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9 March 2002

Terror and Impunity : A Planned System

The conflict in Chechnya has been going on for two and a half years now. The Russian forces

have kept perpetrating, behind closed doors, massive human rights violations -attested and

condemned since the beginning of the conflict by NGOs as well as international organizations

(United Nations, Council of Europe, European Union). The crimes committed have remained


The Russian authorities continue to justify this war by the legitimate fight against terrorism, but the

methods used belong to a wholly different reality. In Chechnya, the civilian population is still the

first victim of a conflict which the Russian government is unwilling to put an end to, in spite of their

obligation and commitment to do so.

As the 58th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights has opened, the FIDH again wishes

to raise the alarm with the international community.

On the basis of the previous FIDH/Memorial1 joint reports that characterized the facts exposed as

war crimes and crimes against humanity, the FIDH has chosen to analyze the mechanisms of the

system implemented by the Russian forces allowing the perpetration of systematic human rights

violations and providing impunity to the perpetrators of these crimes. The violations cannot be

reduced to isolated acts and attributed only to uncontrolled soldiers.

In that perspective, the FIDH mandated an international investigative mission in Ingushetia and

Moscow in February 2002, in order to collect testimonies on the sweep operations and on the

systematic lootings and rackets. The mission consisted of Anne Le Huerou (France), academic,

Bleuenn Isambard (France), academic, and William Schabas (Canada), professor of international

law. The heads of mission would particularly like to thank the representatives of the Memorial

Human Rights Centre and the members of Memorial’s representation in Nazran for their welcome

and assistance.

This mission comes within the framework, and in support, of the research and investigation

activities carried out by Memorial in Moscow as well as in Ingushetia and Chechnya since the

conflict started. Besides, this report relies on the testimonies collected in Chechnya and Ingushetia

by Memorial and published in the last six months.
Last Update 9 August 2004

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