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Re: IHF - Chechnya: Renewed violence and human rights abuses undermine credibility of presidential elections

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  • mariuslab2002
    Helsinki Federation questions legitimacy of Chechen election Interfax. Wednesday, Sep. 1, 2004, 6:21 PM Moscow Time MOSCOW. Sept 1 (Interfax) - The
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 1 1:28 PM
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      Helsinki Federation questions legitimacy of Chechen election

      Interfax. Wednesday, Sep. 1, 2004, 6:21 PM Moscow Time

      MOSCOW. Sept 1 (Interfax) - The International Helsinki Federation for
      Human Rights (IHF) and the Moscow Helsinki Group have called into
      question the legitimacy of the presidential election in Chechnya.

      "The brutal Chechnya conflict is crying out for a political
      solution," Aaron Rhodes, the IHF executive director, said in a
      statement circulated in Moscow on Wednesday.

      "Yet manipulating democracy to produce a predetermined outcome is
      neither fair nor a solution," he added.

      "Rather it will serve to entrench both sides in this un-winnable war
      of attrition in which civilians continue to be the primary victims,"
      he said.

      The IHF and its Russian office have demanded that the outcomes of the
      August 29 elections in Chechnya be invalidated.
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      --- In chechnya-sl@yahoogroups.com, "IHF, Joachim Frank" <frank@i...>
      wrote:
      >
      > Chechnya: Renewed violence and human rights abuses undermine
      credibility of
      > presidential elections
      >
      > Moscow, Vienna, Grozny 30 August 2004. The International Helsinki
      Federation
      > for Human Rights (IHF) and the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG) called
      into
      > question the credibility of presidential elections in Chechnya that
      were
      > held against a backdrop of increased violence in the conflict-torn
      republic.
      >
      > The IHF and MHG consider that minimum international standards for
      holding
      > free and fair elections do not exist in Chechnya. Moreover, the
      > organisations express their concern that during the run-up to the
      election,
      > Russian electoral authorities unfairly excluded competitors to the
      post to
      > ensure the victory of the Kremlin’s favoured candidate, Alu
      Alkhanov.
      >
      > In addition to the continuing widespread and pernicious practice of
      > “disappearances”, torture and extra-judicial execution of
      civilians that are
      > recorded daily by human rights organisations, in the days preceding
      the
      > ballot, the frequency and intensity of the armed conflict in the
      republic
      > increased. On 21 August, in coordinated attacks by fighters on
      police
      > stations in Grozny, dozens of Russian security forces were killed.
      In the
      > course of the IHF/MHG mission to Chechnya, we learned that over a
      dozen
      > civilians and over 50 law-enforcers were killed in the fighting and
      some
      > thirty others were wounded. In the aftermath of the assault local
      human
      > rights groups reported raids or zachistki in the Grozny region and
      > approximately nine men taken away by Russian security forces; the
      fate and
      > whereabouts of these detainees is unclear.
      >
      > “The brutal Chechnya conflict is crying out for a political
      solution”,
      > stated Aaron Rhodes, Executive Director of the IHF. “Yet
      manipulating
      > democracy to produce a predetermined outcome is neither fair nor a
      solution”
      > , he added. “Rather it will serve to entrench both sides in this
      un-winnable
      > war of attrition in which civilians continue to be the primary
      victims”, he
      > continued.
      >
      > The IHF and the MHG consider that the Russian authorities are
      repeating the
      > same mistakes and violations of electoral standards as those
      witnessed in
      > the election of Akhmad Kadyrov to the post of president in 2003.
      > Organisations, such as the OSCE, condemned the 2003 presidential
      elections
      > as being neither free nor fair. Kadyrov’s election led not only
      to increased
      > violence from Chechen fighters against Russian security forces and
      civilian
      > administrators, but the creation of the Kadyrovtsy, an armed
      militia under
      > the command and control of Kadyrov that engaged in serious human
      rights
      > violations, including “disappearances”, torture and execution
      against
      > civilians. Akhmad Kadyrov was killed on 9 May 2004 by a bomb
      believed
      > planted by Chechen fighters.
      >
      > “This second episode of the show ‘Election for President in the
      Chechen
      > Republic’ is nothing but a bitter déjà vu. The lessons of the
      Kadyrov
      > experiment have clearly not been learned”, stated Tanya Lokshina,
      Programs
      > Director of the MHG. “Alkhanov’s de facto appointment as
      president, in
      > effect dictating to the Chechen people who should be their
      representative,
      > will not lead to lasting peace and security in the region”, she
      added.
      >
      > The IHF and the MHG call upon the international community to insist
      that the
      > Russian government adheres to its obligations under international
      human
      > rights and humanitarian law. In particular, the organisations note
      the
      > resolution passed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of
      Europe in
      > April 2003, which highlighted the “urgent action […] necessary
      to counteract
      > the climate of impunity which has developed in the Chechen Republic
      over the
      > last decade” and more specifically warned that:
      > […] if the efforts to bring to justice those responsible for
      human rights
      > violations are not intensified, and the climate of impunity in the
      Chechen
      > Republic prevails, [the Assembly should] consider proposing to the
      > international community the setting up of an ad hoc tribunal to try
      war
      > crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Chechen
      Republic.
      >
      > The IHF and the MHG strongly consider that in the intervening
      sixteen months
      > since that resolution was passed, no urgent or effective action been
      > undertaken by the Russian authorities to investigate the crimes and
      > prosecute the offenders. Moreover, the IHF and the MHG note the
      resolution
      > adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Commission in April
      2001, which
      > called upon the Russian government to:
      > […] establish, according to recognized international standards, a
      national
      > broad-based and independent commission of inquiry to investigate
      promptly
      > alleged violations of human rights and breaches of international
      > humanitarian law committed in the Republic of Chechnya of the
      Russian
      > Federation in order to establish the truth and identify those
      responsible,
      > with a view to bringing them to justice and preventing impunity.
      >
      > Despite these resolutions and an increase in violence, neither
      tribunal nor
      > a credible national independent commission of inquiry have been
      established.
      >
      > The IHF and MHG call upon the Russian government to:
      > · investigate violations of international human rights and
      humanitarian law
      > and prosecute the perpetrators in fair trials; and
      > · undertake urgent measures to seek a political resolution to the
      conflict.
      >
      > The IHF and MHG call upon the international community to:
      > · bring pressure to bear on the Russian government to adhere to its
      > obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law;
      and
      > · to seek the implementation of resolutions adopted, inter alia,
      by the
      > Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the United
      Nations Human
      > Rights Commission to address impunity for serious human rights
      violations.
      >
      > For further information:
      > International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, in Moscow:
      Aaron Rhodes,
      > +43-676-312 23 48 (mobile), Malcolm Hawkes, +7-926 217 0303 (mobile)
      > Moscow Helsinki Group, Tanya Lokshina, +7-916-624 1906 (mobile)
      >
      > __________________________________________
      > Joachim Frank, Project Coordinator
      > International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights
      > Wickenburggasse 14/7
      > A-1080 Vienna
      > Tel. +43-1-408 88 22 ext. 22
      > Fax: +43-1-408 88 22 ext. 50
      > Web: http://www.ihf-hr.org
      > ______________________________________
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