06 March 2018, Tuesday

Stichting Justice Initiative (SJI) is concerned by claims made by high-ranking members of Georgia’s judiciary—and most recently, by Mikhail Saakashvili—that SJI hired Ms Anna Dolidze in 2008 in order to advance Russian state interests in relation to the armed conflict of 2008 between Georgia and Russia.

SJI is an independent non-governmental organization with a mandate to represent victims of human rights violations committed during armed conflict before national and international courts, especially before the European Court of Human Rights. SJI has won over 150 cases at the European Court on behalf of Russian citizens from the North Caucasus region since 2006, concerning mainly enforced disappearances, extra-judicial killings and torture committed by state agents. As a result of our litigation the Russian Government has paid the organization’s applicants over EUR 16 million in moral compensation.

In the context of the 2008 armed conflict between Russia and Georgia, SJI submitted dozens of applications to the European Court, the majority of which concern alleged serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law committed by the Russian Federation. The remaining applications concern alleged violations committed by Georgia, or jointly by Georgia and the Russian Federation.

In regards to Ms Anna Dolidze, SJI employed Ms Dolidze as a consultant for approximately two months, starting in August 2008, to assist with the initial collection of evidence in relation to human rights violations committed by Russian and Georgian forces in the context of the armed conflict. Ms Dolidze was employed on a terms of reference that explicitly requested the collection of information and evidence based only on the seriousness of the alleged allegations and regardless of which side was alleged to be responsible.

Ms Dolidze carried out her assignment with the utmost objectivity and professionalism, and never portrayed any bias. Her work with SJI was crucial in the timely collection of evidence related to future cases at the European Court.

Therefore, the recent allegations regarding Ms Dolidze’s work history—and by implication regarding the mission of SJI—are fundamentally wrong. We are fully confident that future judgments of the European Court of Human Rights will set the record straight. 

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