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Impunity for War Crimes in Chechnya?

Submitted by on Tuesday, 17 November 2009.    3,749 views No Comment
Impunity for War Crimes in Chechnya?

Upsala Nya Tiding, a daily Swedish newspaper, has published a letter of Oksana Chelysheva and Martin Uggla about many of human rights violations which can classified as war crimes and crimes against international law rules, have been committed systematically by Russian forces in Chechnya.

Here the letter:

Russian-Chechen wars have been one of the worst human disasters at our time. Thousands of civilian people have been subjected to serious abuses inter alia disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings. However, even though many of these crimes are well-documented, and many information which was alleged by guilties; almost nobody wasn’t hold responsible in Russia.

In this summer Russian-Chechen Friendship Society, a banned organization in Russia, published an extensive work “International Tribune for Chechnya”. The compiled documentation about abuses in Chechnya made by the representatives of the Society and international human rights organizations in Russian language. They have also compared the application of international law in other conflicts as former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

The conclusion is that many of the human rights violations in Chechnya has been committed systematically. They can be classified as war crimes, in violation of international law.

Primarily it means that due to nature of the serious crimes, it should serve as a reason for policymakers in other countries to give priority to this issue in its relations with the Russian government. It also means that the guilties are punishable under international law. Thus, if a suspected guilty of these crimes is visiting the Sweden, then he may apprehended and brought to trial in a Swedish court.

Now, Sweden and the EU must increased pressure on Russia to prosecute the suspected war criminals. Sweden and other member states of EU should further improve its readiness to prosecute suspected war criminals who are on their territory. There is enough concrete information available to initiate legal proceedings against a long list of people who are responsible for horrific abuses of human rights in Chechnya. As long as this does not happen, thousands of Chechen civilians continue to wait for justice.


Oksana Chelysheva
Russian-Chechen Friendship Society

Martin Uggla
The Swedish Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights*

*The Swedish Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights is a non-governmental organization based in Sweden. The initiative promotes democracy and human rights in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

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