On 11 March 2016 the N.F. Kuznetsova Research and Educational Center for International and Comparative Criminal Law at the Law School of the M.V. Lomonosov Moscow State University held an expert discussion on the decision of the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court to authorize an investigation into the situation in Georgia. Russian Justice Initiative participated in the discussion, among other prominent lawyers, such as Double Bridge Law attorneys Sergei Golubok and Sergei Usoskin.
Discussion participants, leading Russian scholars and practicing international lawyers, explained the significance of the International Criminal Court decision to authorize an investigation, discussed the temporal, territorial and subject matter scopes of the investigation the Office of the Prosecutor of the Court will conduct, as well as admissibility criteria the Court will apply to possible cases and the role of victims in the ensuing judicial proceedings.
Dr Sergei Golubok stressed the following: “The subsequent developments significantly depend on the victims and their legal representatives. Internationally recognized human rights standards which are applicable by the International Criminal Court pursuant to article 21 (3) of the Rome Statute guarantee the right to remedy within reasonable time, and victims have wide procedural opportunities to get their rights vindicated in The Hague”.
Participants particularly emphasized that the International Criminal Court does not examine the issues of State responsibility but deals with criminal prosecution of individuals who issued criminal orders or executed them, and that excessive politicization of the proceedings obstructs legal work.
Lawyer of Russian Justice Initiative Diana Kostina observed: “The main objective of our organisation is to defend the rights of victims who lost their relatives in the course of indiscriminate shelling and extrajudicial executions. In October 2015 Russian Justice Initiative obtained 18 applications of the victims from South Ossetia and forwarded them to the International Criminal Court. In their submissions victims express their hope that justice will be restored and those responsible will be punished”.