17 August 2022,   19:37
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2008 war - ICC pre-trial chamber delivers three arrest warrants

Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (‘ICC’ or ‘Court’) issued the public redacted versions of arrest warrants for 3 individuals in the context of the situation in Georgia: Mikhail Mindzaev, Gamlet Guchmazov and David Sanakoev.

Pre-Trial Chamber I, composed of Judge Péter Kovács, Presiding Judge, Judge Reine Adélaïde Sophie Alapini-Gansou and Judge María del Socorro Flores Liera, considered that there were reasonable grounds to believe that each of these three suspects bears responsibility for war crimes. The arrest warrants relate to conduct during the 2008 conflict. There are reasonable grounds to believe that civilians perceived to be ethnically Georgian were arrested in the South Ossetia, and subsequently detained, mistreated, and kept in harsh detention conditions in a detention centre in Tskhinvali (the so-called ‘Isolator’ or ‘KPZ’ detention centre), before being used as a bargaining tool by Russia and the South Ossetian de facto authorities, and used for an exchange of prisoners and detainees. As a result of the exchange, the detainees were forced to leave South Ossetia.

Mikhail Mindzaev, a national of Russia, previously a senior police officer with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia and, from 2005 until at least 31 October 2008, the MIA of the de facto South Ossetian administration, is allegedly responsible for war crimes committed between 8 and 27 August 2008.

Gamlet Guchmazov, a national of Russia and presumably Georgia, head of the Isolator at the relevant time, is allegedly responsible for war crimes, committed between 8 and 27 August 2008.

David Sanakoev, Presidential Representative for Human Rights of the de facto South Ossetian administration, also known as Ombudsman, at the relevant time, is allegedly responsible for war crimes (hostage taking and unlawful transfer of civilians) committed between 8 and 27 August 2008.

The Chamber directed the ICC Registrar, Peter Lewis, to prepare a request for cooperation seeking the arrest and surrender of the suspects and transmit, in consultation and coordination with the ICC Prosecutor, the request to the competent authorities of any relevant State, or to any international organisation, to cooperate with the Court for the purpose of executing the request for arrest and surrender of the suspects.

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