Rights court dismisses half of Georgia war complaints

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The European Court of Human Rights said Monday it had dismissed nearly half of the 3,300 complaints filed against Georgia after its 2008 conflict with Russia over the South Ossetia region.

In a statement, the Strasbourg-based court said it had "decided to strike out of the list of pending cases before it 1,549 applications belonging to a group of more than 3,300 individual applications against Georgia."

In its ruling, the court said the applicants had twice failed to respond to requests for information last year and that they therefore "may be regarded as no longer wishing to pursue their applications."

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 included residents of South Ossetia, Russian servicemen deployed in the region, and their next of kin, the court said.

The applicants had complained of violations to their rights to life, to respect for private and family life and to effective judicial remedy. Some of the complaints had also concerned alleged cases of torture and inhuman treatment.

The court did not say when it might deal with the remaining complaints.

Both sides alleged 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 had said in October 2008 that it was concerned about the flood of complaints from South Ossetia, saying "this very significant number... has increased the already considerable workload" of the court.

Diplomats in Strasbourg at the time had said it was possible the complaints were part of an orchestrated propaganda campaign against Tbilisi.

© 2011 AFP

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