Human Rights Report: Russia

In August, Russia launched a military invasion using disproportionate force across Georgia’s internationally recognized borders responding to what Russian officials reported was Georgia's use of heavy force in Tskhinvali, the local capital of Georgia’s South Ossetian region, and the killings of Russian peacekeepers. Military operations by Georgian and Russian forces reportedly involved the use of indiscriminate force and resulted in civilian casualties, including of a number of journalists. Prison conditions were harsh and frequently life threatening, law enforcement was often corrupt, and the executive branch allegedly exerted influence over judicial decisions in some high-profile cases. Security services and local authorities conducted searches without court warrants, particularly under the extremism law.

There were reports that the government or its agents committed politically motivated killings and other arbitrary killings. In August, the government's use of indiscriminate military force in a conflict with Georgia resulted in numerous civilian deaths in that country.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that, during the August military conflict in Georgia, both Russian and Georgian forces used indiscriminate and disproportionate military force, including Grad rockets and cluster munitions, which resulted in civilian deaths and injuries. In a number of cases, Russian forces in Gori, Georgia, fired on civilian vehicles, killing and wounding civilians. During and in the weeks following the conflict, hundreds of civilians were reportedly killed in the areas under the control of Russian forces

In August, during a conflict that began in the Georgian separatist enclave of South Ossetia, the government's use of indiscriminate military force resulted in numerous civilian injuries in that country.

According to a HRW report detailing abuses by parties to the August conflict between Russia and Georgia, Russian forces were at times involved in the looting and destruction, either as passive bystanders to Ossetian forces' abuses or active participants, or by providing South Ossetian militias transport into villages. According to the report, when Russian forces entered Georgian territory adjacent to South Ossetia, they allowed South Ossetian forces to engage in widescale pillage and burning of Georgian homes and to kill, beat, rape, and threaten civilians.

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