On 10th of March 2022 ICC Prosecutor announced application for arrest warrants in the Situation of Georgia. The case originated as a result of crimes committed during Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008. The prosecutor requested arrest warrants against 3 key South Ossetian Separatist leaders, holding high positions during the conflict. On the basis of evidence collected and examined, the prosecutor believes that these three individuals bear criminal responsibility for the war crimes including acts of torture, inhumane treatment and hostage taking.
Open Society Georgia foundation has been actively engaged in advocacy in front of the ICC since 2010. Together with our partners we have gathered, documented and issued a report evidencing crimes committed during the invasion. The document was frequently referenced by the Prosecutor in her request to open an investigation in 2016.
At the same time foundation has supported creation of Georgian Coalition for International Criminal Court, (GCICC) uniting 6 leading NGOs. The coalition has managed to document and submit to the court thousands of victim-witness statements. In granting the Prosecutor’s request to open an investigation, the Chamber has specifically noted that the representations by or on behalf of 6,335 victims on this matter, which it received on 4 December 2015, “overwhelmingly speak in favor of the opening of an investigation.”
As a result of OSGF’s advocacy in The Hague, we have managed to open the ICC’s local representative Office in Tbilisi making it easy for the GCICC to cooperate with the court. The Foundation has also supported “Justice International” an NGO with its representative office in The Hague. The chairman of the organization Mr. Nika Jeiranashvili has been tirelessly working to provide comprehensive information to the court bodies and to support the investigation process on this case.
We consider that these efforts made it possible for the prosecutor to bring charges against perpetrators of war crimes. It should be hereby noted that in its preliminary examination, the Office of the Prosecutor gathered information on alleged crimes attributed to all three parties involved in the armed conflict – the Georgian armed forces, the South Ossetian forces, and the Russian armed forces. However, the charges are only brought against South Ossetian separatist leaders. The prosecutor specifically emphasized that he had sufficient evidence to bring charges against Vyacheslav Borisov, Major General in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and Deputy Commander of the Airborne Forces at the time of events, who is believed to have intentionally contributed to the execution of some of these crimes, however he is now deceased.
Overall, we hope that moving to a new stage of the investigation will enable ICC to prosecute those charged with war crimes, which will be a great victory for thousands of Georgian victims in their quest for justice.
Check ICC web site for full information.