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Labour Party criticizes Georgian authorities over the ICJ decision

By Mzia Kupunia
Thursday, April 7
The Georgian Labour Party has blamed the Georgian authorities of “intentionally” filing Georgia’s case in the Hague-based International Court of justice “incorrectly”. One of the leaders of the Party, Kakha Dzagania held a special press conference on Wednesday. “The case was filed incorrectly intentionally in order to finally recognize and legalize Georgia’s lost territories, this is in the interests of Mikheil Saakashvili, because with this the country’s main problem will be solved for him,” Dzagania told journalists.

He accused the Georgian authorities of trying to portray a “lost” case as “won.” “Just like the attempts to portray a lost war with Russia as a won war, Saakashvili is trying to show a lost case as won,” the ideological secretary of the Labour Party said. Dzagania noted that “due to an incompetently filed case, according to The Hague court decision, Georgia has been deprived of the possibility to raise the issue of racial discrimination at international courts.” The Labour Party member called on Saakashvili and his administration to “leave power on time.”

The International Court of Justice dropped Georgia’s appeal against Russia on April 1 in which Tbilisi accused Moscow of violating the International Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Racial Discrimination (CRED) in Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Hague-based UN Court of Justice said “it has no jurisdiction to entertain the application filed by Georgia on August 12, 2008.” The Court upheld one of the arguments filed by Moscow that Georgia appealed directly to ICJ in August 2008 without trying to negotiate on the issues of Convention on Elimination of All forms of Racial Discrimination with Moscow.

At the same time the Court rejected another argument of Russia that there was “no dispute” between the two countries over the racial discrimination of ethnic Georgians in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region. Officially, Tbilisi expressed its content with this decision “We welcome the Court’s rejection of a core argument put forward by the Russian Federation that no dispute exists on the grounds of ethnic discrimination and ethnic cleansing,” Georgia’s Deputy Justice Minister, Tina Burjaliani told journalists on April 1.

Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili also hailed the decision of the Hague-based court, saying that the Court upheld Georgia’s “main argument”. Speaking at a traditional Tuesday press briefing, the President’s press speaker, Manana Manjgaladze said the court decision has proved judicially that “the Russian Federation is a part of the conflict and not a third party.” “It is an important aspect that the dispute was held on the issue of ethnic cleansing conducted by Russia. You know that ethnic cleansing was the main issue of dispute for Georgia. In terms of international justice, it is important that our demand that the Russian Federation is seen as a side of the conflict, has been finally legitimized,” Manjgaladze stated.

Georgian authorities were not immediately available to comment on the Labour Party’s allegations. Meanwhile, Some Georgian analysts suggest that the Georgian side has lost more than gained by the decision of the ICJ. Analyst Nika Chitadze noted that “probably Russia has made efforts” in terms of the Court’s decision. “The Court has named Russia as a side of the conflict, which is of course important. However the main issue which was the consideration of Georgia vs. Russia case has been dropped This of course is a defeat. However we cannot say that the Georgian authorities are to blame for this decision, as the Georgian Ministry of Justice has done a huge work,” Chitadze told The Messenger.