Thursday, February 26, 2009

Georgia v. Russia

ECHR is hearing the case brought by Georgia against the Russian Federation on April 16, 2009 on various grounds under the European Convention on Human Rights. see here.

The case stems from a specific set of events in 2006-2007 but is highly political in nature given the tense relationship between the two countries, manifested more and more in recent military showdowns. Is international law becoming a tool for political vengeance or is it really the only avenue for justice for minority rights? A smaller nation seeking justice against a bigger and stronger nation? But in world politics is there really such a concept of 'smaller' nation when there are multiple sets of interdependent and highly sophisticated alliances? Is the old flawed maxim 'might is right' relevant when 'might' is measured in many different conflicting ways, such as military, strength of liberal institutions, economy, etc. etc. etc. But is 'just is right' maxim as flawed given the defects and imperfections in administration of justice in national courts as well as international ones. When justice is sought on the international stage draped by heavy curtains of politics enmeshed in violent history and omnipresent nationalism, does prevalence of that 'justice' bring upon desirable results? ... Nothing is perfect and yet true justice demands purity and absolute objectivity. When 'victim' is screaming in pain, the rights of the perpetrator sink unnoticed and suffer incredibly along the way... Balance must be struck lest more injustice, fed and waxed by its own weight...

One thing is certain, lessons can be drawn for all from all these cases... Russia has got a lot of work to do in improving its treatment of minorities inside its borders... Nationalism and xenophobia have reached unacceptable levels in recent years... Regardless of the political background and possible justifications for some of the political events, the end result is simply not to be tolerated...

Thinking along those lines, as I am hopeful and extremely excited to visit ECHR in April and be present at the hearing of this interesting case along with a group of students from Moscow State University.

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