Comment by the Information and Press Department regarding the International Criminal Court Prosecutor’s request for the Court’s authorization to open an official investigation into the August 2008 events in South Ossetia
More than seven years after the attack of M.Saakashvili’s armed forces on the peaceful Tskhinval and Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia, the ICC Prosecutor F.Bensouda has requested the Court to authorize the opening of an official investigation into these events.
Over these years, The Hague has received hundreds of statements from eyewitnesses of August 2008’ events - victims and family members of civilians killed in South Ossetia. These testimonies of crimes committed by M.Saakashvili’s regime are corroborated by materials of the Russian criminal investigation. Over 30 volumes of these materials were handed over to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) in the framework of Russia’s cooperation with the Court. It should be stressed that the Georgian military forces attacked Russian peacekeepers, ten of which gave their lives carrying out their duty to protect civilians until the end.
Meanwhile, judging from the ICC Prosecutor’s conclusions, the deliberate killings of South Ossetians will not be a subject of the international investigation. The OTP also has doubts regarding attacks on the Russian peacekeepers. At the same time, ICC investigators claim they are willing to investigate the actions of South Ossetian militia against ethnic Georgians as well as actions of Russian military personnel, which, as the prosecutors suspect, could possibly be involved.
Such interpretation of the August 2008 events that is so far from reality and documented evidence and that basically exonerate Saakashvili’s regime, will hardly increase the OTP’ credibility.
We expect that, after considering the ICC Prosecutor’s request, the judges will take a decision that is based on the principles of justice.
October 15, 2015