Persoverzicht Tsjetsjenië - April 2005

1 april 2005

- HR situation in Chechnya still difficult – ombudsman: In an annual report by Russian Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin published in Rossiyskaya gazeta yesterday, Lukin stressed that the human rights situation in Chechnya is still difficult and tense and criticised all sides in the Chechen conflict over human rights abuses. He pointed out that responsibility for rights violations in Chechnya, including abductions and killings, lay with both pro-Kremlin and Chechen separatist forces and called for “a new, unconventional approach to the problem”. More generally, Lukin also pointed to the lack of press freedom and stressed that state television was full of commercials. (Interfax, RG, MT)

- American arrested for recruiting militants in Chechnya: The media report about the arrest in the U.S. of former chief of facilities for Washington public schools Kifah Jayyousi on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and to commit violent acts abroad. According to media reports, Jayyousi was a member of a nationwide network that recruited Islamic militants for conflicts in Chechnya, the Balkans and other places. (RIAN, Izvestia, Vremya novostei, MT)

- Russian MFA criticises Al-Jazeera reports on Chechnya: In a commentary issued yesterday, the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that reports and documentary films on the situation in Chechnya broadcast by Al-Jazeera channel “completely distort the true state of affairs in Chechnya” and that these “ordered materials poison the atmosphere of our ties with the Arab countries”. (Vremya novostei, Novye Izvestia, www.mid.ru)

4 april 2005

- Deputy Prosecutor General: Maskhadov killed by fellow militants at own request: The media quote Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Shepel as saying last Friday that Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov was shot at his own request by militants hiding in the same underground bunker. Shepel also said that in line with the Russian legislation on the fight against terrorism, Maskhadov’s body will not be released to relatives (Interfax, The Moscow Times, Gazeta, Vedomosti).

5 april 2005

- Chechen authorities to define measures against Wahhabism: (i) At a conference yesterday in Grozny, Chechen officials announced their intentions to declare Wahhabism “the main ideology of the terrorists” in the Northern Caucasus and outlaw political and religious extremism in Chechnya. According to media reports, Chechen President Alu Alkhanov plans to issue a special decree in this regard. (ii) Also yesterday, Russian Presidential Adviser Aslambek Aslakhanov announced that a treaty on the division of powers between the federal authortities and Chechnya “is almost ready for signing”. (Interfax,Kommersant, Novye Izvestia, Gazeta)

6 april 2005

- Solana meets Putin, Lavrov: The media report broadly on the visit by EU HR for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana to Russia and his meetings with President Putin in Sochi and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, pointing out that the discussions focused on the preparation of the EU-Russia summit on 10 May in Moscow and the formation of the four common spaces. According to media reports, the talks showed “a high level of mutual understanding between Russia and the EU on all discussed topics”. Putin is quoted as having stressed that Russia and the EU “find more points of common ground” and “are actively moving towards preparing documents that are scheduled to be signed on 10 May”. Commenting on the meeting between Putin and Solana, Presidential Aide in charge of Russia-EU relations Sergei Yastrzhembsky emphasized that the documents on the four common spaces “are almost completed” and added that the only problems left to resolve concern readmission and visa restrictions. He stressed that the issue of Chechnya was raised, saying that Russia “welcomes the EU’s and Germany’s desire to provide assistance in Chechnya’s social and economic reconstruction”. The situation in the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Moldova, the OSCE, the Middle East and Iran were also discussed. At a press conference following the talks with Solana yesterday, Foreign Minister Lavrov stated that Moscow is interested in expanding interaction with the EU in settling conflicts in different regions, including the Georgian-Abkhaz and Georgian-South Ossetian conflicts and the problem of Transdniestria. (All media; see also articles on the EU)

- Unemployment in Chechnya stands at 80%: Referring to Chechen Economic Development and Trade Minister Abdula Magomadov, Interfax reports that the unemployment rate in Chechnya stands at 80%, the highest figure among other Russian regions. In the meantime, Chechnya’s economically active population increased by 9% in 2004. (Interfax)

7 april 2005

- Suspect confesses to beheading four foreigners: A man, named Adam Dzhabrailov, who was detained in a sweep-up operation for suspected involvement in the 1996 killing of six Red Cross workers in Chechnya has confessed to kidnapping and murdering three British citizens and a New Zealander in Chechnya in 1998. The media recall that the four foreigners worked in Chechnya for a British telecommunications company. Televised reports yesterday said the detainee was a relative of Barayev, closely connected with international terrorist organisations. (All media)

