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De-facto President of occupied Tskhinvali claims double standards in August war investigation

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Wednesday, February 10
The leader of the de-facto government of South Ossetia Leonid Tibilov has claimed that International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensuda’s statements over the Russian-Georgian war of 2008 are an example of double standards.

Bensouda, who has been permitted by the ICC to investigate the war, has stated there were signs of war crimes and the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in the war.

ICC judges approved ICC prosecutor Bensouda’s request to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed between July and October 2008, in and around South Ossetia on January 27 2016.

The ICC statement reads that the types of crimes allegedly committed included: crimes against humanity, such as murder, forcible transfer of population and persecution, as well as war crimes such as attacks against the civilian population, willful killing, intentionally directing attacks against peacekeepers, destruction of property and pillaging.

According to Ossetian media, Tibilov made the statement at a meeting with the heads of local law enforcement agencies.

"The whole world knows that in August 2008 Georgia attacked Ossetia’s civilians, including children and women. Bensouda’s statement is nothing more than clearly showing double standards and approaches,” stated Tibilov.

According to Tibilov, Bensouda’s statement that Georgian peacekeepers were killed in the war is absurd.

“The truth is that Russian peacekeepers were killed in 2008, while the Georgian peacekeeping battalion - which had an obligation to ensure the peace in the region – abandoned its positions just before the fatal clash,” stated Tibilov.

He also said that no ethnic cleansing had taken place in the breakaway region.

“The Georgian population of the Tskhinvali region was withdrawn in advance by the Georgian side. They knew that large-scale military actions would take place in South Ossetia and were burning their houses while leaving,” stated the de-facto President.

Tibilov added that South Ossetia does not expect that ICC’s investigation will be impartial.

Russia has already made the same statement, saying that it would not cooperate with the international investigation.

For its part, the Georgian side has already expressed its readiness to provide Bensouda with all materials and documentation that will help her in the process of the investigation.