NGO Report on violations of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law during the Russian-Georgian war presented to Prosecutor of ICC in the Hague

1 Mar, 2010

By the end of February 2009 Georgian NGOs will release a report on violations of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law during the Russian-Georgian war of August 2008.

Report will be released with the support of Open Society Georgian Foundation, based on the materials collected by the five Georgian non-governmental organizations, such as: Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, Human Rights Center, Union “21st Century”, Article 42 of Constitution, Center for Protection of Constitutional Rights.

Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Mr. Luis Moreno-Ocampo got interested in the report and on February 2 representatives of Georgian NGOs presented the draft report to the prosecutor and his team in the Hague.

Present Report is based on stories presented by IDPs and enables to demonstrate to the world and to the ICC the facts and documentary materials on cruel and inhuman actions committed massively on the Georgian territory.

During the work on the present document NGOs collected and analyzed materials, which depict the 2008 conflict. 1055 IDPs were interviewed and all the collected materials were processed statistically as well as with application of fact-comparison methodology.

Pursuant to the stories of IDPs, statements made by the representatives of the de facto authorities, photo and video materials, assessments of numerous international organizations and researchers and reporters, we can state with  full confidence:

The goal of the so-called “peace enforcement operation” carried out jointly by the Russian and the South Ossetian authorities was to clean Georgian villages on the South Ossetian territory from ethnically Georgian population. Ethnic cleansing was carried out in a well planned and systematic manner.

The information and documents collected by NGOs are extensive and enough to show the widespread and systematic nature of the attacks on villages in South Ossetia. Massive bombing of residential houses, agricultural lands, orchards, schools and entire city/village civilian infrastructure  by the Russian army aviation, as well as burning of houses and annihilation of the entire villages by South Ossetia armed authorities was another prove of targeted ethnic cleansing. The evidence indicates indiscriminate and disproportionate bombing resulting in the deaths of numerous civilians.

Georgian NGOs believe that when the crime is committed, issue of liability should be addressed. International law and the protection mechanisms set up by the democratic world have to be applied equally and regardless the size and influence of the state and/or duration of the war.