ICC prosecutor seeks 3 warrants linked to 2008 Georgia war

March 10, 2022 GMT

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court announced late Thursday that he is seeking arrest warrants for three men suspected of committing war crimes during the 2008 Russo-Georgian War.

All three — Lt.-Gen. Mikhail Mindzaev, Gamlet Guchmazov and David Sanakoev — served in the governments of the Russian-backed self-declared republic of South Ossetia.

In a press release, chief prosecutor Karim Khan said his application focuses on the “unlawful confinement, ill-treatment, hostage taking and subsequent unlawful transfer of ethnic Georgian civilians” in August 2008.

Mindzaev and Guchmazov held the top positions at the Ministry of Internal Affairs of South Ossetia, while Sanakoev served as the Presidential Representative for Human Rights of the breakaway region.

The Hague-based court opened an investigation into the conflict, which killed hundreds and left thousands of civilians displaced, in 2016. Russia invaded Georgia after violence broke out between separatist groups and Georgian forces. In 2021, the European Court of Human Rights concluded that “grave human rights abuses” occurred on Russian-held territory.

Khan noted in his statement that his office’s investigation into Ukraine since 2014 had turned up similar “patterns” and called on all parties in the ongoing conflict there to respect international humanitarian law.