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17 July 2020

July 17 Marks Day of International Criminal Justice

July 17 marks the Day of International Criminal Justice. By adopting Rome Statute on July 17, 1998, the system for international justice was created in the form of International Criminal Court (ICC). The Court aims to investigate the most serious crimes (war crimes, genocide, crimes against humanity and agression) and reveal the perpetrators. Therefore, the ICC is significant mechanism for restoring justice for the victims of the international crimes.

2008 August War brought hundreds of casualties. Numerous peaceful civil and military persons were victimized and their fundamental rights were violated. The facts of murder of civilian population, disappearance, mass destruction of property, lootage, forced displacement and persecution, attack on civilian population, illegal deprivation of liberty, torture and inhuman treatment took place during the war.

Since 2008, the crimes committed during the war are investigated by the investigative bodies of Georgia and Russia. However, it should be noted that the information regarding ongoing investigations by these organs and their results are not accessible for the victims and wider society. The member organizations of Georgian Coalition for ICC (GCICC) have not been provided with the information regarding the progress of the investigation either despite their request.

Except for the national investigative bodies, the crimes committed during the war are also investigated by the Office of Prosecutor (OTP) of ICC. Although it has been more than 4 years since the opening of the investigation, the effective investigation has not taken place and the perpetrators have not been brought to justice yet. 

As a result, the victims of the 2008 August War are still waiting for the justice to be served. Effective investigation of the crimes and bringing perpetrators to justice is vital for restoring rights of the victims, as well as ensuring accountability of the states and eradicating the syndrome of impunity. However, the protracted investigation and non-existence of information regarding the progress of the investigation among the victims, including the family members of the deceased, causes frustration regarding ongoing processes.

The unbearable socio-economic conditions of the victims in the areas of displacement and near the administrative boundary line further aggravates the existing situation. The report published by the Georgian Coalition for ICC (GCICC) – 10 years after the August War – Victims of the Situation of Georgia - describes in detail those problems that the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) come across in their daily life. The Covid-19 pandemic further aggravated the problems of IDPs which were already quite grave. Worsened conditions cause their re-traumatization. In such situation, it is vital that the Trust Fund for Victims implements concrete assistance programs for easing the burden for IDPs.

The Georgian Coalition for ICC expresses its support and solidarity to the victims of the August War! The member organizations of the GCICC represent the interests of the victims of the 2008 August War both at the national level, as well as to European Court of Human Rights and ICC. GCICC implemented numerous activities in relation to ICC processes in recent years in order to foster the relevant assistance for the victims. We hope that through the processes ongoing on international level, including the investigation undertaken by the OTP of ICC, it would be possible to identify the perpetrators, bring them to justice, reinstate the rights of the victims and restore the justice.

The Georgian Coalition for International Criminal Court (GCICC) was created in 2003. It aims to promote the accountability for the crimes belonging to the jurisdiction of International Criminal Court and ensure the legal aid for the victims of such crimes.

The Hague