The political process
The human rights organization “Legal initiative for Russia”, specializing in the North Caucasus, began to collect the complaints of residents of South Ossetia to the International criminal court (ICC) in the Hague. This was stated by the representative of the organization Grigor Avetisyan. In January of this year the ICC has launched an investigation of crimes by the participants of hostilities in South Ossetia in August 2008. In the five-day war then attended and Russia.
The ICC has launched an investigation to satisfy the request the court’s Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. It analyzed the reports of international human rights organizations and considered complaints from victims, and then she had “reason to believe that on the territory of Georgia in the context of the armed conflict in August 2008, the crimes were committed that fall under the jurisdiction of the court,” reads the statement posted on the ICC website.
Avetisyan visited the Western countries of the unrecognized Republic in July of this year, collected the complaints of the victims and sent them to the ICC.
In “the Legal initiative” in South Ossetia, in addition to communication with victims in the five-day war in 2008 consisted of communication with the authorities of the Republic. According to human rights officials to communicate with ordinary residents of South Ossetia did not interfere with but facilitate the “Legal initiative” is not provided.
The Ministry of foreign Affairs of South Ossetia their negative attitude to the investigation, the ICC confirmed. On the question of whether South Ossetia to cooperate with the ICC, the representative of the foreign Ministry of the Republic stated that “the inquiry becomes South Ossetia unacceptable political overtones.” What’s the politicization of the investigation, the representative jugoosetinskogo the foreign Ministry is not explained.
In February the foreign Ministry of South Ossetia has expressed readiness to assist in the investigation of the ICC. This was stated by the head of the Ministry of foreign Affairs Kazbulat Tskhovrebov, noting: “I’m not sure they basically want to get here, knowing that you will find a lot of materials that will not contribute to that decision, for which they, most likely, and set up.
Given that the authorities have access to certain information and resources, it is desirable that the authorities collaborated, but the lack of cooperation cannot prevent the investigation, said the Georgian lawyer Simon Papuashvili participated in the collection of evidence in Georgia.
The Russian foreign Ministry their position is not articulated. The representative of the press service of the foreign Ministry on the question of whether Moscow is cooperating with the Hague court, asked to send a written request.
Earlier, Moscow expressed concern in connection with the beginning of the investigation of the ICC. “In light of the recent decision, Russia will be forced to revise in principle the question of the relation to the ICC,” said foreign Ministry spokesman, Maria Zakharova (quoted by “Interfax”). She noted that Russia gave the ICC more than 30 volumes of the Russian criminal case “in support of the crimes of the regime of [former President Mikheil] Saakashvili against South Ossetian population and Russian peacekeepers.”
In early February, the justice Ministry said that Russia will not be able to cooperate with the ICC, as the country has not ratified governing the work of the court the Rome Statute.
Moscow’s refusal to cooperate does not hurt to conduct an investigation, said after the statement of the Russian Ministry of justice Prosecutor Bensouda.
What are the symptoms
The investigation began in January, but until recently, neither the court nor the public and human rights organizations worked with residents of South Ossetia — the complaints came only from the Georgian side. In Georgia, said Avetisyan, worked the delegation of the ICC, which was personally collected treatment. “When complaints from the residents of Georgia has become a critical amount, the ICC Prosecutor announced that there is a need to collect treatment by South Ossetia. And we responded to the call,” explained Avetisyan. In total, according to the activist, during the five days that he was in South Ossetia, appeal to the ICC was filed by 15 people. All the victims in the war and has complained to the European court of human rights.
Mostly explained Avetisyan, the residents of South Ossetia complained about the shelling of Tskhinvali by Georgian troops on the night of 8 August. As a result of night artillery shelling from the Georgian side was destroyed several buildings of the territory of the headquarters of Russian peacekeepers in Tskhinval, burned the Parliament building of South Ossetia and the complex of government buildings.
In total, according to authorities in South Ossetia in clashes with Georgian troops killed 1.5 thousand people. The investigative Committee of Russia (TFR) has documented the death of only 162 people. The Georgian authorities have stated that most of the victims, which they say Russian investigators — not for the civilians and participants in hostilities.
But there are complaints on the actions of the Georgian police. “Legal initiative” has sent an appeal to the ICC on behalf of the relatives of the three dead Ossetians with a request to expand the scope of the investigation that have marked the court in late January to investigate the events that took place at least until October 13, 2008 and not before October 10, as it is now. 13 Oct three South Ossetian boys, one of whom was under the age of 16 in the “buffer zone” of the conflict was arrested by the Georgian people in the form of speaking in the Georgian language.
After that young people were seen in Georgian prisons, prison hospitals and even in court, in a network there was video where the people in the form of a shout at them and humiliate in the Georgian language, was told by the sister of the missing Khachirov, Alan Khachirov Marina. “We complained and yugoosetinsky authorities, written statement, requested the help of Russian security forces, but no one would help us,” said the sister of the missing. According to Avetisyan, the residents of Georgia in the majority complained about the forced relocation after the war.
The Prosecutor Bensouda, starting the investigation, said that the killings and forced relocation of Georgians was conducted by the military of South Ossetia with possible participation of Russian forces. According to information which is in the order of the Prosecutor of the ICC in the territory of South Ossetia were forcibly evicted 18.5 thousand people and killed 113 of ethnic Georgians. In addition, the investigation will involve deliberate attacks on Georgian peacekeepers forces (in this suspected South Ossetian forces and Russian peacekeepers (this is suspected, the Georgian army).
In Georgia, gathering information and documenting crimes mainly engaged in three non-governmental organizations (Center for human rights, young lawyers Association of Georgia and article 42″). Each of them has gathered several hundred testimonies from victims and witnesses, told Georgian lawyer Simon Papuashvili. Mostly it was about the murders of family members, destruction of property and forced displacement.
Unlike complaints to the European court of human rights (Strasbourg court), which are addressed to States, to the Hague court complaining about specific people who took criminal decisions, said Avetisyan. The jurisdiction of the ICC, as stated in its Charter, applies only to individuals. moreover, its jurisdiction includes only those crimes that were committed after 1998. The court considers three classes of international crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes.
The international criminal court (ICC) since 1998, since the adoption of the Rome Statute. The crimes of the citizens of a particular country are under the jurisdiction of the ICC if the country has ratified the Rome Statute. At the moment the Statute of the ICC ratified by 124 countries. Russia has signed the Statute in 2002, but has not ratified it.
But this will not prevent the investigation, Avetisyan said, as formally of a crime referred to in the complaints of the victims in the South Ossetian conflict, committed in the territory of countries that have ratified the Rome Statute. “From the point of view of international law South Ossetia is a territory of Georgia, which recognizes the legal force of the Rome Statute,” — said the defender.
In the process of the ICC can be divided into three phases: preliminary investigation (it lasted for seven years), the investigation itself also (date not specified), hearing, said Papuashvili.
If the ICC will start the procedure of the criminal process, it may end in actual convictions of high-ranking military or political officials of the countries participating in the South Ossetia conflict, I’m sure Avetisyan.
Throughout its history, the court delivered only three judgments. The first was issued in 2012 to 14 years of imprisonment, was sentenced former Congolese rebel leader Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, who was convicted of human rights violations and ethnic cleansing in the Congo.
The investigation of Georgia — the first and only inquiry of the court concerning the conflicts in Europe. The court is also investigating possible crimes during armed conflicts in Uganda, Central African Republic, Libya, Sudan, Kenya, côte D’ivoire and Mali. The highest ranking accused in the court’s history was the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi (before the court he never appeared).