Tags: Rights | Group | Demands | Inquiry | Chechnya

Rights Group Demands Inquiry on Chechnya

Wednesday, 16 May 2001 12:00 AM

"Russian authorities have literally buried evidence of extra-judicial executions in Chechnya," said the HRW report released Tuesday.

According to the report, 51 bodies were found in the mass grave near the abandoned Chechen village of Dachny, less than a mile from a Russian military base. Of the recovered bodies, only 19 were identified by relatives before Russian forces hastily reburied the remains.

"Two weeks (after the discovery of the mass grave) the authorities buried the rest of the bodies without prior notice and without performing adequate autopsies or collecting crucial evidence that would have helped identify the perpetrators," the report said.

Of the 19 identified victims, 16 were last seen in the custody of Russian forces, who took them away to an unknown destination.

The report said "the mass dumping site ... provides striking evidence of the practice of forced disappearances, torture and extra-judicial execution of civilians by Russian federal forces in Chechnya."

The HRW said the discovered bodies had been "dumped along streets in the village (of Dachny) and in abandoned cottages over an extended period of time."

According to the authorities in Moscow, the area where the mass grave was found had been under the control of Chechen gangs, but Human Rights Watch says the territory concerned was under the control of federal forces since December 1999, "long before the vast majority of bodies were deposited there."

The report said "the Russian government failed to provide help or resources for the one forensic examiner for Chechnya, whose only tools were a scalpel and a pair of rubber gloves."

Human Rights Watch said the United States, EU and the United Nations should urge Russia to exhume the unidentified bodies and open a thorough inquiry of the allegations of human-rights violations by federal forces in Chechnya.

Human Rights Watch issued the report as U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan held talks in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

During his talks, Annan raised the matter of human-rights violations in Chechnya, while the U.N. Commission on Human Rights has called for a thorough investigation to be held after the first reports of the mass-grave discovery were released.

On Thursday, a high-powered delegation of European Union officials visiting Moscow will raise the human-rights issue again during talks with Putin.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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Russian authorities have literally buried evidence of extra-judicial executions in Chechnya, said the HRW report released Tuesday. According to the report, 51 bodies were found in the mass grave near the abandoned Chechen village of Dachny, less than a mile from a...
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2001-00-16
Wednesday, 16 May 2001 12:00 AM
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