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What will the Hague court decide?

By Messenger Staff
Monday, August 9
The Hague UN International Court will start the hearing of Georgia’s claims against Russia as submitted on August 12, 2008. To date no country has ever brought a case against Russia in the Hague court. The Russian side is claiming that such a case does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Hague court, so first this must be decided – before any hearing on Georgia's claims can begin. Georgia claims that Russia breached the 1965 CERD international convention to which it is formally committed. The claim states that Russia violated this convention several times over while unleashing its intervention against Georgia in South Ossetia and Abkhazia in helping separatist forces carry out ethnic cleansing of the Georgian population. Moscow provided arms and ammunition to the separatists, hired mercenaries and carried out direct military intervention resulting in violence against the peaceful Georgian ethnic population. The Georgian side claims that despite the peaceful agreements and decision for IDPs to return, Russian peacekeepers have refused to allow around 300 000 Georgians to go back to their homes. It also includes the accusation that Russia's actions aiming to break up Georgian territorial integrity and have the separatist territories recognised as independent entities violates international law. Georgia asks that the Hague court acknowledge Moscow's actions as illegal, force it to stop supporting separatism and withdraw all Russian forces from the Georgian territory. Moreover Russia should pay compensation to Georgia for its illegal actions.

Russia persistently denies all the crimes and insists that discussion of this issue is beyond the competency of the Hague court. Meanwhile on October 15, 2008 the Hague international court obliged Russia as well as Georgia to protect the safety of citizens in the conflict regions and adjacent territories. While the Georgian side accepted this decision of the Hague court as a great victory, Moscow once again stated that this decision is beyond the court's jurisdiction. So, during the upcoming sessions the Hague court will discuss and decide whether this case is within its jurisdiction.

The Georgian side will have the floor on 13 and 15 September and the Russians on 14 and17 September.

It is not yet known when the decision over the issue will be made public, though one thing is sure – Russia will do its best to ensure that the Hague court refuses to discuss the issue. Georgia however thinks that the Hague court, as a supreme and exemplary institution should be completely unbiased and not be the subject of Russian threats or blackmail.