Saakashvili facing a life sentence?02.07.2010 | 12:36
In The Hague, UN International Court continues investigating the crimes committed during August 2008 events. Last week, representatives of the prosecutor's office of Hague Court visited Georgia and promised to punish the guilty. Will it really happen, though? GeorgiaTimes correspondent asked five competent experts to give their opinion on the matter.
At present, European courts are holding over two and a half thousand lawsuits brought in by citizens of South Ossetia who suffered because of the military actions in Tskhinval. Many Ossetians who submitted their documents in highest instances had lost their relatives and friends during those five dreadful days. The Court of Strasbourg and UN International Court in The Hague also hold lawsuits brought in by some of the nongovernmental human rights organizations.
Meanwhile, the criminal case opened in respect of Georgia by Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor's Office of Russia already comprises 380 volumes. The Committee has documented the death of 162 citizens of South Ossetia and 48 Russian servicemen including ten peacemakers.
Despite the fact that it has been almost two years since the Georgian aggression in South Ossetia, Hague tribunal has not yet made any definite conclusions. Recently, the court representatives visited Georgia where they got some information about crimes committed in August 2008 from the Georgian party. Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court Luis Moreno-Ocampo especially underlined that the cases of the people bearing major responsibility for grave crimes will definitely be investigated.
This week, Hague tribunal has made an official statement saying that the crimes committed should never be left unpunished. GeorgiaTimes correspondent got in touch with experts asking them to comment upon the statement of the International Court and assess the prospect of investigating the crimes committed by Georgia.
Ilya Rassolov, doctor of law, regional programs director for Strategy analytical center
This case should sooner be characterized as a political, not as a legal and military one. Firstly, the essential proceedings will keep dragging on; the national jurisdictional bodies will hardly be capable of avoiding bias in respect of both the Russian and Georgian party; only an independent impartial court is capable of that. Secondly, even Hague tribunal (with due respect to this body), while awarding its judgement (if any), will confine itself to obscure wording that will satisfy the world community but will never satisfy the national elites of these two states. I consider the prospect of proceedings in Hague tribunal to be rather vague.
Sergey Mikheev, deputy director general for Political Technologies Center Foundation
It is difficult to say whom the tribunal of The Hague considers guilty. Actually, I would treat this institute with caution, so long as it is absolutely illegitimate. It has been established by a number of countries and it assumes global responsibility for settling issues anywhere on the planet. I believe this statement is nothing but propaganda. Judging by the court's activities, they are likely to lay the blame upon Russia than upon Saakashvili, so there is not much of the prospect of an unbiased verdict.
There is no international justice, and there will hardly be any. There is a political game where Hague tribunal might be used as someone's instrument. I believe it will be used by Russia's rivals.
Dmitriy Davydenko, director general for Center for Citizens Protection Abroad
It would be proper if the punishment were received by Saakashvili because it is not Georgia but its president who is to blame. It is yet unclear whether the process will be a political one, as well as the way the judges will take the events of August 2008. There is a definite prospect of an investigation, so long as there are procedures and regulations for Strasbourg court and should they be complied with, the lawsuits we are talking about will surely be considered. As to the decisions, they will be taken depending on the way the facts are represented. In case Saakashvili is adjudged guilty he will be officially charged of genocide and announced international criminal, which would mean a life sentence.