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Russia expects Hague court’s fair ruling on 2008 events in S. Ossetia — Foreign Ministry

October 15, 2015, 12:25 UTC+3
The ministry said the Hague-based International Criminal Court's interpretation of the August 2008 events is "remote from reality"
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© EPA PHOTO ANP/TOUSSAINT KLUITERS

MOSCOW, October 15. /TASS/. Moscow expects the judges of the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) will announce a fair decision when considering a prosecutor's request for investigation into the August 2008 events in South Ossetia, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.

Earlier this week, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda requested a court sanction on launching an official investigation into the alleged war crimes against the ethnic Georgian population during the five-day conflict in the breakaway republic.

This comes more than seven years ago "after the attack of military forces of the [former Georgian President] Mikheil Saakashvili regime on the peaceful Tskhinval and Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia," the ministry said.

"The ICC investigators as part of the case announce they are ready to probe the actions of South Ossetia’s militias against ethnic Georgians and also Russia’s forces who as prosecutors say "were possibly accomplices" in these actions," the statement reads.

"This interpretation of the August 2008 events that is so remote from reality and the documents reflecting them in fact covering up for the regime of Mikheil Saakashvili will hardly add to confidence in the office of the ICC prosecutor," the ministry said.

"We expect that when considering the request of the prosecutor the judges will deliver a decision that would answer the principles of justice," the statement says.

Over the past years, the Hague court has received hundreds of lawsuits from the affected persons and relatives of the killed South Ossetian citizens who were the witnesses of the 2008 events.

This evidence of the crimes committed by the Saakashvili regime are confirmed by materials of a Russian criminal case and more than 30 volumes of its have been handed over to the ICC prosecutor’s office, the ministry said.

The ministry also reminded that ten Russian peacekeepers were killed during the attacks of Georgian armed units "while performing their duty to protect the civilian population." However, judging from the conclusions made by the ICC prosecutor, "the deliberate killings of South Ossetians will not be the focus of the international investigation."

Georgia’s breakaway republic of South Ossetia was in the focus of a war between Russia and Georgia in 2008, declaring independence in the aftermath. More than 1,000 people were killed in a five-day war, including Russian peacekeepers. On August 26, 2008 Russia recognized independence of South Ossetia.

After the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict, Russia’s Investigative Committee launched a criminal case over genocide and mass killings of Russian citizens in South Ossetia, as well as Russian peacekeepers with the use of prohibited means and methods of waging a war and with participation of mercenaries .

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