World Court Begins Proceedings on Georgia, Russia
UN World Court Begins Proceedings on Georgia, Russia
The International Court of Justice ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, today kicked off three days of urgent proceedings regarding Georgia’s recent case against Russia.
Last month, Georgia submitted a request that the court impose provisional measures to preserve its “rights… under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination CERD to protect its citizens against violent discriminatory acts by Russian armed forces, acting in concert with separatist militia and foreign mercenaries” on and around its territory.
In that application, Georgia said that since the early 1990s, Russia has “engaged in a systematic policy of ethnic discrimination directed against the ethnic Georgian population and other groups in those regions.”
Further, Georgia contends that despite the withdrawal of its troops and its declaration of a ceasefire, Russian military operations have continued in territories in Georgia’s control.
Oral pleadings by both Georgia and Russia will be heard by a panel of 15 judges today, before a second round begins tomorrow. The Court is expected to hand down a decision on the provisional measures – which would be binding for both sides – within weeks. Georgia has sought the measures pending the ICJ’s final decision on the merits of the case.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR, nearly 160,000 people were displaced during the conflict which began on 8 August, with some 128,000 uprooted within Georgia. Most of the roughly 30,000 who fled to Russia have since returned to South Ossetia.