Georgia welcomes Hague court’s probe of conflict with Russia

Georgia has welcomed the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to investigate its 2008 war with Russia.

The Georgian government was willing to provide all materials required for the court, Hatuna Josava, a director from the Justice Ministry, said Saturday.

Earlier reports said that, at the request of Russia, the Hague-based court would send officials to Georgia in early February to investigate the conflict.

Josava said the Georgian government had not lodged an appeal to the ICC and the officials would be free to make independent investigations in Georgia.

South Ossetia, along with another rebel Georgian region of Abkhazia, broke away from Tbilisi’s rule during a war in the 1990s that followed the collapse of the former Soviet Union.

Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war in August 2008, when Georgia attacked South Ossetia to retake the renegade region, which borders Russia. In response, Moscow sent in troops to drive Georgian forces out of the region and recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states two weeks after the conflict ended.

An international fact-finding mission backed by the European Union (EU) judged in a report last September that Georgia started the war as a result of Russian provocation, accusing Georgia of violating international laws by using force.

Russia has asked the ICC to make further investigations and punish Georgia. The EU has also asked the ICC continue investigations.

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