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ICC prosecutor reviewing Georgia conflict for war crimes

[JURIST] International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website] chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo [official profile] announced [press release] on Wednesday that his office is reviewing allegations [Reuters report] that war crimes have been committed during the recent conflict over Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia [BBC report]. On Monday, Russian officials had expressed their intent to file a complaint [JURIST report] against Georgia with the ICC, and said that their government is considering filing another complaint with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) [official website]. Russia's Foreign Ministry has also called for Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili to be tried for war crimes before the ICC. Last week, Georgia filed a complaint [text, PDF; press release, PDF] against Russia with the ICJ, alleging that invading Russian troops have also engaged in the murder, rape and mass displacement of civilians [JURIST report].

Moreno-Ocampo has recently come under heavy criticism for his prosecutorial tactics and choices. Earlier this week, the president of Human Rights Watch [official website], mediation advisors, and other NGO leaders expressed doubt regarding his judgment [The Guardian report; JURIST report] and concern that his behavior could threaten the credibility of the court. Moreno-Ocampo has also received sharp criticism from both the League of Arab States (LAS) and the African Union (AU) [official websites] for his decision to seek the arrest [JURIST report] of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir [BBC profile, JURIST news archive]. In June, a Sudanese ambassador was quoted as calling Moreno-Ocampo a "terrorist" [JURIST report].

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