Georgia praises European court war ruling

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Georgia on Tuesday welcomed a decision by the European Court of Human Rights to dismiss nearly half of the 3,300 complaints filed against it after its 2008 war with Russia over the South Ossetia region.

"The European Court's decision is yet more proof that complaints filed against Georgia by ethnic Ossetians after the war between Russia and Georgia have no legal grounds and are simply part of Russia's propaganda," Deputy Justice Minister Tina Burjaliani told AFP.

The Strasbourg-based court decided on Monday to strike out 1,549 applications out of more than 3,300 from its list of pending cases, saying that the applicants had twice failed to respond to requests for information.

But the rebel region's foreign minister, Murat Dzhioev, told the South Ossetian official news agency that the court's ruling was politically biased.

Dzhioev said that its decision was "intended to ensure that a blind eye is turned to the crimes committed by the clique of (Georgian President Mikheil) Saakashvili against humanity in general and the citizens of South Ossetia and Russian peacekeeping troops in particular."

The court received a flurry of applications following the conflict, which saw Russian troops pour into Georgia to repel a Georgian military attempt to retake the Moscow-backed breakaway region.

The applicants, who included South Ossetian residents and Russian servicemen deployed in the region, had complained of violations to their rights to life, to respect for private and family life and to effective judicial remedy.

Some complaints had also concerned alleged cases of torture and inhuman treatment.

Both sides claimed widespread rights violations during the conflict, which ended with Moscow recognising South Ossetia and another rebel Georgian region, Abkhazia, as independent states in a move widely condemned in the West.

The court has not said when it might deal with the remaining complaints.

© 2011 AFP

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