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Statement of Amb. Zurab Tchiaberashvili, Permanent Representative of Georgia at the 1048th Meeting of Minister’s Deputies (Strasbourg, 11 February 2009)

Madam Chairperson,

Dear Colleagues,

On 6 February 2009, in accordance with Article 33 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Georgia lodged an inter-state application against the Russian Federation to the European Court of Human Rights.

This application arises from the indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks committed against civilians and their property by the Russian Federation during the armed conflict in August and subsequent occupation by the Russian Federation of the parts of the Georgian territory which amounted to the serious and mass violations of human rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and its Protocols.

Georgian Government alleges that these attacks, which took place shortly before and in the course of the invasion and occupation of Georgian territories by Russian forces in August 2008 as well as subsequently, were carried out by the military forces of the Russian Federation and / or the separatist forces under their control. They form part of a decade long practice of Russia providing direct military, economic and political support to the puppet de facto authorities in the autonomous regions, thereby promoting separatist conflict and resulting in mass violations of the Convention. In particular, the Application concerns:

·        Article 2 of the Convention pertaining to the right to life that Georgia claims the Russian Federation has flagrantly violated both by means of bombing the territory of Georgia as well as by the ground forces that entered Georgia proper;

·        Article 3 of the Convention relating to the absolute prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment that has been violated in respect of both, civilian population as well as the members of the armed forces who are equally protected by this very Article;

·        Article 5 of the Convention envisaging the right to liberty and security which has been violated by the Russian Federation by means of taking innocent civilian population hostage;

·        Article 8 of the Convention relating to the right to respect for the right to home which has been violated by forcing civilian population to leave their homes and impeding their due return;

·        Article 13 of the Convention guaranteeing the right to an effective remedy;

·        Article 1 of Protocol I to the European Convention envisaging the protection of property that has been blatantly violated by the respondent Government in the present case both by means of bombing and torching houses as well as looting of property;

·        Article 2 of Protocol I to the European Convention guaranteeing the right to education that has been violated within the territories under Russian control;

·        Article 2 of Protocol IV to the European Convention relating to the freedom of movement that is continuously denied to the population residing within the mentioned territories.

The filing of an application by Georgia is the continuation of the process that started on 11 August 2008. Georgia applied to the European Court initially on the mentioned date drawing the Court’s attention to the alarming situation on the ground. The mentioned served as the basis of the further developments on 12 August 2008 when the President of the European Court, acting as President of Chamber, decided "to apply Rule 39 of the Rules of Court (interim measures) considering that the current situation is giving rise to a real and continuing risk of serious violations of the Convention”. In the view of the continuing threat to the protection of human rights within the territories under Russian control, the interim measures have several times been prolonged by the European Court.

Under the application the Georgian Government seeks the following:

(i)                A declaration that the Respondent State has breached and continues to breach Articles 2, 3, 5, 8 and 13 of the Convention, Articles 1 and 2 of Protocol 1 to the Convention, and Article 2 of Protocol 4 to the Convention;

(ii)             A declaration that the Respondent State has failed to comply with the interim measures indicated by the Court on August 12, 2008 and thus is in continuing violation of the Convention, in particular of Articles 2 and 3. 

(iii)           An order that Convention-compliant investigations be undertaken into the Applicant State’s complaints;

(iv)           An order for appropriate remedial measures, such as a national scheme to provide redress to those affected by the Convention violations;

(v)             Just satisfaction to compensate for the violations of the rights as set out in (i) above; and

(vi)           An order for the payment of costs and expenses.

Thank you, Madam Chairperson.


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