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Georgia sues Russia over 'ethnic cleansing'

RIA Novosti

13/08/2008 13:36 TBILISI/THE HAGUE, August 13 (RIA Novosti) -- Georgia has filed a lawsuit against Russia at the International Court of Justice over alleged ethnic cleansing, the Georgian National Security Council secretary said.

"The suit contains material showing that Russia has committed ethnic cleansing against Georgia [during three interventions in South Ossetia and Abkhazia] from 1993 to 2008," Alexander Lomaya said.

He said the suit, which was submitted Tuesday, was immediately accepted for consideration and a preliminary investigation had already started.

The court in The Hague, Netherlands, confirmed the filing, in which Georgia requested it order Russia to comply with an international genocide convention, halt military operations in Georgia, including South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and pull out its troops.

On May 15 this year, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution acknowledging ethnic cleansing in Abkhazia and called for the return of Georgian refugees. Some 300,000 Georgians fled Abkhazia during a vicious war in the early 1990s that led to the region's de facto independence.

For its part, Russia has accused Georgia of committing "genocide" by launching an offensive last Friday to regain control of the separatist province of South Ossetia.

Russian prosecutors have been gathering evidence to support allegations of genocide by Georgia against South Ossetians, most of whom hold Russian passports.

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