Friday, July 10, 2009

News flash

The European Court of Human Rights has decided that the case of Georgia v. Russia is admissible to be heard in that Court. Press release.

This was a very important step forward because the ECHR declares many applications inadmissible. Of course, this was only a threshold to cross and as the press release indicates, in no way pre-judges the merits of the case. But the Court basically disagreed with the Russian Government's arguments that these allegations were unsubstantiated.

I do not have in my hands the documents and materials submitted by the Georgian side, but when I heard the hearing in April (personally), my instincts said to me that the case could be found inadmissible. The Georgian side was not convincing at this hearing and the Russian side made some very compelling arguments.

Politics aside, it is going to be very interesting to see how legally the Court will decide this case on the merits. But before it even gets to the legal issues, there must be strong evidence presented by the Georgian side because their claims are pretty serious. International law and especially human rights law should not be held hostage to politics. That is the hope.

Stay tuned.

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