ECHR compels Russia to pay Georgia €130 million for crimes committed during the 2008 war

Russia has been ordered to pay Georgia €130 million as restitution for crimes committed during their war 15 years ago by the European Court of Human Rights. The court found that six articles of the European Convention on Human Rights, including the right to life, torture, burning, and damage of private property, were violated by Russia against the inhabitants of Georgia.

2008 saw a brief conflict between Moscow and Tbilisi over the breakaway region of South Ossetia, under the pretense of defending the Ossetian ethnic minority from Georgia. As a result of the battle, 20% of Georgia’s internationally recognized territory is effectively under Russian control. It recognized South Osetia and Abkhazia as independent nations, with just a small number of other nations doing the same.

Civilians were killed by separatist troops throughout the conflict, homes were set on fire and looted, prisoners of war were tortured, and displaced people were prevented from returning home. An adequate and thorough investigation of crimes committed during active combat or after a truce was not carried out by Russia as required by procedure.

Various victim groups received different amounts of compensation.

Russia was sentenced to pay €3,250,000 for engaging in the administrative practice of killing civilians in the villages and “buffer zone” of the occupied South Ossetia/Tskhinvali region, as well as for failing to uphold its procedural duty to properly and effectively look into the 50 killings.

Additionally, Russia was ordered to pay €2,697,500 for non-pecuniary harm suffered by at least 166 victims, such as cruel treatment and unlawful detentions.

Furthermore, it was mandated that Russia pay €640,000 for at least 16 victims of the separatist forces’ administrative practice of torturing Georgian prisoners of war in Tskhinvali.

Additionally, Russia was penalized with a payment of €115,000,000 for obstructing the return of at least 23,000 victims to their homes in the occupied Tskhinvali region and Abkhazia.

The 2021 judgment by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, when judges determined that Russia was accountable for conducting “inhumane” acts against Georgian nationals after the conflict, is followed by the ECHR decision.

The ICC finished looking into the war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated during the 2008 conflict in 2022. The court issued arrest warrants for three former South Ossetian officials who were found to have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes, including taking hostages, illegally displacing civilians, torture, inhuman treatment, and humiliation of human dignity.

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