In August 2008, just days after belligerent parties had reached a ceasefire agreement, the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) announced the opening of a preliminary examination into the situation of Georgia. Yet, it was only in March 2022 that International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan applied for arrest warrants in relation to three individuals from Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia. That said, how can such prolonged inaction be accounted for? How much blame does the OTP carry for it? And how did ICC-state relations develop over time? This paper conducts a within-case analysis of the situation of Georgia over fourteen years, seeking to explore the motives underlying state compliance with ICC treaty obligations and trace the evolution of ICC-state relations over time. Preliminary findings suggest: 1) The ICC is but one component of a broader litigation strategy aimed at exposing Russian aggression; 2) Georgian authorities are believed to have fully cooperated with the ICC, yet interviewees disagree on the underlying motives; 3) Prolonged inaction has largely set aside the ICC from the legal and political debate, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Khan’s long-awaited application for arrest warrants briefly brought it back into the picture.

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For helpful comments on earlier versions, I would like to thank William Reno, Rachel Beatty Riedl, Ana Arjona, Evan McKenzie, and Kirril Shields. Financial assistance from the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC), Department of Political Science is gratefully acknowledged. The Author is also the thankful recipient of the American Political Science Association (APSA)’s Spring Centennial Center Research Grant. For excellent editorial assistance, I thank Alexandra Wilson, Fiza Lee Winter, and Christopher Sands.



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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License