Photo: Juliet Kozaeva, Cominf.org
Have you ever thought about your own attitude to international structures that are designed to stand above states and help people fight for their rights and against lawlessness in their own countries? I mean the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the International Criminal Court (ICC) and other similar organizations. Not about the attitude of the state, government, society, but about your personal attitude?
In discussions, we often use some decisions of these organizations, statements by their leaders and other documents as arguments in favor of one or another statement. And at the same time, somewhere out there, inside our own I, we are very skeptical about these decisions and statements.
To be honest, the overwhelming majority of people know that all these international organizations are not at all independent and decide, most often not justly, but on the basis of political, economic or some other considerations. I cannot say that most Russians think so. I have not conducted any research on this issue. This is my own assessment of the situation.
A dream come true or a utopia that hurts the world
Humanity has quite a lot of experience in using international organizations and structures to solve some problems. Probably the most indicative in this respect is the Nuremberg Tribunal and the conferences of the leaders of the victorious countries in the war.
The victors condemned and punished the vanquished. At the meetings of the leaders of the victorious countries, a system of international relations was created. The allies and the vanquished made decisions without any special pretensions. Everyone was happy with the fact that several countries took responsibility for the planet.
The world was divided into the USSR and its allies and the USA, Great Britain and France and their allies. The fate of the vanquished was more deplorable. Depending on their geographic location, they have become either pro-American or pro-Soviet. Why? Yes, simply because all decisions of the conferences and the tribunal were backed up by powerful victorious armies.
The UN has become the organization that resolves global issues of peace. While maintaining the leadership of the victorious countries, in the UN, global issues of war and peace, ecology, hunger, relations between states are decided by universal suffrage. At the same time, the Security Council retains exclusive rights to impose any sanctions against countries, including the introduction of armies of UN member states.
And it was here that the idea of creating other international organizations was born that would solve problems of a smaller scale than the UN. Simply put, specialized international organizations that would deal with specific issues. I started with the ECHR and the ICC, so I will continue to cite these organizations as an example.
So let's start with the ICC. Simply because it is the first international criminal justice body. What questions does he consider? The list is not long. The International Criminal Court is called upon to legally prosecute those responsible for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. In 2008, another area of responsibility was added - the crimes of aggression. Some confuse the ICC and the UN Hague International Criminal Court.
The ECHR is the European Court of Human Rights (Strasbourg Court, ECHR), whose powers apply only to member states of the Council of Europe (not to be confused with the EU) and which have ratified the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR). Sometimes the ECHR is confused with the International Court of Justice, and the European Convention is confused with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The ECHR considers complaints of individuals and legal entities only for the violation of their rights provided for by the Convention, exclusively by the state, state bodies and officials of a state that is a member of the Council of Europe and / or has accepted the Convention.
Okay? The idea is really great. Even its incarnation in the initial period was quite worthy. But what happened next? Why was this idea utopian? Why do most Russians have doubts about the objectivity of these international institutions?
I believe that the turning point was the events in Yugoslavia and the subsequent actions of international courts and organizations. Remember the International Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY)? Temporarily created tribunal, which was supposed to punish all those responsible for the murders of civilians in Yugoslavia until 2010. But, let me remind you, the tribunal worked right up to 2017.
And what decisions were made by the "international community"? Almost all the military and civilian command of Serbia ended up in the prison in The Hague, but all the Croatian generals were acquitted! For some reason 60% of those arrested were from Serbs and Montenegrins. Croats, on the other hand, accounted for only 18% of those arrested. Isn't it a typical picture from a children's fairy tale about the struggle between good and evil?
The modern world differs from the old in a sufficient openness of information. So those who wanted to see the events in the former Yugoslavia objectively could do it with the help of not only the media, but also independent sources from the Internet. This picture was very different from the one created by the ICTY. This is where the skepticism that exists today, including in our heads, came from.
The idea of an objective judgment in a politically divided world, where the leading powers oppose each other, is practically impossible! This is a utopia. All the more so at a time when relations between the great powers are almost at zero. A judge and a prosecutor cannot be independent of the policy of their own state, bloc of states or ideology.
"Russians attacked South Ossetia and killed peaceful Georgians just like that"
What you just read above is not nonsense. This lie is an early perspective of our modern reality. And I took the 08.08.08 war as an example, simply because a couple of months ago, information appeared in the republican media of North and South Ossetia about the biased work of ICC investigators in the case of the 2008 war.
Over the past 13 years after these events, the ICC has made statements many times through the mouth of its officials. The essence of these statements was so vague that an ordinary man in the street simply could not understand them. Who is guilty? Who started the war? Was the attack on the Russian peacekeepers who were legally in the RSO a crime?
If you “wash off the foam” from all these statements, then it turns out banal - an investigation is underway. And the statements themselves fit perfectly into the version of Georgia's surprise attack on the Republic of South Ossetia, and into the version about the sudden attack by Georgians on Russian peacekeepers and civilians in the Republic of South Ossetia. I remembered the wonderful expression of one of the Ossetian journalists - "the predictions of an old, wise gypsy woman who knows how to save face in any development of events."
How is this very consequence going? In late March - early April, a lot of materials on this matter were published on local information resources. For example, here is a quote from the information portal RNO-Alania "15th region" from the material published on April 1 this year:
“We learned about the attempts of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to carry out an unofficial collection of tendentious information about the tragic events of August 2008 on the territory of the Republic of South Ossetia. He prefers “not to notice” that the Georgian-Ossetian armed political conflict that led to the five-day war in 2008 was a direct consequence of the policy of radical nationalism that the Georgian leadership has been pursuing towards South Ossetia for a long time. ”
This is not the position of the editorial board of the portal or some journalist. This is a quote from a joint statement of South Ossetian public organizations "Adamy Nyfs" and "United Alania". It is these organizations that monitor the actions of the Georgian side and the ICC on the territory of the Republic of South Ossetia and Georgia, as well as the work of the ICC investigators. And it was they who sounded the alarm after some facts of the unscrupulous work of the ICC members were revealed.
