ICJ to hold public hearings for Russia-Georgia conflict

5th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

A UN court in The Hague will hold four public hearings between September 13 and 17 over the territorial dispute between Georgia and Russia, it said in a statement Thursday.

Georgia accuses Russia of "ethnic cleansing" in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and adjacent regions within Georgia.

The hearings, devoted entirely to the defence of both states, "will concern solely the preliminary objections to jurisdiction raised by the Russian Federation," the International Court of Justice statement said.

Russia does not consider the ICJ competent to rule on the case and in December 2009 proceedings were suspended after Russia presented its preliminary objections to the court.

In August 2008 Georgia instituted proceedings before the ICJ against Russia for alleged racial discrimination, four days after their five-day war over South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

South Ossetia and Abkhazia broke away from Tbilisi's control during wars in the early 1990s after Georgia gained independence with the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Moscow finally recognised the two regions as independent states after the 2008 conflict, but continues to have a military presence in both.

The ICJ is the UN's highest court and rules on disputes between states.

© 2010 AFP

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