International Criminal Court prosecutor intends to investigate 2008 Russia-Georgia war

  • The International Criminal Court began functioning on July 1, 2002 – the date the Rome Statute entered into force. The Rome Statute is a multilateral treaty signed by 123 states., 8 Oct 2015 - 18:17, Tbilisi,Georgia

A top prosecutor from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands, announced she wanted to investigate possible crimes committed during the 2008 conflict between Russia and Georgia, noting there was strong evidence crimes had been committed during the short but violent war. 

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she would approach the ICC with her request and if approved, her investigation will be the first of its kind carried out by the ICC outside of Africa.

In a statement today the Court said Bensouda concluded there was a "reasonable basis to believe" crimes had been committed during the short war over the Russian-backed breakaway Georgian province of Tskhinvali (South Ossetia).

International media reported her request came as Russia "seeks to become a more active global diplomatic and military player, launching air strikes in support of beleaguered Syrian president Bashar Al-Assad, defying the broad Western consensus that he should go”.

The ICC’s webpage stated once Bensouda submitted her request, it will then be for the Judges of the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber to decide whether or not to authorise the right for her to open an investigation into the situation. 

The Judges will have to consider whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation, upon examination of the Prosecutor's request and the supporting material, said the ICC.

The ICC, governed by the Rome Statute, is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.

Through the Russia-Georgia war of 2008 Georgia lost about 20 percent of its territories. Today breakaway de facto regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) still remained under Russian control. 

Hundreds of thousands of Georgians were forced from their homes and locals living at the so-called Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) had their rights violated on a daily basis, said the Georgian side.