Watchdogs Urge Authorities to Challenge Russia over Rights Abuses in Occupied Territories

A group of eight human rights watchdogs, among them the Georgian Young Lawyers Association, and the Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center, call on the authorities to lodge an interstate application to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against the Russian Federation over human rights abuses in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.

“In the absence of independent and neutral international monitoring missions in the occupied territories, the two areas have turned into spaces for arbitrary and unfettered actions of the Russian Federation and the de-facto political regimes under its control, which calls for an effective legal response by Georgia,” the organizations wrote in their statement yesterday.

The watchdogs also recalled the cases of Giga Otskhozoria, Davit Basharuli, and Archil Tatunashvili, and stated that since illegal detentions and killings in and around the two areas had become “a widespread practice,” the organizations “believe that in addition to intensifying political and diplomatic pressure [on Moscow], the Government of Georgia should make use of international legal mechanisms as well.”

The organizations also urged the authorities to request from ECHR the application of an interim measure to the Russian Federation “to guarantee the safety of the two other Georgian citizens, Levan Kutashvili and Ioseb Pavliashvili, who were arrested together with Tatunashvili, as well as Tamar Mearakishvili, and to ensure that they are permitted to cross to the Tbilisi-administered territory immediately.”


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