crimes allegedly perpetrated during the 2008 conflict.

Russia had stated it “distrusted” the investigation, claiming it was defending the Ossetians when Russian troops invaded Georgia in 2008 and subsequently occupied 20% of Georgia's land.

The whole of the civilized world continues to recognize Russia as an occupant of Georgia.