Russia denies causing Dutch cameraman’s death
Russia says Dutch journalist Stan Storimans could have been killed by Georgia’s cluster bombs.24 October 2008
MOSCOW - Russia's Foreign Ministry said Thursday the Netherlands has not presented enough evidence to warrant its conclusion that a Dutch journalist who died during the war in Georgia was killed by a Russian cluster bomb.
The journalist, TV cameraman Stan Storimans, died 12 August in the Georgian city of Gori, where there was fighting between Georgian and Russian forces. The Dutch Foreign Ministry on Monday said a Russian cluster bomb killed him.
But a statement by Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said Dutch officials presented Russia with physical and photographic evidence before making the claim that did not support the conclusion.
"We suggest that establishing the truth of the events demands more thorough work by military experts," the statement said, adding that Georgia's arsenal includes cluster bombs.
In a reaction, the Dutch foreign ministry said it was sticking to its conclusion.
Russia has denied using cluster bombs in the August war, but human rights groups say both sides unleashed the widely denounced weapons. Georgia has acknowledged using ground-launched cluster munitions near the Roki Tunnel, which connects Russia with South Ossetia, the separatist Georgian region that was the centre of the war.
Cluster bomblets are packed into artillery shells or bombs dropped from aircraft. A single container typically scatters some 200 to 600 of the mini-explosives over an area the size of a football field.
They have been criticised by human rights groups because they kill indiscriminately, and unexploded ordinance poses a threat to civilians similar to that of land mines.
The Russian statement also noted that Storimans had not registered with the Russian Defence Ministry's press service for accreditation and "his work on the territory of Georgia was secured by the Georgian side".
[AP / Radio Netherlands / Expatica]