- Two gunmen, child killed in police operation in Dagestan: According to media reports, two suspected militants were killed by Dagestan and Chechnya policemen and a three-year-old boy died in the crossfire during a special operation conducted in the Dagestani town of Khasavyurt late Tuesday. Dagestani Interior Ministry officials announced that one of the killed guerrillas named Visayev was on the federal wanted list for terrorism and banditry charges. The media point out that the gunmen barricaded themselves in an apartment. (All media)

11 april 2005

- Putin visiting Germany: President Putin arrived for a two-day visit in Germany yesterday to open a trade fair in Hanover together with Chancellor Schroeder. According to media reports, since 2000, Putin has met his closest European ally 30 times. Opening the fair, at which Russia is participating as a “partner country”, Schroeder called for further strengthening of economic ties with Russia, adding that “the signal will be sent that Germany and Russia are bound in a strategic partnership”. The media quote Putin as having stated at the opening of the Hanover Messe trade fair that Russia plans to continue its privatisation campaign “removing all restrictions on operations with capital”. It should be mentioned that Chechen President Alu Alkhanov has also attended the trade fair. (All media; see also economic headlines)

- European Commission’s mission to visit N. Caucasus: The media report about the visit this week of a fact-finding European Commission delegation to the Northern Caucasus. The mission will visit Chechnya and the neighbouring republics of Ingushetia and North Ossetia. The Moscow Times quotes Commission’s Spokeswoman Emma Edwin as having emphasized that “this is the first time we have broadened humanitarian assistance out to cover economic and reconstruction assistance”. (Interfax, RIAN, Kommersant, MT)

13 april 2005

- Russia, Georgia lose case in European Court over Chechens: The media report that the European Court of Human Rights ruled yesterday that Georgia and Russia violated the human rights of 13 Chechens by not giving them a chance to appeal against their extradition on terrorism charges after they entered Georgia illegally. The 13 Chechens were arrested by Russian and Georgian border guards on the Russian-Georgian border in 2002. According to media reports, the court ordered Georgia to pay the 13 men a total of 80,500 euro and ordered Moscow to pay 1,580 euro to the European Court to cover the court’s costs. Russian should also pay a total of 42,000 euro to the seven Chechens who had been extradited to Russia. (Kommersant, Gazeta, Lenta.ru)

- EU delegation meets Ingush president: The media report about a meeting yesterday in Ingushetia (north Caucasus) of a European Commission fact-finding delegation with Ingush President Murat Zyazikov to discuss the social and economic situation in the republic, as well as the situation of Chechen refugees residing in Ingushetia. Head of the delegation Hughes Mingarelli is quoted as having expressed his hope for the Commission to be able to obtain unbiased information on the situation in Ingushetia. (Interfax, ITAR-TASS, RIAN, Izvestia)

14 april 2005

- EU delegation visits Grozny: The media report that a European Commission delegation led by Director Hugues Mingarelli visited Grozny yesterday to examine the situation in Chechnya, including temporary accommodation of displaced persons. Mingarelli is quoted as pointing out that the EU’s financial support and economic assistance programmes for Chechnya depends on the ability of Chechen authorities to meet certain conditions, among which security for the local population. Meeting the EU delegation yesterday, Chechen President Alu Alkhanov, in his turn, urged the EU to prosecute people who have committed crimes against civilians in Chechnya and currently hiding in Europe. According to Alkhanov, Chechnya “would like international organisations to pay special attention to its healthcare, education and social systems”. He is quoted by RIA-Novosti as welcoming the EU’s intention to move from humanitarian aid operations to projects on the reconstruction in Chechnya. (Interfax, ITAR-TASS, RIAN, Kommersant, Novye Izvestia)

18 april 2005

- Five FSB servicemen killed in Grozny: Five FSB servicemen were killed in Grozny on Friday in a special operation against Chechen militants who were hiding in an apartment building. Seven militants were killed in the fighting (All media).

19 april 2005

- Duma restricts veteran categories eligible for V-Day amnesty: Nezavisimaya gazeta reports in a front-page article entitled “Amnesty restricted” that the State Duma yesterday sharply restricted war veteran categories eligible for the V-Day amnesty. Although it was announced last week that some 2000 people would be amnestied, there are now only about 200 names on the list, due to the exclusion of participants in the so-called ‘local conflicts’ in Afghanistan and Chechnya, the paper goes on to say (Nezavisimaya gazeta).

