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	 Persons in Chechnya continue to "disappear" in the custody of 
	 Russian forces, Human Rights Watch charged today. Days after 
	 the U.N. Commission on Human Rights in Geneva introduced a 
	 resolution on the situation in Chechnya, Human Rights Watch 
	 released a new 49-page report, Last Seen…: Continued
	 "Disappearances" in Chechnya, detailing 87 cases of 
	 "disappearances" carried out between September 2000 and 
	 January 2002. The actual total of "disappearances" is believed 
	 to be far higher.  "Ordering the military to behave will never 
	 be enough to change things on the ground. The only effective way 
	 to end 'disappearances' is to investigate and prosecute those 
	 responsible for carrying them out." Elizabeth AndersenExecutive 
	 Director, Europe and Central Asia divisionHuman Rights Watch  	 
	 Related MaterialPhoto GalleryProfiles of the "disappeared"Video 
	 clipInterviews with relatives of the "disappeared" Last Seen…: Continued 
	 "Disappearances" in Chechnya view the report onlineDownload the report 
	 (PDF) U.N. Commission Urged to Act on Chechnya HRW Press Release, 
	 March 14, 2002 More on Human Rights in Russia and Chechnya 
	"There is no real accountability on 'disappearances' in Chechnya," 
	 said Elizabeth Andersen, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch's
	 Europe and Central Asia division. "The U.N. Commission on Human Rights must 
	 acknowledge this, and press Russia to invite U.N. monitors to investigate." 
	 Human Rights Watch was strongly critical of the efforts of Russian authorities 
	 to curb abuses by its security forces. Russian authorities have introduced 
	 some improvements, including better access to complaint mechanisms, the 
	 formal opening of investigations in most cases, and the introduction of
	 two decrees requiring the presence of civilian investigators and other 
	 nonmilitary personnel during all large-scale military operations and targeted
	 search and seizure operations. These welcome changes notwithstanding, most 
	 abuses remain uninvestigated and unpunished. Civilian prosecutors lack 
	 authority to investigate crimes by the military and military prosecutors
	 make little effort to look into allegations of abuse. There is also 
	 credible evidence that the military obstructs investigations, notably by 
	 transferring accused security and law enforcement personnel to avoid having 
	 them questioned.
	"Ordering the military to behave will never be enough 
	 to change things on the ground," said Andersen. "The only effective way to 
	 end 'disappearances' is to investigate and prosecute those responsible for 
	 carrying them out.
	"While large-scale fighting in Chechnya nominally ended 
	in 2000, Russian forces continue to detain hundreds of people without 
	charges in the ongoing operations against Chechen rebel forces. Most are 
	subsequently released, but dozens remain unaccounted for - "disappeared" - 
	and are not seen by their families again. Relatives' inquiries to Russian 
	authorities as to whereabouts are met with denials that the "disappeared"
	persons were ever in custody. 
	In March 2001, Human Rights Watch published 
	a report documenting 52 cases of forced disappearances that occurred from 
	September 1999 through February 2001. The new report documents 80 cases 
	of "disappearances" that took place in 2001 alone. 
	"The scale of the 
	ongoing 'disappearances' belies any notion that forced disappearances 
	of civilians in Chechnya is a problem of the past," said Andersen. 
	The rise in the number of disappearances in targeted raids on private 
	residences is a particularly disturbing new development. The case of 
	Adam Sagaev is typical. Masked men burst into Sagaev's home in the village
	of Gekhi at 2:00 a.m. on December 14, 2001 and took him away. According 
	to a witness, the men identified themselves as part of the Urus-Martan 
	military commander's office and claimed they had proof that Sagaev was a 
	rebel fighter, an allegation his family has denied. Sagaev's relatives 
	were unable to locate him, as the military commander's office refused to 
	speak to them, and Ministry of Internal Affairs officials denied he was 
	in custody in Urus-Martan. His whereabouts remain unknown.
Links To Other Organizations Applicable International Law Treaties
humanrightswatch.org The UN Charter
The Convention on Prevention & Punishment of Genocide
unhcr.ch Regional Treaties
International Treaties on Warfare
United Nations
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
umn.edu/humanrts.org Punishment of Persons Guilty of War Crimes & Crimes Against Humanity

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