ICC announces completion of investigation into crimes during Russia-Georgia 2008 war

The ICC opened its investigation into the Russia-Georgia conflict case on January 27, 2016. Photo: CoE

Agenda.ge, 16 Dec 2022 - 18:38, Tbilisi,Georgia

The International Criminal Court on Friday announced the completion of its investigation into the case studying potential war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Russia-Georgia 2008 war, launched in 2016 on the request of the Georgian Government. 

ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan noted the investigation had resulted in arrest warrants being issued in June against three suspects representing the de facto authorities in the Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region, the epicentre of the conflict and a territory occupied by Russia since the war.

Mikhail Mayramovich Mindzaev, Gamlet Guchmazov and David Georgiyevich Sanakoev are sought for alleged unlawful confinement, torture and ill-treatment, hostage-taking and subsequent unlawful transfer of ethnic Georgian civilians during the conflict between July 1 and October 10, 2008. 

Naming the suspects “among those most responsible for these alleged crimes”, Khan stressed the investigation had also uncovered the alleged role of Major General Vyacheslav Borisov, the Deputy Commander of the Airborne Forces of the Russian Armed Forces at the time of events, “who is believed to have intentionally contributed to the execution of some of these crimes, and is now deceased”. 

Beyond the cases pending before the ICC, my Office will not pursue new lines of inquiry into the alleged criminal responsibility of other persons or for other conduct within the situation in Georgia. Accordingly, absent a significant change in circumstances, the investigation phase in the situation in Georgia has been concluded”, Khan said, noting the Georgian Government had been informed about the decision. 

The Prosecutor also noted in 20 years since the establishment of the court, “today marks the first time my Office has decided to conclude the investigation phase of its work in relation to a situation addressed by the court”. He called the decision “an essential part of articulating and implementing an effective prosecutorial strategy”. 

Khan, however, said his office’s work in the cases was “far from over”, and pledged “continuous efforts” to ensure the “successful prosecution” of the individuals subject to arrest warrants.