The messenger logo

Russia’s unlawful actions in Georgia

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, May 4
FIDH, an international body for human rights and the Georgian Human Rights Centre (HRIDC) have conducted a joint evaluation mission in Georgia in the context of opening an investigation into the Russia-Georgia war of 2008 by International Criminal Court (ICC).

FIDH is an international human rights NGO federating 178 organizations from 120 countries. Since 1922, FIDH has been defending all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

HRIDC is a Georgia-based NGO dedicated to the protection and promotion of human rights.

The evaluation period started on April 23 and finished on April 27, when the organisations’ delegation met the affected communities of the Russia-Georgia armed conflict and representatives of national authorities, as well as Georgian civil society representatives and victims’ lawyers.

The FIDH official webpage said that during the delegation’s visit to the area adjacent to the administrative borderline with Georgia’s de-facto region of Tskhinvali (South Ossetia), their representatives were able to confirm 'the victims strive for justice and reparation that was reinforced by the economic, social and psychological consequences of the armed conflict that, eight years after, still affect them and have not been adequately addressed’.

“The villagers also expressed their support for reconciliation efforts between war-affected communities, which is unfortunately undermined by the persisting climate of insecurity for the inhabitants of the borderline areas.

“Indeed, the hostage taking of civilians still occurs, and the construction of barbed-wire frontiers and fences - which have actually moved the Russia-controlled administration borderline further into Georgia - cause new property and land losses for the local population,” the FIDH wrote.

The organisations reiterated the need for national authorities to fully cooperate with the ICC, which would ‘essentially target those who bear the greatest responsibility for the crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the 2008 war’. They also said it was essential that Georgian authorities ensure effective national investigations and prosecutions of all those responsible, thus ensuring victims’ genuine access to justice.

"The importance of the ICC investigation cannot be overestimated in the region. It sends the signal that disputed entities like South Ossetia cannot be zones of impunity and that those most responsible for these crimes must be held accountable,” Karim Lahidji, the FIDH President, said.

The ICC authorised an investigation into possible war crimes committed during the conflict between Russia and Georgia in 2008 in January 2016.

The court authorised prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to proceed with an investigation into the crimes, allegedly committed in and around South Ossetia between July 1 and October 10, 2008.