- Authorities, military warn about new terrorist attacks: Izvestia (front page) refers to a statement by Sergey Surovkin, commander of the 42nd infantry division deployed in Chechnya, that militants are preparing a major terrorist attack “either in the territory of Chechnya or beyond its borders”. Stavropol governor Alexander Chernogorov made a statement on the same day saying that terrorist attacks are possible in the territory of Russia, including the Stavropol region, during the upcoming May holidays. The daily also recalls a similar statement made by Chechen prosecutor Vladimir Kravchenko a few days earlier (Izvestia).

- Major operation in process in Chechen mountains: Interfax reports that a major special operation was yesterday in process in the mountains of Chechnya’s Vvedeno district, involving about 2,000 law enforcement officers. It is not reported whether there are any “significant figures” in the group of militants that is being pursued (Interfax).

22 april 2005

- Chechnya gradually disappearing from Russia-EU agenda - Yastrzhembsky MOSCOW. April 21 (Interfax) - The settlement of the situation in Chechnya is gradually disappearing from the dialog between Russia and the EU, said Russian presidential aide and representative for relations with the EU Sergei Yastrzhembsky.

"This is what is happening in reality," Yastrzhembsky said in a

Thursday interview with Interfax.

The EU did not propose discussing a "traditional" resolution on Chechnya at the session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva this year, which is "a significant reflection of the continued normalization of the situation in the republic and the EU's understanding that the attempts to over-politicize the problem of Chechnya have no prospects."

Russia "has repeatedly heard about the EU's willingness to render assistance in restoring the socioeconomic sector in the Chechen republic, but it has not seen any ideas, projects, or specific movement," he said.

"But now this train has possibly started moving, if we view the recent visit of an EU mission to the North Caucasus as the beginning of such movement," Yastrzhembsky said.

29 april 2005

- Official: over 2,500 abducted or missing in Chechnya since mid-1999: Chechen deputy chief prosecutor Vladimir Chrernyayev said at a government meeting in Grozny yesterday that more than 2,500 people have been abducted or reported missing since the beginning of the counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya in September 1999. The number of abductions peaked in 2002, when 817 people were reported missing. The Chechen government decided yesterday to create an interdepartmental commission that will be responsible for searching for missing people (Interfax).

1 april 2005

- HR situation in Chechnya still difficult — ombudsman: In an annual report by Russian Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin published in Rossiyskaya gazeta yesterday, Lukin stressed that the human rights situation in Chechnya is still difficult and tense and criticised all sides in the Chechen conflict over human rights abuses. He pointed out that responsibility for rights violations in Chechnya, including abductions and killings, lay with both pro-Kremlin and Chechen separatist forces and called for “a new, unconventional approach to the problem”. More generally, Lukin also pointed to the lack of press freedom and stressed that state television was full of commercials. (Interfax, RG, MT)

- American arrested for recruiting militants in Chechnya: The media report about the arrest in the U.S. of former chief of facilities for Washington public schools Kifah Jayyousi on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and to commit violent acts abroad. According to media reports, Jayyousi was a member of a nationwide network that recruited Islamic militants for conflicts in Chechnya, the Balkans and other places. (RIAN, Izvestia, Vremya novostei, MT)

- Russian MFA criticises Al-Jazeera reports on Chechnya: In a commentary issued yesterday, the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that reports and documentary films on the situation in Chechnya broadcast by Al-Jazeera channel “completely distort the true state of affairs in Chechnya” and that these “ordered materials poison the atmosphere of our ties with the Arab countries”. (Vremya novostei, Novye Izvestia, www.mid.ru)

4 april 2005

- Deputy Prosecutor General: Maskhadov killed by fellow militants at own request: The media quote Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Shepel as saying last Friday that Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov was shot at his own request by militants hiding in the same underground bunker. Shepel also said that in line with the Russian legislation on the fight against terrorism, Maskhadov’s body will not be released to relatives (Interfax, The Moscow Times, Gazeta, Vedomosti).

