REGNUM: Foreign Minister of South Ossetia asked a number of questions to the International Criminal Court

TSKHINVAL, March 21, 2022, 18:17 — REGNUM The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Ossetia made a comment on the request of the ICC Prosecutor to issue warrants for arrests of Mikhail Mindzaev, Hamlet Guchmazov and David Sanakoev.  It states:

“As it recently became known, as part of an investigation into the events of August 2008, ICC Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan sent a request to the pre-trial chamber to issue warrants for arresting former Minister of Internal Affairs of South Ossetia Mikhail Mindzaev, former Head of the pre-trial detention center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of South Ossetia Hamlet Guchmazov and former Commissioner for Human Rights under the President of South Ossetia David Sanakoev, who held their positions in August 2008, during the armed aggression committed by Georgia against the Republic of South Ossetia.

This information caused complete bewilderment in South Ossetia, since these officials, who were accused of war crimes against Georgian prisoners of war and civilians, had made every possible effort to save those persons lives, to ensure their security in the territory of South Ossetia and later to transfer them to the Georgian side. At the same time, the International Criminal Court has not taken a single procedural action against the Georgian military and officials guilty of committing documented war crimes against the civilian population of South Ossetia and representatives of the Russian peacekeeping contingent stationed in South Ossetian territory.

We consider it necessary to emphasize that the official authorities of the Republic of South Ossetia, having studied the materials of the ongoing investigation at the initial stage, categorically rejected the possibility of interaction with the International Criminal Court, since the absolutely biased in the political sense platform, adopted by this organization as a basis for the investigation of the events of August 2008, has nothing to do with justice. No one will ever be able to agree with such a selective application of international law, when the investigation is conducted not against representatives of the aggressor country, but exclusively against representatives of the side affected by the aggression.

However, today, against the backdrop of a very serious crisis in international relations, the ICC has obviously decided to revitalize and make possible contribution to its aggravation, finally discrediting European justice. Mr. Karim Khan should refresh his own memory and this of his colleagues about the results of the work of the independent EU commission on investigating the facts of August 2008, headed by Heidi Tagliavini, which unequivocally established that on the night of August 7 to 8, 2008 Georgia was the first to commit a full-scale armed aggression against South Ossetia, using heavy artillery, armored vehicles and military aircraft against the civilian population and the Russian peacekeeping contingent.

Such a special kind of justice, which blatantly ignores inconvenient facts, does not withstand any criticism and cannot be accepted in a country which has suffered armed aggression. Obviously, the position of the ICC will never be accepted by the Russian Federation, which forced the aggressor country Georgia to peace and saved South Ossetia and its people from extermination”.

In connection with this statement the South Ossetian Foreign Minister addressed Prosecutor Karim Khan with a number of questions.

“At the background of the events in Ukraine another revival of the ICC investigation of the events of August 2008 does not seem coincidental. South Ossetia avoided of communication with the ICC because of the organization’s one-sided evaluation of the events of August 2008 and rather selective application of law to the aggressor country Georgia and to the victim party of that aggression – the people of South Ossetia.  

It’s not the first time when the ICC officials demonstrate their political partisanship. One would like to ask Mr. Karim Khan at what stage is currently the investigation of the crimes committed by the US and British military during the invasion to Iraq in 2003? Not only the legality of military activity in a sovereign state, but attacks on civilians, intentional homicides and cases of inhuman treatment of civilians were investigated. Where are the results?  

And the last question to Mr. Karim Khan is, whether the scale of the crimes committed by the coalition against the civilian population of Iraq is comparable with the fabricated allegations against former South Ossetian officials. Obviously it is not, therefore neither can anyone expect of the ICC that it will conduct a fair and unbiased investigation of the events of August 2008, nor it will hold accountable the true perpetrators in the unleashed five-day war in South Ossetia. Look for criminals elsewhere”.