Geogia Sues Russia over 2008 South Ossetia WarWorld | September 22, 2011, Thursday // 16:33| views
Soldiers clean weapons in a Russian military base in Tskhinvali, the capital of South Ossetia, Georgia, 07 August 2009. Georgia attacked its brakeaway republic of South Ossetia 07 August 2008 in an attempt to bring it back under central control. EPA/BGNES
The South Caucasus republic of Georgia has taken Russia to court over the brief war the two countries fought in August 2008.
Georgia on Thursday lodged a case against Russia at the European Court of Human Rights, accusing Russian soldiers of numerous human rights abuses in the breakaway Georgian republiucs of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, DPA reported.
Georgia accuses Russian troops or rebels acting on their orders of having tortured and killed civilians and driven people from their homes over the course of the week-long war.
Georgia's Deputy Justice Minister Tina Burjaliani on Thursday accused Russia of standing by as the attacks were carried out and of covering up for the attacks, which Georgia says violated the European Convention on Human Rights.
Russia's Deputy Justice Minister Georgy Matyushkin rejected the allegations, saying Russia was forced to step in to protect civilians in South Ossetia and Abkhazia against Georgian forces.
The court in the eastern French city of Strasbourg is not expected to issue a ruling before next year, DPA says.
Tensions between Georgia and Russia erupted into a full-blown conflict in August 2008 after Georgia tried to forcibly retake South Ossetia following a series of clashes with Russian-backed rebels.
Russia fought back and ejected Georgian troops from South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Reports put the death toll in the fighting at between 400 and 600 people.
The conflict ended after the two sides signed a peace deal brokered by the French EU Presidency. But tensions remained after Russia promptly recognized the two breakaway regions as independent states.
Inter-state cases are rare at the European Court of Human Rights, although it has ruled in the past on conflicts in Northern Ireland and Cyprus, the German press agency reminds.