5 april 2005

- Chechen authorities to define measures against Wahhabism: (i) At a conference yesterday in Grozny, Chechen officials announced their intentions to declare Wahhabism “the main ideology of the terrorists” in the Northern Caucasus and outlaw political and religious extremism in Chechnya. According to media reports, Chechen President Alu Alkhanov plans to issue a special decree in this regard. (ii) Also yesterday, Russian Presidential Adviser Aslambek Aslakhanov announced that a treaty on the division of powers between the federal authortities and Chechnya “is almost ready for signing”. (Interfax,Kommersant, Novye Izvestia, Gazeta)

6 april 2005

- Solana meets Putin, Lavrov: The media report broadly on the visit by EU HR for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana to Russia and his meetings with President Putin in Sochi and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, pointing out that the discussions focused on the preparation of the EU-Russia summit on 10 May in Moscow and the formation of the four common spaces. According to media reports, the talks showed “a high level of mutual understanding between Russia and the EU on all discussed topics”. Putin is quoted as having stressed that Russia and the EU “find more points of common ground” and “are actively moving towards preparing documents that are scheduled to be signed on 10 May”. Commenting on the meeting between Putin and Solana, Presidential Aide in charge of Russia-EU relations Sergei Yastrzhembsky emphasized that the documents on the four common spaces “are almost completed” and added that the only problems left to resolve concern readmission and visa restrictions. He stressed that the issue of Chechnya was raised, saying that Russia “welcomes the EU’s and Germany’s desire to provide assistance in Chechnya’s social and economic reconstruction”. The situation in the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Moldova, the OSCE, the Middle East and Iran were also discussed. At a press conference following the talks with Solana yesterday, Foreign Minister Lavrov stated that Moscow is interested in expanding interaction with the EU in settling conflicts in different regions, including the Georgian-Abkhaz and Georgian-South Ossetian conflicts and the problem of Transdniestria. (All media; see also articles on the EU)

- Unemployment in Chechnya stands at 80%: Referring to Chechen Economic Development and Trade Minister Abdula Magomadov, Interfax reports that the unemployment rate in Chechnya stands at 80%, the highest figure among other Russian regions. In the meantime, Chechnya’s economically active population increased by 9% in 2004. (Interfax)

7 april 2005

- Suspect confesses to beheading four foreigners: A man, named Adam Dzhabrailov, who was detained in a sweep-up operation for suspected involvement in the 1996 killing of six Red Cross workers in Chechnya has confessed to kidnapping and murdering three British citizens and a New Zealander in Chechnya in 1998. The media recall that the four foreigners worked in Chechnya for a British telecommunications company. Televised reports yesterday said the detainee was a relative of Barayev, closely connected with international terrorist organisations. (All media)

- Two gunmen, child killed in police operation in Dagestan: According to media reports, two suspected militants were killed by Dagestan and Chechnya policemen and a three-year-old boy died in the crossfire during a special operation conducted in the Dagestani town of Khasavyurt late Tuesday. Dagestani Interior Ministry officials announced that one of the killed guerrillas named Visayev was on the federal wanted list for terrorism and banditry charges. The media point out that the gunmen barricaded themselves in an apartment. (All media)

11 april 2005

- Putin visiting Germany: President Putin arrived for a two-day visit in Germany yesterday to open a trade fair in Hanover together with Chancellor Schroeder. According to media reports, since 2000, Putin has met his closest European ally 30 times. Opening the fair, at which Russia is participating as a “partner country”, Schroeder called for further strengthening of economic ties with Russia, adding that “the signal will be sent that Germany and Russia are bound in a strategic partnership”. The media quote Putin as having stated at the opening of the Hanover Messe trade fair that Russia plans to continue its privatisation campaign “removing all restrictions on operations with capital”. It should be mentioned that Chechen President Alu Alkhanov has also attended the trade fair. (All media; see also economic headlines)

- European Commission’s mission to visit N. Caucasus: The media report about the visit this week of a fact-finding European Commission delegation to the Northern Caucasus. The mission will visit Chechnya and the neighbouring republics of Ingushetia and North Ossetia. The Moscow Times quotes Commission’s Spokeswoman Emma Edwin as having emphasized that “this is the first time we have broadened humanitarian assistance out to cover economic and reconstruction assistance”. (Interfax, RIAN, Kommersant, MT)

13 april 2005

- Russia, Georgia lose case in European Court over Chechens: The media report that the European Court of Human Rights ruled yesterday that Georgia and Russia violated the human rights of 13 Chechens by not giving them a chance to appeal against their extradition on terrorism charges after they entered Georgia illegally. The 13 Chechens were arrested by Russian and Georgian border guards on the Russian-Georgian border in 2002. According to media reports, the court ordered Georgia to pay the 13 men a total of 80,500 euro and ordered Moscow to pay 1,580 euro to the European Court to cover the court’s costs. Russian should also pay a total of 42,000 euro to the seven Chechens who had been extradited to Russia. (Kommersant, Gazeta, Lenta.ru)

