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  Wednesday, February 8, 2023
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The International Court of Justice in The Hague began hearings
The International Court of Justice in The Hague began hearings on Monday into Georgian claims of Russian human rights violations.

Tbilisi claims that Russian forces and local militias infringed the human rights of Georgian nationals residing in its breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia between 1990 and 2008. It says a systematic campaign against Georgians in the republics has forced more than 300,000 from their homes since 1991.

Georgia is seeking an injunction from the court ordering Moscow to halt "murder" and "forced

displacement" in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The court must first decide if it has jurisdiction in the case.

Russia also accuses Georgia of crimes against humanity in connection with its massive air and ground attack on Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, on August 8. Moscow says hundreds of civilians plus a number of its peacekeepers were killed by Georgian forces during the attack. Most residents of South Ossetia have Russian citizenship.

Moscow has threatened to attempt to have Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili tried as a war criminal.

Both Russia and Georgia have been accused by the U.S.-based group Human Rights Watch of "indiscriminate attacks" on civilians during the fighting.

The case opened as French President Nicolas Sarkozy led an EU delegation to Moscow. Sarkozy is hoping to persuade Russia to pull its peacekeeping forces out of positions inside Georgia.

Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia on August 26, two weeks after it had concluded its operation "to force Georgia to peace."

So far, only Nicaragua has joined Russia in recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia broke away from Georgia following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s following bloody conflicts that left thousands dead.


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