The question may arise as to why the Ossetians follow the International Criminal Court so closely? The answer is simple enough. In 2008, they also believed in the objectivity of international organizations, in justice. At that time, over 3000 applications were sent to the ICC from citizens of the RSO.
Moreover, it is worth noting that most of these statements contained not so much material claims against Georgia as a desire for international legal protection in order to prevent a repetition of the war.
But I will continue to quote the editions "United Alania" and "Adamy Nyfs":
“Imagine our disappointment when we realized that the ICC actually ignored them. Moreover, when the question of starting an investigation of the case was raised again in 2016, ICC prosecutor Fatu Bensouda accused the South Ossetians of “war crimes”, “organized exile of tens of thousands of Georgians”, as well as “attacks on peacekeepers”.
At the same time, the Russian peacekeepers themselves, whom the Georgian Tanks and the artillery was shot at point-blank range, the prosecutor accused of ... "manifestation of passivity" and even "complicity in the crimes of the Ossetians."
When you start to understand some issue, most often you don't pay much attention to the first pages of documents. The usual common phrases are not very interesting. But in the criminal case of the 2008 five-day war, there is a "trifle" that is worth paying attention to. These are the dates when the criminal offenses were committed.
"... crimes falling under the jurisdiction of the ICC and allegedly committed in South Ossetia and Georgia between July 1 and October 10, 2008 are subject to investigation."
And what about the shelling of the RSO territory since 2004? What about the almost daily shelling of residential areas of Tskhinvali, Ossetian villages and transport communications in the territory controlled by the legitimate government of South Ossetia from July 29, 2004 to July 1, 2008?
Are these actions outside the jurisdiction of the ICC?
Again I will quote the statement of "Adamy Nyfs" and "United Alania":
“Until recently, the South Ossetians had little hope that the ICC would enter into the consideration of the case on the merits and mark the fact that the war of August 2008 was being prepared by Mikheil Saakashvili for 4 years. In the period from 2004 to 2008. hundreds of South Ossetian citizens became victims of the so-called “unfreezing” of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict and the policy of state terrorism pursued by the Georgian authorities. ”
You can find a witness, but you can buy
This is exactly what the ICC does. Public activists of the RSO give examples of the work of court investigators in South Ossetia. Examples that are straightforward would not beautify any international organization.
“Investigators of the court establish unofficial contacts with the residents of South Ossetia, open in Georgia the“ ICC Victims Fund ”, which provides for the implementation of the program of assistance to the victims of the“ August 2008 war ” for a total amount of 600 thousand euros, they are trying to collect and document information about the illegal actions of citizens of South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers, offer citizens of the Republic of South Ossetia under the guise of "compensation" for providing information of interest to the ICC. "
It is interesting that the actions of the Georgian side of the ICC are not particularly interested. And there is no such work with witnesses in Georgia. As well as the fact that for some reason the investigators are very interested in the secret documents of the Ossetian side, but are not interested in the same documents of the Georgian side.
Don't you think that there is a lot of banal espionage here?
You don't need to be a great specialist to understand the fact that the ICC is of little interest to the South Ossetian army, but another army participating in the war is really interesting.
There is an interesting tendency - to turn over history wars upside down. Make the aggressor the victim and the victim the aggressor.
The war is not over, it's just frozen
We began to forget that war. Everything seems to be clear. All accents are highlighted. It is clear who attacked and who defended. But this is not a fact. This is understandable for us, it is understandable for the people of South Ossetia. For those who fought in that war, it's understandable. But, as can be seen from the actions of the same ICC, this is not a fact for the West. A peaceful Caucasus is not needed. Moreover, the peaceful Caucasus is harmful for the West.
“We believe that instead of peacekeeping, the ICC, stirring up the events of 2008, is actually fueling a faded conflict in the region. And this cannot contribute to stability in any way. Instability in the modern world affects all countries, including those that recognize the Rome Statute, on the basis of which the International Criminal Court operates ”.
Of course, they will object to me: Georgians are an intelligent people and understand that the conflict cannot be resolved by military means. I agree completely. Only Ukrainians are also smart people, but ... You should not exaggerate the importance of the people in international relations. Yes, today Georgians do not want to fight. And what will happen when, God forbid, radical nationalists somehow come to power in Tbilisi, again, according to the Ukrainian version?
Will the militant Georgian nationalists remember South Ossetia, Abkhazia? Is this option possible? Why not? Of course, I am drawing the most negative scenario for the development of events. Simply because I consider it necessary to warn about such a possibility a priori.
International organizations, including even the UN, more and more often demonstrate their inability to solve emerging problems. Moreover, they act in the interests of some political forces or states. Moreover, without even hiding it. We see this in Donbass, South Ossetia, Afghanistan, Syria and further down the list ...
It seems to me that today it is already possible to speak with confidence about the collapse of the institutions of such organizations. You don't have to go far for an example. Recent events in the Middle East show this perfectly. The world community has no methods to curb the war. For kindling - there is, but for "extinguishing the fire" - no ...
This means that we need some kind of reforms, some kind of new construction of supranational structures that will have not only the opportunity to discuss, but also the ability to punish. What it should be is not clear to me yet.
We must either return to the Yalta-Potsdam system, or go further and form a fundamentally new system of international relations.