July 17 - Day of International Criminal Justice

The Day of International Criminal Justice is celebrated on July 17 every year. This day reminds each person of the objectives and dangers that made it necessary to adopt the Rome Statute and establish a permanent court 19 years ago.

By adopting the Rome Statute in 1998, the States agreed that the gravest crimes of humanity should not remain unpunished. The International Criminal Court was created to investigate war crimes, crimes against humanity, cases of genocide and aggression.

The International Criminal Court is currently conducting nine investigations, one of which is related to the alleged military crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the August 2008 armed conflict. This is the first investigation on the territory of Europe in the history of the Court. In the court decision on the launch of the investigation, a special attention is given to the alleged ethnic cleansing of Georgians and the artificial change of the ethnic composition of the Tskhinvali region.

It is noteworthy that based on the principle of complementarity, the Court starts hearing of the case only when the relevant state is unable or unwilling to ineffectively investigate the case. Given that the Russian Federation has left the jurisdiction of the Rome Statute, it is necessary the Georgian authorities to conduct the investigation properly and thoroughly. Some steps have been made for this purpose, but the practical results of the investigation are still unknown. Additionally, close cooperation with the Prosecutor's Office and provision of comprehensive information is important.

In addition, the ongoing investigation is a unique opportunity to protect the interests of the victims of the August war. In accordance with the statute of the Court, victims have the right to participate in the court proceedings by testifying, have legal representation and demand compensation. They also have the right to express their attitude and views about all stages of the court process. The state shall facilitate coordination of the victims and take all measures for the realization of their rights.

The Public Defender joins the spirit of the Day of International Criminal Justiceand hopes that the International Criminal Court will be able to effective investigate the offenses under its jurisdiction, restore justice and protect the rights of the victims.

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