Statement of Georgian Coalition for International Criminal Court regarding Ninth Anniversary of 2008 Russia-Georgia War

8 Aug, 2017

Today, on August 8, nine years have passed since the start of Russia-Georgia war. 2008 August War resulted in hundreds of human casualties. Tens of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes in the conflict zone. The crimes against humanity and war crimes were committed during the war, including the destruction of villages inhabited by Ethnic Georgians and their forceful displacement.

The crimes committed during the August War are currently investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC). The investigation faces many challenges. The hereby signatory organizations have recently published open letter drawing attention to the issues surrounding the investigation, including urgent need of outreach and awareness-raising to the victims and affected communities.

The victims of 2008 August war face many problems in their daily lives, ranging from grave socio-economic problems in the IDP settlements to highly volatile security situation in the borderline villages where the local people including the victims of 2008 War often become re-victimized again as they suffer from illegal abductions and other forms of violation of their right to freedom of movement, liberty and security.

The services offered by the state are not sufficient for addressing victims’ needs. It should also be noted that after 9 years since the August War the assistance from international community has considerably decreased which is particularly relevant in the process of current investigation.

We would like to call on the relevant Georgian authorities, including Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons, Refugees and Accommodation of Georgia, Office of the State Minister of Georgia for Reconciliation and Civic Equality and Ministry of Justice of Georgia to intensify efforts for tackling these problems.

We would like to call on the ICC to take into account the ongoing impact of war crimes on victims and their settlements, to open field office in Georgia as soon as possible and start active work for informing and awareness raising of victims and the public.

We would like to call on international community to implement various assistance programs in order to address the needs of the victims.

Investigation by ICC does not mean that Georgian government is free from the obligation to investigate the crimes committed on Georgian territory in 2008. We would like to call on the Office of Chief Prosecutor of Georgia to ensure the timely and effective investigation on national level, including, renew communication with the victims, provide them with information regarding the process and stages of the investigation, ensure their access to cases files and grant official victim status to those who do not have it.