International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo met last week with Georgian Justice Minister, Zurab Adeishvili, in The Hague as part of regular consultations launched since the events of the August war has been the subject of preliminary examination by ICC Prosecutor's Office.
The meeting, which was held on March 18, was also attended by Tina Burjaliani, the Georgian first deputy justice minister, and Payam Akhavan, professor at McGill University in Canada, who acts as a legal counsel for the Georgian government. Professor Akhavan was a legal advisor to the Prosecutor’s Office of the International Criminal Tribunals for Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda in 1994-2000.
Shortly after the August war, the ICC Prosecutor said that the situation in Georgia was under analysis by his Office.
Unlike Russia, Georgia is a state party to the Rome Statute, hence the ICC has jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide possibly committed in the territory of Georgia.
"The Office assesses all issues pertaining to its jurisdiction and to the admissibility of cases potentially arising from the situation in Georgia," ICC said in a press release on March 19.
It said that the Georgian delegation presented Tbilisi’s views on the alleged crimes perpetrated during the August armed conflict, including forced displacement of civilians. "They [the Georgian delegation] also briefed the Prosecutor on the ongoing national investigations in Georgia into grave violations committed by all parties to the conflict," ICC said.
The Georgian Justice Ministry said that it was "interested" in having close cooperation with ICC and was ready to provide all the evidence "obtained in the process of investigating crimes committed during the Russian aggression."
According to the Office of Prosecutor, it requested information from the Russian and Georgian governments back in August, 2008 and received response from the both countries.
“We welcome Georgia’s ongoing cooperation with my Office and the prospect that Georgian institutions could operate with the Court in a complementary way,” (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said.
According to ICC, Russia has to date sent 3,817 communications to the prosecutor's office relating to the situation in Georgia.
Representatives from the ICC's prosecutor's office paid visit Georgia in November, 2008 and a new visit is tentatively planned for June, 2010.