- EU delegation meets Ingush president: The media report about a meeting yesterday in Ingushetia (north Caucasus) of a European Commission fact-finding delegation with Ingush President Murat Zyazikov to discuss the social and economic situation in the republic, as well as the situation of Chechen refugees residing in Ingushetia. Head of the delegation Hughes Mingarelli is quoted as having expressed his hope for the Commission to be able to obtain unbiased information on the situation in Ingushetia. (Interfax, ITAR-TASS, RIAN, Izvestia)

14 april 2005

- EU delegation visits Grozny: The media report that a European Commission delegation led by Director Hugues Mingarelli visited Grozny yesterday to examine the situation in Chechnya, including temporary accommodation of displaced persons. Mingarelli is quoted as pointing out that the EU’s financial support and economic assistance programmes for Chechnya depends on the ability of Chechen authorities to meet certain conditions, among which security for the local population. Meeting the EU delegation yesterday, Chechen President Alu Alkhanov, in his turn, urged the EU to prosecute people who have committed crimes against civilians in Chechnya and currently hiding in Europe. According to Alkhanov, Chechnya “would like international organisations to pay special attention to its healthcare, education and social systems”. He is quoted by RIA-Novosti as welcoming the EU’s intention to move from humanitarian aid operations to projects on the reconstruction in Chechnya. (Interfax, ITAR-TASS, RIAN, Kommersant, Novye Izvestia)

18 april 2005

- Five FSB servicemen killed in Grozny: Five FSB servicemen were killed in Grozny on Friday in a special operation against Chechen militants who were hiding in an apartment building. Seven militants were killed in the fighting (All media).

19 april 2005

- Duma restricts veteran categories eligible for V-Day amnesty: Nezavisimaya gazeta reports in a front-page article entitled “Amnesty restricted” that the State Duma yesterday sharply restricted war veteran categories eligible for the V-Day amnesty. Although it was announced last week that some 2000 people would be amnestied, there are now only about 200 names on the list, due to the exclusion of participants in the so-called ‘local conflicts’ in Afghanistan and Chechnya, the paper goes on to say (Nezavisimaya gazeta).

- Authorities, military warn about new terrorist attacks: Izvestia (front page) refers to a statement by Sergey Surovkin, commander of the 42nd infantry division deployed in Chechnya, that militants are preparing a major terrorist attack “either in the territory of Chechnya or beyond its borders”. Stavropol governor Alexander Chernogorov made a statement on the same day saying that terrorist attacks are possible in the territory of Russia, including the Stavropol region, during the upcoming May holidays. The daily also recalls a similar statement made by Chechen prosecutor Vladimir Kravchenko a few days earlier (Izvestia).

- Major operation in process in Chechen mountains: Interfax reports that a major special operation was yesterday in process in the mountains of Chechnya’s Vvedeno district, involving about 2,000 law enforcement officers. It is not reported whether there are any “significant figures” in the group of militants that is being pursued (Interfax).

22 april 2005

- Chechnya gradually disappearing from Russia-EU agenda - Yastrzhembsky MOSCOW. April 21 (Interfax) - The settlement of the situation in Chechnya is gradually disappearing from the dialog between Russia and the EU, said Russian presidential aide and representative for relations with the EU Sergei Yastrzhembsky.

"This is what is happening in reality," Yastrzhembsky said in a

Thursday interview with Interfax.

The EU did not propose discussing a "traditional" resolution on Chechnya at the session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva this year, which is "a significant reflection of the continued normalization of the situation in the republic and the EU's understanding that the attempts to over-politicize the problem of Chechnya have no prospects."

Russia "has repeatedly heard about the EU's willingness to render assistance in restoring the socioeconomic sector in the Chechen republic, but it has not seen any ideas, projects, or specific movement," he said.

"But now this train has possibly started moving, if we view the recent visit of an EU mission to the North Caucasus as the beginning of such movement," Yastrzhembsky said.

29 april 2005

- Official: over 2,500 abducted or missing in Chechnya since mid-1999: Chechen deputy chief prosecutor Vladimir Chrernyayev said at a government meeting in Grozny yesterday that more than 2,500 people have been abducted or reported missing since the beginning of the counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya in September 1999. The number of abductions peaked in 2002, when 817 people were reported missing. The Chechen government decided yesterday to create an interdepartmental commission that will be responsible for searching for missing people (Interfax).

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