2008 Georgia-Russia war: International Criminal Court issues arrest warrants against 3 de facto Tskhinvali officials

The Georgian Justice Ministry announced earlier today that the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Hague has issued arrest warrants against 3 de facto officials of Georgia’s Russian-occupied breakaway Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) region in a case of torture and ill-treatment of Georgian civilians during the 2008 Russian-Georgian war.

The arrest warrants were introduced against the following 3 officers:

  • Minister of Interior Affairs of the de facto Tskhinvali, Mikhail Mayramovich Mindzaev, on the position between 2005 and 2008
  • Gamlet Guchmazov, who held the office as the Head of the Preliminary Detention Facility of the de facto Ministry of Internal Affairs of Tskhinvali region during the war
  • David Georgiyevich Sanakoev, Presidential Representative for Human Rights of Tskhinvali region, also served as Ombudsman during the 2008 war

The aforementioned people are accused of crimes including torture, unlawful confinement, inhumane treatment, violation of personal dignity, unlawful transfer and hostage-taking. 

Moreover, Khan announced the investigation had also established the guilt of Vyacheslav Borisov, a Major General in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and Deputy Commander of the Airborne Forces, noting he was “believed to have intentionally contributed to the execution of some of these offences and is now dead.”

The Georgian Justice Ministry stated it had been providing the curt with “comprehensive details and evidence necessary for proper investigation” in coordination with the Georgian Government and the Office of the Prosecutor, calling the current decision of the Tribunal a “logical continuation of the historic victory of a 2021 European Court of Human Rights ruling in Strasbourg.”

The Ministry also promised to continue working with the court in order to enforce international justice for other crimes committed against the people of Georgia during the conflict and to “fully cooperate” with the court to bring the criminals to justice.

In 2021, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued a ruling in a separate case brought by Georgia against Russia in the 2008 war, stating Russia had infringed 6 articles of the European Convention on Human Rights during the conflict and carried out ethnic cleansing of Georgians, obliging the nation to pay Georgia €10,000,000 for non-pecuniary damage suffered by a group of at least 1,500 Georgian nationals.

Zurab Kvaratskhelia

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