World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


E.U. Should Press Russia on Chechnya

E.U. Should Press Russia on Chechnya

Tue, 13 Feb 2001 06:50:25 -0800

Human Rights Watch Media Release:

Send reply to:

E.U. Should Press Russia on Chechnya

(Brussels, February 13, 2001) Russian officials have done almost nothing to investigate atrocities in Chechnya and European officials should not let them off the hook, Human Rights Watch said today.

On the eve of a visit by E.U. officials to Moscow this week, the watchdog group released a new analysis detailing the procuracy's feeble efforts to investigate some of the worst atrocities of the eighteen-month war.

"Last year the E.U. stressed repeatedly that only the Russians can punish their own troops for abuse in Chechnya, without international interference," said Holly Cartner, executive director of Human Rights Watch's Europe and Central Asia division. "But now it's clear that the Russian government is not investigating these crimes in good faith, and the E.U. has to call them on it."

The 10-page analysis, based on dozens of recent Human Rights Watch interviews with victims' relatives and on correspondence with the Russian procuracy, charges that government investigations have been too few and of poor quality. One-third of the 35 investigations against servicemen relate to inadvertent or minor crimes; only 12 pertain to murder.

More than one year after 130 civilians were killed in the execution-style murders in Alkhan-Yurt, Staropromyslovski, and Aldi, no one has been held criminally accountable. A few investigations into individual murders in these massacres were launched, but only after victims' relatives had filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights. Many relatives have not been questioned, and many bodies remain to be exhumed. Law enforcement agencies have made no effort to gain the trust of witnesses who are terrified of further abuse. Witnesses are too frightened to report for questioning to the Khankala military base, where many Chechen men have "disappeared" in custody.

No one has been charged with torture, despite hundreds of well-documented cases. Investigations into the "disappearances" of individuals taken into Russian custody have stalled due to lack of cooperation on the part of the military.

Meanwhile, abuses continue. Russian soldiers and police on sweep operations arbitrarily detain men and women, particularly young Chechen men ranging in age from fifteen to forty-five, and loot homes. Detainees are frequently taken to makeshift detention facilities such as earthen pits, where they are routinely tortured and denied all due process rights. Many detainees have "disappeared" without a trace after being taken into Russian custody. Groups of masked men, often speaking unaccented Russian, burst into homes of civilians at night and take away or kill their inhabitants.

Chechen rebels have threatened and killed civilian administrators and are presumably responsible for the bombing of Russian positions that have killed and wounded numerous civilians.

"The E.U. can't just set aside the Chechnya mess in order to do 'real business' with Russia," said Cartner. "This is their real business with Russia."


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Mexico: Violence And Repression Of Teachers

The member organizations of Network for Peace express our indignation over the acts of repression that the Mexican State has carried out, through the police forces... In Chiapas, Guerrero and Oaxaca, the conflict has resulted in murders of teachers and civilians as well as hundreds of wounded and dozens of people arrested. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Britain's Pleas For Mercy

So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news