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ICC: Investigation of Russia-Georgia War Progressing

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, September 28
Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) told Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze in New York on Wednesday that the investigation process of the Russia-Georgia 2008 war is progressing.

Bakhtadze’s press office reported that the Georgian government has high-expectations regarding the international investigation process, despite the fact Russia has refused to provide the court with necessary materials.

“Georgian authorities hope that ethnic cleansing of Georgians, torture and manslaughter of captives, war crimes directed against the Georgian population and use of Iskander (SS-26 Stone as per NATO reporting name) by Russians in the bombing of the Georgian town Gori will be investigated in a comprehensive manner,” the government of Georgia press office reported.

ICC authorized an investigation into possible war crimes committed during a conflict between Russia and Georgia in 2008 in January 2016, after Bensouda requested the court to allow her to investigate the war.

The Pre-Trial Chamber I of the ICC authorized prosecutor Bensouda to proceed with an investigation into the crimes, allegedly committed in and around South Ossetia, Georgia, between July 1 and October 10, 2008.

The Chamber made this decision after examining the prosecutor’s request and supporting material, including representations by or on behalf of 6,335 victims of the conflict.

"There is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the ICC's jurisdiction have been committed in the situation in Georgia,” says tonight’s ICC statement.

Russian officials stated they would not collaborate with The Hague Court since the Russian parliament had not ratified the Rome Statute, which Russia signed in 2000.

"As of February 1, 2016, the Russia Federation has not ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the document has not come into power,” Russia’s Justice Ministry said.

The Rome Statute is the treaty that established the ICC. It was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome on July 17, 1998, and it entered into force on July 1, 2002.

Before the statement spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova said that Moscow was disappointed with ICC’s recent activities and would be forced to "fundamentally review its attitude towards the ICC”.

The government of Georgia says that they have already handed all the war materials necessary available to Bensouda and claim that they are ready to “maximally support” the investigation process.

The Russo-Georgian 2008 War was a war between Georgia, Russia and the Russian-backed self-proclaimed republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The war displaced 192,000 people and while many returned to their homes after the war, 20,272 people, mostly ethnic Georgians, remained displaced.

35 Georgians and 6 Ossetians remain missing since the war.