News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Warning cannot justify attacking civilians

* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International *

News Service 230/99 AI INDEX: EUR 46/41/99 7 December 1999

PUBLIC STATEMENT

Chechen Republic

Warning cannot justify attacking civilians

Following an official warning that civilians must evacuate the city of Grozny, Amnesty International is calling on the government of the Russian Federation to publicly commit to upholding its obligations under international humanitarian law by refraining from indiscriminate or direct attacks on the civilian population of the besieged Chechen capital.

Russian aircraft yesterday dropped leaflets over Grozny telling residents to leave the city before 11 December. "Only in this way will you be able to avoid death and save your city," one leaflet warns. Another leaflet reportedly states that Russian Federal armed forces will consider all those remaining in Grozny after the deadline to be "terrorists and bandits and will be destroyed by artillery and aviation." Estimates of the number of civilians remaining in Grozny range from 15,000 to 50,000.

"The fact that the Russian aircraft have dropped leaflets which present an ultimatum to residents of Grozny does not change Russia's obligations under international law," said Amnesty International. "Civilians who remain in Grozny after the deadline -- whether because they are too old, sick, wounded, poor or scared to leave the city or have not even heard about the warning -- remain non-combatants and as such are protected from attack."

"In the light of Russia's warning, Amnesty International is calling on Russian authorities to make an unambiguous public pledge to honour its commitment under international humanitarian law," said the organization. "In particular we remind the government that it must respect the principle of distinction which obliges its forces to take all measures to distinguish between civilians and military objectives."

"Russia's ultimatum to Grozny can in no way be considered a sufficient precautionary measure."

Background

While Amnesty International takes no position on the reason for armed conflicts, or the resort to the use of force per se, it does call on all parties to a conflict to abide by international humanitarian law. The organization reports on and takes action against specific human rights abuses occurring in situations of conflict, including unlawful killing of civilians, detention without charge or trial, the torture, ill-treatment or extrajudicial execution of persons detained, including soldiers or other combatants who are hors de combat, the use of the death penalty, the taking of hostages or the "disappearance" or abduction of any person.

Amnesty International is deeply troubled by repeated reports that Russian forces have committed grave breaches of humanitarian law during the ongoing campaign in Chechnya. Most recently, a correspondent for Radio Liberty reported that on 3 December Russian troops deliberately killed at least 40 civilians who were trying to flee Grozny in a humanitarian convoy. Russian authorities have denied the report.


ENDS.../ Amnesty International, International Secretariat, 1 Easton Street, WC1X 8DJ, London, United Kingdom

****************************************************************

You may repost this message onto other sources provided the main text is not altered in any way and both the header crediting Amnesty International and this footer remain intact.

****************************************************************


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Chiptunes: Recreating Christmas Carols From Alan Turing's Computer

New Zealand researchers have recreated what is thought to be the first computer-generated Christmas music – exactly as it would have sounded on Alan Turing’s computer. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: Best New Music Of 2017

Any ‘best of list’ has to be an exercise in wishful thinking, given the splintering of everyone’s listening habits... But maybe… it could be time for the re-discovery of the lost art of listening to an entire album, all the way through. Just putting that idea out there. More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Ten x Ten - One Hundred of Te Papa's Best-Loved Art Works

An idiosyncratic selection by ten art curators, each of whom have chosen ten of their favourite works. Handsomely illustrated, their choices are accompanied by full-page colour prints and brief descriptions of the work, explaining in straightforward and approachable language why it is of historical, cultural, or personal significance. More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Portacom City - Reporting On Canterbury Earthquakes

In Portacom City Paul Gorman describes his own deeply personal story of working as a journalist during the quakes, while also speaking more broadly about the challenges that confront reporters at times of crisis. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland