The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has declared unfounded the accusations of Georgia against Russia in connection with the events of August 2008 in South Ossetia, the press service of the Russian Ministry of Justice reported.
It is noted that on January 21st, the decision of the Grand Chamber of the ECHR on the interstate complaint “Georgia against Russia (II)” was published, the subject of which is the events of August 2008 in South Ossetia and their consequences.
The Court asserted that since August 12, 2008, “strong Russian presence and the South Ossetian and Abkhazian authorities’ dependency on the Russian Federation indicated that there had been continued “effective control” over South Ossetia and Abkhazia.”
After almost 12 years of trial, the ECHR ruled that Russia should not be held accountable under the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms for incidents that occurred when Russian servicemen repulsed an attack by the Georgian army on the peacekeeping contingent and local civilian population during the events in South Ossetia.
The court also did not support Tbilisi’s statements about the alleged invasion of the Russian army into the territory of South Ossetia on August 7, 2008, that is, the day before the start of the Georgian aggression.
As Russian Deputy Minister of Justice Mikhail Halperin noted, Georgia tried to prove that the European Convention on Human Rights is applied not only in peacetime, but also during hostilities, which contradicts the foundations of international humanitarian law.
According to him, the Russian side was able to convince the judges that the legal assessment of the events of August 2008 in Abkhazia and South Ossetia is not within their jurisdiction.
“Also, the ECHR has not established a single case of violation of the rights of the civilian population by Russian servicemen during the events of August 2008,” Halperin stressed.
At the same time, the ministry noted that they do not agree with the conclusions of the ECHR, according to which the Russian side is responsible for the incidents that occurred after August 12 in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, although the court could not establish the involvement of Russian military personnel in them.
The ECHR judgment in the Georgia v. Russia (II) case does not contain a decision on monetary compensation. The relevant issue was left by the court in Strasbourg for further consideration.
The conclusions regarding that are the following:
The ECHR has also established numerous violations of the Convention by Russia and ruled:
- by sixteen votes to one, that there had been an administrative practice contrary to Articles 2, 3, and 8 of the Convention, involving the right to life, prohibition of torture and respect for private and family life, respectively, and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention, involving the protection of property.
- unanimously that the Georgian civilians detained by the S. Ossetian forces in Tskhinvali between approximately 10 and 27 August 2008 had fallen within the Russian jurisdiction for the purposes of Article 1, and that there had been a breach of Article 3, the prohibition of torture “as regards the conditions of detention of some 160 Georgian civilians and the humiliating acts which had caused them suffering and had to be regarded as inhuman and degrading treatment.”
- unanimously that there had been an administrative practice contrary to Article 5, involving the right to liberty and security as regards the arbitrary detention of Georgian civilians in August 2008.
- unanimously, that the Georgian prisoners of war detained in Tskhinvali between 8 and 17 August 2008 by the S. Ossetian forces had fallen within the Russian legal responsibility for the purposes of the Convention; and by sixteen votes to one, that there had been an administrative practice contrary to Article 3 (prohibition of torture) as regards the acts of torture of which the Georgian prisoners of war had been victims.
- by sixteen votes to one, that preventing of the Georgian nationals from returning to S. Ossetia or Abkhazia had fallen within the Russian jurisdiction; and by sixteen to one that there had been an administrative practice contrary to Article 2 of Protocol No. 4, freedom of movement, linked to the inability of Georgian nationals to return to their homes;
- unanimously that Russia had a procedural obligation under Article 2 to carry out “an adequate and effective investigation” not only into the events which had occurred after the end of hostilities (after the August 12, 2008 ceasefire ) but also into the events during the active phase of hostilities (8 to 12 August 2008);
- and by sixteen votes to 1, that in this regard there had been a violation of Article 2 in its procedural aspect, meaning the breach of the obligation to conduct an effective probe into alleged breaches of the Article’s substantive limb.
- by sixteen votes to 1, that Russia failed to meet its obligations under Article 38, by failing to examine the case.
- unanimously, that the question regarding Article 41, involving just satisfaction “was not ready for decision and should therefore be reserved in full.”
As such, despite years of accusations by the US and Co., it was established that Georgia was actually the side that began the hostilities that led to the two-day war of 2008 between Tbilisi and Moscow.
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