On 1 July 2016, Global Diligence LLP and the Russian Justice Initiative submitted a joint request to the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, seeking an extension of the temporal scope of her investigation into the Situation in Georgia. GD and RJI argue that the investigation, authorised by ICC judges on 27 January 2016, should be extended by 3 days to cover the disappearance of three South Ossetian men who were last seen in the vicinity of the administrative boundary line on 13 October 2008.
On 27 January 2016, the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC authorised a full investigation into international crimes alleged to have taken place on the territory of Georgia from 1 July to 10 October 2008, as part of the armed conflict between Georgia, Russia and the separatist forces of South Ossetia (Situation in Georgia). The date chosen to mark the end of the investigation coincides with the official withdrawal of Russian troops beyond the de facto border between Georgia and the breakaway republic of South Ossetia. On 13 October 2008, three South Ossetian men – Alan Khachirov, Alan Khugayev and Soltan Pliyev – disappeared in the vicinity of the de facto border. Evidence implicating Georgian authorities in their abduction and ill-treatment has been put forth by the Commission for Human Rights of the Council of Europe and the European Union Monitoring Mission. There has been no effective investigation into the men’s disappearance by Georgian or South Ossetian authorities.
In their submission to the ICC Prosecutor, Global Diligence partner Alexandre Prezanti and Russian Justice Initiative executive director Vanessa Kogan argue that the disappearance of Mssrs. Khachirov, Khugayev and Pliyev took place in the context of and was associated with the armed conflict and attack on the civilian population that forms the basis of the Situation in Georgia. Therefore, the conduct that led to their disappearances may amount to war crimes and/or crimes against humanity, and ought to form part of the ICC investigation. To this end, GD and RJI request the ICC Prosecutor to seek the Pre-Trial Chamber’s authorisation to extend the temporal parameters of the investigation into the Situation in Georgia to at least 13 October 2008. This request is part of GD and RJI’s joint efforts to represent South Ossetian victims of the 2008 conflict at the International Criminal Court.