Georgia Files New Suit with Strasbourg Court against Russia

Georgia has filed a new suit against the Russian Federation referring to the administrative practice of mass detention, harassment and murder of the Georgian population on the Russian occupied territories of Georgia, Abkhazia and “South Ossetia.”

The suit, named ‘Georgia vs the Russian Federation,’ was sent to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg by the Ministry of Justice of Georgia, which demands the European Court establish Russia's responsibility for violating several articles of the European Convention.

“Russia should be held responsible for continuous occupation, erection of barbed wire fences and a targeted campaign against the population of Georgia,” the ministry stated.

According to the document, Russia violated the European Convention Article 2 (right to life), Article 3 (prohibition of torture), Article 5 (right to liberty and security), Article 8 (right to privacy and family life), Article 13 (right to effective remedy), Articles 1 (right to property) and 2 (right to education) of Protocol 1, plus Article 2 of Protocol 4 (freedom of movement).

Georgia’s Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani stated Russia needs to be held accountable for its illegal actions on the occupied territories of Georgia.

He says the Georgian side expects the Strasbourg Court to make a fair decision in the case.

In addition, Georgian Public Defender Nino Lomjaria says filing the lawsuit against Russia was the right decision.

“Due to the fact that the Russian Federation exercises effective control over the occupied territories of Georgia, consequently, in connection with the crimes committed in this area - torture, inhuman treatment, kidnapping of people, etc. responsibility should be placed on the Russian Federation,” she said.

Lomjaria noted the importance that Georgia use all international levers and courts to protect the rights and interests of its citizens in the international arena.

Opposition parties believe the Georgian government should have filed such a complaint a long time ago, however, they approve of the step taken.

Member of parliamentary minority European Georgia, Sergo Ratiani, says that it is important that the process has started.

“We have been calling on the government to prepare such a suit for a long time. The process was delayed, but now it is has begun. It should become a hindering factor for Russian aggressive actions,” he said.

Salome Samadashvili, member of the United National Movement (UNM), says it is already late to file. She believes it cannot be predicted what kind of decision will be made by the ECHR.

“This process might last for years. Meanwhile, we will be unprotected. That is why active diplomatic pressure on Russia and pressing this issue in the international arena is the most effective and fastest way to protect our citizens and our country's security," she said.

Russia occupied Abkhazia and “South Ossetia” after the August 2008 war. Since then it has been controlling the territories and does not permit international monitoring missions to carry out monitoring there.

By Thea Morrison

23 August 2018 18:59