Georgia has accused Russia of human rights violations at an emergency hearing of the International Court of Justice in the Hague.
Tbilisi claims more than 400,000 of its citizens, almost 10 percent of its population, have been forcibly driven from their homes since Abhkazia and South Ossetia broke away from Georgia in 1991.
It alleges Russia backed a campaign of violence that drove Georgians out of the two regions.
Georgia will also ask that Russia allow the safe return of Georgian refugees. Moscow was expected to question the jurisdiction of the ICJ during the three day hearings, dispute Georgia’s claims that ethnic discrimination is occurring and/or argue the situation is beyond its control.
The court’s first ruling will be on whether it has jurisdiction in the case. If it decides it has, then Georgia will request the Kremlin withdraw its troops and pay damages. Cases of this kind can drag on for years but Tiblisi says it will push for a swift ruling.