Thursday, Oct 16, 2008
The International Court of Justice in The Hague has rejected a request from Georgia to prosecute Russia over the conflict in the Caucasus. The court also called for both parties to do everything possible to protect human rights in areas hit by the conflict.
Court President Rosalyn Higgins said: “The court is of the opinion that the ethnic Georgian population in the areas affected by the recent conflict remains vulnerable.” She added that the populations of South Ossetian and Abkhazia “also remain vulnerable”.
The court ordered both sides to protect civilians in the regions. It also called for the free passage of humanitarian aid to those still suffering the effects of the August conflict.
On August 12, Tbilisi, appealed to the UN’s highest court to stop what it called a campaign of “racial discrimination” by Russia against Georgians living in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It accused Moscow of violating the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.
Two days later Georgia repeatedly appealed to the court, asking it to take temporary measures to protect the rights of ethnic Georgians.
Hearings were held at The Hague on September 8-10. The ruling was handed down on Wednesday.
Roman Kolodkin, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s legal department said the “measures are very different from those that Georgia requested from the court.
“That Georgia was claiming that Russia is in breach of its obligations under the international convention of the illumination of all forms of racial discrimination of 1965. In the territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia Russia is discriminating against Georgia. And Georgia is claiming that Russia is occupying its territories. You can find nothing about this in the court order.”
Moscow is expected to continue its campaign to demonstrate that The Hague has no jurisdiction on Georgia’s application against Russia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.
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