Georgian Coalition for the ICC resumes work

Civilians in the Russia-Georgia war © Georgian Journal
Georgian Coalition for ICC
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The Georgian Coalition for the International Criminal Court (GCICC) has recently resumed its work, with the Human Rights Center newly elected as a chair organisation. The ICC is currently investigating crimes allegedly committed in August 2008 in Georgia.

GCICC Chairperson Nino Tsagareishvili has said: “There are different significant issues in the process of investigation which need to be addressed by the different actors, including the civil society. GCICC member organizations have been actively working on these issues for the past few months. One of the important issues that we often raise at different forums, including in front of different bodies of ICC has been the need of opening of the local office in Georgia. Opening of the field office is essential for the effective investigation in Georgia. To ensure valuable and effective investigation in Georgia, it is necessary to have local office, whose staff members will actively work on different important issues. One of the purposes of the local office is to raise awareness of the wider society as well as awareness of war victims. Victims have very limited information. It is important to increase their motivation to cooperate with the investigation. Another significant issue is protection and safety of the witnesses. Thus, it is necessary that the representatives of ICC work on the local level, receive information operatively, react to it and update the respective bodies of the Court about possible incidents. These are the topics that we usually raised in front of the ICC representatives in the format of different meetings.” 

“Civil society organisations have welcomed the opening of an ICC investigation in Georgia – as it represents hope for justice for victims of the 2008 conflict," said Virginie Amato, Europe Regional Coordinator of the Coalition for the ICC. "Since then, Coalition members in Georgia have urged the Court to come to Georgia to start outreach and information activities in order to increase understanding about the Court. We look forward to the opening of the ICC Field office in Georgia, and we hope it will soon be developing an outreach strategy in consultation with the civil society organisations so as to best identify and reach out to victims and affected communities.”

On 13-16 June 2017, the annual strategic round table meetings took place between ICC and NGOs in Hague, Netherlands. The judges and chief prosecutor, representatives of Registry and Office of Prosecutor and other sections of ICC attended the meetings. The representatives of Open Society Georgia Foundation, Human Rights Center, Georgian Young Lawyers Association and Georgian Center for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims participated in the meetings from Georgia. 

Tsagareishvili stated that ICC shows openness when it comes to the discussion of certain issues. She added that one such issue was the opening of the field office in Georgia: “The Court already thinks about opening the field office in Georgia. The budget elaborated by the Court will be presented to the Assembly of the Member State of Rome Statute for approval; the budget envisages funds for the opening the field office in Georgia. According to this document, the local office will have certain personnel. We welcome this decision because until now there was some obscurity about this issue. It can be said that the process was dragged out but the decision is a step forward considering that the Court also acknowledged needs of the field office in the country and requests permission for it.”

The budget is approved by the Assembly of the Rome Statute Member States, which will gather in December 2017. The final budget is yet to be confirmed. 

 

The Human Rights Center

The Human Rights Centre (HRIDC) is a Georgia based NGO dedicated to the protection and promotion of human rights.