TBILISI, DFWatch–The International Criminal Court said Wednesday that a prosecutor will begin studying the events in the 2008 Russia-Georgia war to investigate possible war crimes.
The probe will look at crimes committed by both parties in connection with the five day war over the breakaway territory South Ossetia.
Prosecutor Fadou Bensouda said there was reasonable basis to believe crimes were committed, according to a court statement published Thursday.
Before the investigation can go ahead, judges must agree.
The war broke out in the night between August 7 and 8, 2008. It caused hundreds of deaths and led to the displacement of 120,000 people, according to AFP. After the brief fighting phase, lawlessness raged for weeks in a swath of land along the front.
Mikheil Saakashvili, who was Georgia’s president in 2008, welcomed an ICC probe into the war.
“It’s important that the Georgian prosecutor’s office hands over information about everything including ethnic cleansing,” he wrote in a statement published online and quoted by Interpressnews.
Georgia ratified the ICC in 2003, while Russia has not recognized it.
ICC is also considering an investigation into war crimes in Ukraine.