Practice Relating to Rule 55. Access for Humanitarian Relief to Civilians in Need
Georgia’s Law on Occupied Territories (2008) states:
Article 4. Limitation of Free Movement in the Occupied Territories
2. Citizens of foreign countries and persons without citizenship shall be prohibited to enter the Occupied Territories from any other directions except the ones specified in Paragraph 1 of this Article [Zugdidi and Gori municipalities]; violation of this requirement shall lead to punishment under the criminal law of Georgia.
3. In extraordinary cases special permission to enter the Occupied Territories, in accordance with the rules stipulated in the relevant normative document of the Georgian Government, can be granted to persons covered by Paragraph 2 of this Article if doing so serves … humanitarian purposes.
4. The prohibition and respective responsibility prescribed by Paragraph 2 of this Article shall not be extended to:
b) Persons providing immediate humanitarian assistance in the Occupied Territories in order to ensure the right to life of the population, in particular by providing the population with food, medication and emergency supplies.
5. Persons defined in Paragraph 4 of this Article shall be required to notify the Government of Georgia of the time of entry to and departure from the Occupied Territories prior to entry into the Occupied Territories from the prohibited directions, or, in case of failure to do so, to notify [the Government of Georgia] within a reasonable period of time after entry. Persons defined in Paragraph 4(b) shall also be required to submit information on the assistance provided to the population …
Article 6. Limitation of Economic Activities in the Occupied Territories
1. The following types of activities shall be prohibited in the Occupied Territories:
a) Any economic activity (entrepreneurial or non-entrepreneurial), regardless of whether or not it is implemented for obtaining profit, income or compensation, if under the laws of Georgia … such activity requires a license, permit, authorization or registration or if, under Georgian legislation, such activity requires an agreement but it has not been granted;
b) Import and/or export of military products or [dual-use] products … ;
c) International air traffic and maritime traffic, except for the cases defined in the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea;
c) Railway traffic and … the transportation of cargo [by road];
d) Use of national resources;
e) Organization of cash transfer;
f) Financing or any type of support of activities listed in Sub-paragraphs (a)–(e) of this Paragraph.
2. In the Occupied Territories, implementation of activities stipulated in Paragraph 1 of this Article shall be allowed only in exceptional cases, based on special permission granted in accordance with the rules stipulated in the relevant normative document of the Georgian Government, if doing so serves … humanitarian purposes.
6. Prohibitions stipulated in Paragraph 1 of this Article and responsibilities stipulated in Paragraphs 4 and 5 [criminal responsibility for violation of the prohibitions set out in paragraph 1] shall not be extended to persons delivering immediate humanitarian assistance in the Occupied Territories in order to ensure the right to life of the population, in particular by providing the population with food, medication and emergency supplies.
7. Persons defined in Paragraph 6 of this Article shall, prior to the realization of the activities in the Occupied Territories stipulated in Paragraph 6 of this Article or, in case of failure to do so, within a reasonable period of time after the realization of such activity in the Occupied Territories, be required to notify the Government of Georgia of the time of commencement and completion of the relevant activity carried out in the Occupied Territories and to submit information on the assistance provided to the population.
Under Georgia’s Criminal Code (1999), any war crime provided for by the 1998 ICC Statute, which is not explicitly mentioned in the Code, is a crime, including “intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare by depriving them of objects indispensable to their survival, including wilfully impeding relief supplies as provided for under the Geneva Conventions” in international armed conflicts.
In 2012, in its fourth periodic report to the Human Rights Committee, Georgia stated:
During the reporting period, the Government of Georgia has been consistently continuing its policy aimed at ensuring full enjoyment of the rights provided in the Covenant for the entire State population. To this end, the obstacles of outstanding gravity were imposed by the war with the Russian Federation in August 2008 and subsequent occupation of two regions – Abkhazia, Georgia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, Georgia. From … early 2008, the security and human rights situation in the mentioned regions tangibly aggravated … The terrorizing and discriminatory acts included, but were not limited to … cutting the humanitarian access and the utility supplies to the villages …