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South Ossetia conflict prompts discussion of creating genocide tribunal

[JURIST] Russian legislators on Monday adopted a measure calling for the establishment of an international tribunal [Itar-TASS report] charged with investigating allegations of genocide in Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia. Russia's Prosecutor General, Yury Chaika [Russiaprofile.org bio], responded to the request on Tuesday, asserting that no such body is required [Interfax report], since any grievances could be resolved in the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. On Sunday, Russian Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin [Kommersant report] had described deaths in South Ossetia as numbering in the thousands, and said that those responsible should be tried in a special international court.

Also Tuesday, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said that the conflict with Georgia can end when troops partly demilitarize and a non-use of force agreement is signed [Reuters report]. Georgian officials later stated that Russian forces continued to attack well after Medvedev announced an order to halt military action [CNN report]. On Monday, Georgia and Russia each accused the other of organizing mass civilian arrests and detentions. Rights groups have warned that killings of civilians would constitute war crimes [JURIST report], but Russian officials argued Saturday that Russia sent troops into South Ossetia to protect civilians [BBC report].

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