09TBILISI478, GEORGIA: SEEKING JUSTICE AT THE ICJ

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI478 2009-03-12 07:28 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7190
RR RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0478 0710728
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 120728Z MAR 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1166
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 000478 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/11/2019 
TAGS: PGOV PREL RS GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: SEEKING JUSTICE AT THE ICJ 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary.  On March 5, Poloff meet with Deputy 
Minister of Justice Tina Burjaliani to discuss the status 
Georgia's response to the International Criminal Court (ICC) 
and other pending legal cases in international courts.  The 
Deputy Minister noted that Georgia is a state party to the 
ICC and Russia is not -- a fact which imposes significantly 
different burdens on the two sides.  As a result, Burjaliani 
indicated that Georgia's government has chosen not to respond 
to any pending complaint in the ICC and will focus on 
pursuing charges of ethnic cleansing against Russia in the 
International Court of Justice (ICJ).  End summary. 
 
2.  (C)  In response to inquiries from Post, Burjaliani told 
poloff that Georgia has not received an official request from 
the International Criminal Court, although she was aware that 
a Russian citizen (or other entity) may have filed a 
complaint against Georgia in that venue.  Nonetheless, she 
did not believe that the ICC should exercise jurisdiction. 
Because there has not been a formal referral to the ICC, 
which according to Burjaliani is a prerequisite to initiating 
a criminal complaint, the ICC prosecutor would not have the 
jurisdiction to open a case against Georgia.  According to 
the Deputy Minister, Georgia's lawyers believe that any 
Russian individual or entity attempting to open a case 
against Georgia in the ICC would violate the Rome Treaty, 
which in their view limited the ICC to only consider cases of 
international significance.  She argued that the current 
complaint, as she understood it, did not meet this bar.  She 
noted that Russia was not a state party to the ICC and, 
therefore, would be under no obligation to cooperate with the 
prosecutor to provide evidence, whereas Georgia, as a state 
party, would have such an obligation.  Georgia preferred not 
to utilize its limited resources fighting a case in this 
venue where no objective conclusion would be possible and 
Russia would not be bound by any negative decision. 
 
3.  (C)  Burjaliani said that MOJ attorneys were focused on 
finding the right venue to proceed with Georgia's cases and 
she asserted that the International Court of Justice was the 
best venue for proceeding with claims against Russia on 
charges of ethnic cleansing.  MOJ lawyers were concerned that 
they select the right venue -- since the choice would 
establish precedents for future cases.  According to the 
Deputy Minister, Georgia's legal team holds the ICJ in high 
regard, but was also considering the European Court of Human 
Rights as another option.  Nonetheless, Georgia has taken the 
position that it will not respond to any pending complaint in 
the ICC to ensure that any actions in that fora will not 
prejudice their charges of ethnic cleansing against Russia 
with the ICJ. 
TEFFT

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