Practice Relating to Rule 158. Prosecution of War Crimes
Georgia’s Criminal Code (1999), in a part entitled “Crimes against peace and security of mankind and international humanitarian law”, provides for a list of punishable offences such as: “genocide” (Article 407); “crimes against humanity” (Article 408); “mercenaries” (Article 410); “wilful breaches of norms of international humanitarian law committed in armed conflict” (Article 411); “wilful breaches of norms of international humanitarian law committed in international or internal armed conflict with the threat to health or causing bodily injury” (Article 412); and “other breaches of norms of international humanitarian law” (Article 413), the latter including “any other war crime provided for in the [1998 ICC Statute]”.
For some of these offences, the Code specifies that the acts be committed “in an international or internal armed conflict”.
In 2012, in its fourth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, Georgia stated:
During the armed conflict of August 2008 between Russia and Georgia, the right to life was largely violated. In this respect, competent Georgian authorities have initiated and are conducting [an] investigation of grave crimes allegedly committed during and [in the] aftermath of [the] armed conflict. The investigation conducted by Georgian authorities is not limited to the allegations of crimes by only one party to the conflict. Rather, it covers any and all facts which have come to the attention of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia through the claims of victims or through other ways of crime-reporting.
In 2014, in a statement to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons during the nineteenth session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, made on behalf of 56 countries, including Georgia, the permanent representative of Italy stated: “The States Parties subscribing to this statement firmly believe that all perpetrators of atrocious abuses and war crimes in the Syrian Arab Republic, including the use of chemical weapons, must be held accountable.”
Georgia’s Law on Refugee and Humanitarian Status (2011) states: “Refugee status shall not be granted to a person who: a) has committed a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity, as determined in relevant international acts”.
Georgia’s Law on International Protection (2016), taking into account amendments up to 2017, states:
Article 18 – Exclusion from refugee status
An alien or a stateless person shall not be granted refugee status (shall be excluded from refugee status), even though he/she meets the requirements of Article 15 of this Law [on the grounds for granting refugee status], if there are sufficient grounds to believe that:
a) he/she has committed a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity, in accordance with the definitions assigned to such actions by international acts created for such purpose;
Article 20 – Grounds for refusing to grant humanitarian status
An alien or a stateless person shall not be granted humanitarian status, if:
b) one or more of the circumstances provided for by Article 18 of this Law exist regarding him/her;
Article 22 – Grounds for refusing to grant the status of a person under temporary protection
A person shall not be granted the status of a person under temporary protection, if:
c) one or more of the circumstances provided for by … Article 18 of this Law exist regarding him/her.
Article 46 – Reunion of a family
8. An internationally protected person may be refused family reunion if there exist any of the circumstances provided for by … Article 18 of this Law with regard to a family member.