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BBC: Moscow applies to the ICC over Georgia

Tuesday, August 9
On the third anniversary of the August 2008 conflict between Georgia and Russia, Moscow has applied to the International Criminal Court with the documents, allegedly proving that the military activities in South Ossetia three years ago were “planned by the Georgian authorities”, BBC Russian service reported on Monday. Moscow claims that as a result of the “Georgian attack on South Ossetia” civilians died and hundreds of houses were destroyed while more than 16 000 South Ossetians were forced to flee their homes, BBC reports.

The Russian investigators stated that they found evidence refuting the arguments of the Georgian side presented at the UN Court in The Hague. According to the Russian Investigation Committee the Russian side has found no evidence to prove the involvement of the Russian military servicemen to any crimes perpetrated on Georgian territory and in the de facto South Ossetia in August 2008. According to the representative of the Russian Investigative Committee, Vladimir Markin, Georgia “is refusing” to help the Russian side in investigating the circumstances of the August military conflict, BBC reports.

The International Court of Justice refused to hear Georgia’s case against Georgia citing that ICJ had “no jurisdiction to entertain the application.” 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.

Following the decision of the ICJ Tbilisi officially asked Moscow to engage in talks with Georgia on alleged ethnic cleansing violations committed by Russia on Georgian territory during the past 20 years. The Georgian Foreign Ministry said in June that Tbilisi “took into consideration the ruling of the ICJ of April 1, 2011, in which the ICJ has established the fact of existence of dispute between Georgia and the Russian Federation, however has indicated the necessity of holding direct negotiations between the two states in the framework of the abovementioned Convention.”

Georgian authorities have downplayed the claims of the Russian side. Speaking at the session of the temporary Parliamentary Commission on Territorial Integrity the chairman of the Commission, Shota Malashkhia said the latest activities of the Kremlin indicated the “weakness” of the Russian authorities. “In 2008 Georgia was only saved by the principles of the Georgian leadership and the unity of the population,” Malaskhia said, adding that in his latest interview, the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has “confessed to the aggression.”