Contexts of Chaos: Decoding the European Court’s Judgement in Georgia v. Russia No 2
The international court in Strasbourg confirmed that the Tskhinvali region and Abkhazia are integral parts of Georgia and are under Russian occupation.
Georgia won a case against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg. This was announced on January 21 by the Prime Minister of the country Giorgi Gakharia and the head of the Georgian Ministry of Justice Gocha Lordkipanidze.
“Today is one of the most important days in the modern history of Georgia. The twelve-year dispute with the Russian Federation about the August 2008 war ended with Georgia’s victory. This is a common victory, “the Prime Minister of the country wrote on Facebook. Georgy Gakharia.
The head of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia at a special briefing said that according to the decision of the Grand Chamber of the ECHR, which is not subject to appeal, it was established that Russia exercises “effective control” over the Tskhinvali and Abkhaz regions of Georgia and that it is the Russian Federation that is responsible for violations of the rights of citizens of Georgia.
“The court confirmed that the Tskhinvali region and Abkhazia are integral parts of Georgia and are under Russian occupation. At the same time, which is extremely important, the Court ruled that during the 2008 war, Russia carried out ethnic cleansing of Georgians, ”said Gocha Lordkipanidze.
At the same time, the statement of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia also states that the historic decision of the ECHR is the most important in the settlement of conflicts and restoration of the territorial integrity of Georgia through international legal mechanisms..
In the meantime, the Russian Ministry of Justice announced on January 21 “Russia’s victory in the ECHR” in the same case. The Russian statement says that the court “found that Georgia’s accusations against Russia about the events of 8-12 August 2008 in South Ossetia and Abkhazia were unfounded.” At the same time, the Russian ministry was forced to declare disagreement with the conclusions of the ECHR regarding the responsibility of the Russian side “for incidents” that took place after August 12.
ECHR judgment without cuts
The full text of the decision of the European Court of Human Rights was published on January 21. It says that after considering the case “Georgia v. Russian Federation”, the court found that after the hostilities in 2008, Russia violated six articles of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
Thus, the ECHR found Russia responsible for violations of the following articles: the right to life (article 2); the prohibition of torture and punishment, inhuman or degrading treatment (art. 3); the right to liberty and security (art. 5); the right to protection of private and family life (art. 8); protection of property (article 1 of the first additional protocol); freedom of movement (Article 2 of Protocol No. 4).
These violations extend to the events following the ceasefire on 12 August 2008. By eleven votes to six, the judges of the ECHR ruled that the events that took place from 8 to 12 August 2008 did not fall under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation.
It is noteworthy that this is the only accusation of Georgia against Russia in this case, with which the ECHR did not agree..
Let us remind you that initially Georgia filed a lawsuit against Russia in the ECHR on August 11, 2008, one day before the signing of the ceasefire agreement. At the same time, the interstate claim in its final form was submitted to the ECHR on February 6, 2009. In it, Georgia accused Russia of the fact that the Russian armed forces and separatist military formations under their control carried out illegal actions against civilians, as well as their property in Abkhazia and South Ossetia..
Russia denied any involvement in the violations of which Georgia accused it, arguing that Tbilisi’s claims were not substantiated..
The Georgian opposition also regarded the ECtHR decision of January 21 as “an unequivocal victory of Georgia, both in legal and political terms.”.
At the same time, one of the leaders of the opposition “European Georgia”, the former head of the Georgian Security Council Giga Bokeria emphasized that the important thing in the ECtHR decision is that it speaks of Russia’s responsibility not for isolated cases of human rights violations in 2008, but that it speaks of “administrative practice”, i.e. ethnic cleansing, torture, inhuman treatment of ethnic Georgians, which became possible through the fault of the Russian Federation.
In a commentary on the statement of the Russian Ministry of Justice about the alleged “victory” in this case, Bokeria noted that “this is a typical practice of the Putin regime: to send an absurd statement and then make it a subject of discussion for his opponents in order to eventually get lost in this thrown absurdity. and the truth disappeared “.
Tina Khidasheli from the NGO Civil Idea, a former Georgian defense minister, considers today’s ECtHR decision “very important” primarily because it is “precedent”. That is, as she says, Georgia for the first time received an official decision of the international court confirming the Russian occupation of the country..
“The decision says that after August 12, effective control both in Abkhazia and in South Ossetia is carried out by the military forces of another country – Russia. Before that, there were political statements about the Russian occupation, this is the first legal assessment, “Khidasheli said..
The expert believes that the decision of the ECHR will be decisive for another case concerning the Russian-Georgian war, which is being investigated by the International Criminal Court in The Hague..
“In The Hague, Russia says that yes, perhaps all these violations that Tbilisi is talking about took place, but look for the guilty among the Ossetian militia and bandit formations, Russia has nothing to do with it. The ECtHR decision puts all the i’s on top. At the same time, the Georgian state, as well as all individuals who have brought claims to the international court in connection with the Russian occupation, have a serious argument in order to win the cases, “Khidasheli said..