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On 11th War Anniversary CSOs Address Government, ICC

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On the occasion of the 11th anniversary of the August 2008 war, a group of five local civil society organizations, including Human Rights Center, Article 42 of the Constitution, Justice International, Georgian Young Lawyers Association and Georgian Centre for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims, issued a joint statement addressed to the Georgian government and the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has been investigating war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the August war in Georgia for over three years.  

The CSOs said that although “the August 2008 war has triggered gravest consequences in the country,” “enforcement of justice, punishment of perpetrators and restoration of victims’ rights has not taken place so far.”

The group noted that a number of “important challenges,” such as lack of awareness about the ICC investigation, as well as Russia’s refusal to cooperate with the international court represents “an apparent obstacle” for carrying out comprehensive investigation.     

The CSOs called on the relevant government agencies to carry out effective investigation into war crimes and inform the public on its course.       

“Considering the gravity and scales of the crimes committed by the Russian Federation during the August war, it is important to implement all necessary measures so that the crimes committed by Russia do not remain uninvestigated and unpunished,” the statement reads.

The group also called on the government to take relevant measures to improve IDPs’ social conditions.

The civil society organizations also called on the International Criminal Court “to develop the strategy in order to cope with the challenges facing the ongoing investigation as well as to ensure effective implementation of the court mandate and enforcement of justice for victims.”  

Since January 2016, the International Criminal Court has been probing into war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the August 2008 war in Georgia. The investigation covers a period from July 1, 2008 – over one month prior to the war’s start – to October 10, 2008, when Russia withdrew troops from the areas it was occupying in Georgia beyond breakaway South Ossetia.

Georgia, as a state party to the Rome Statute, is obligated to fully cooperate with ICC – something that will not apply to Russia, because it is not an ICC member.

Several weeks ago, local CSOs released a voluminous report regarding the ICC investigation and the state of war victims, noting that “there is a considerable delay in the investigation compared to almost all of the previous situations that the Court has dealt with.”

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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