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Procuracy Investigations into "Disappearances"

1. Each State shall ensure that any person having knowledge or a legitimate interest who alleges that a person has been subjected to enforced disappearance has the right to complain to a competent and independent State authority and to have that complaint promptly, thoroughly and impartially investigated by that authority. Whenever there are reasonable grounds to believe that an enforced disappearance has been committed, the State shall promptly refer the matter to that authority for such an investigation, even if there has been no formal complaint. No measure shall be taken to curtail or impede the investigation.
2. Each State shall ensure that the competent authority shall have the necessary powers and resources to conduct the investigation effectively, including powers to compel attendance of witnesses and production of relevant documents and to make immediate on-site visits.
3. Steps shall be taken to ensure that all involved in the investigation, including the complainant, counsel, witnesses and those conducting the investigation, are protected against ill-treatment, intimidation or reprisal.
4. The findings of such an investigation shall be made available upon request to all persons concerned, unless doing so would jeopardize an ongoing criminal investigation.
5. Steps shall be taken to ensure that any ill-treatment, intimidation or reprisal or any other form of interference on the occasion of the lodging of a complaint or during the investigation procedure is appropriately punished.
6. An investigation, in accordance with the procedures described above, should be able to be conducted for as long as the fate of the victim of enforced disappearance remains unclarified.106

Russian authorities have a duty to investigate forced disappearances. While the civilian procuracy has launched about thirty-four investigations107-including some of the cases documented in this report-none of the "disappeared" has been found through a formal investigative procedure, and not a single person has been indicted for crimes comprising a forced "disappearance."108 The authorities are not committing the necessary resources to investigations, and are not empowering the relevant agencies to conduct them. Indeed, the investigations seem doomed to fail because they are assigned to the civilian procuracy, which has no jurisdiction over military servicemen.109 The military procuracy often refuses to cooperate with investigations by, for example, making servicemen available for questioning, yet no authority appears willing to compel the military procuracy to cooperate or take responsibility for such investigations. The civilian procuracy is poorly staffed, late in opening investigations, and in some cases fails even to take the most basic steps, such as questioning available witnesses, before it simply suspends the investigation.110 In addition, relatives of the "disappeared" face problems of access to the civilian procuracy-and nearly insurmountable barriers to meeting with the military procuracy-and often encountered among procuracy investigators a negligent attitude toward "disappearances." The unjustifiable delays in opening criminal investigations only served to further endanger the life and well-being of the "disappeared."111

Lack of Authority

The most devastating flaw in the investigative process is the civilian procuracy's lack of authority to compel cooperation by the military, which often plays a crucial role in detentions followed by "disappearance." The military procuracy and military officials obstruct investigations by denying access to investigators, and by refusing to question servicemen, as requested by civilian investigators. When criminal investigations are transferred to the military procuracy, it routinely returns these cases to the civilian procuracy, claiming that "involvement of military servicemen was not confirmed." In many cases, it appeared that such claims were not based on a meaningful investigation.

A. Maliuk, the investigator handling the "disappearance" of Akhdan Tamaev, told Tamaev's father on March 2, 2001 that the investigation was not progressing because, as a civilian investigator, he did not have jurisdiction over the military. He said that in fact the military procuracy should investigate Tamaev's "disappearance" but thathe did not have the authority to forward the case to it.112 Similarly, Lecha Aziev told Human Rights Watch that his sons' case investigator was powerless because he has no access to the Khankala army base.113

Investigator Maliuk confronted the same limits to his authority in dealing with the Musaev brothers' case. He told the Musaevs' mother that he did not have the authority to question Generals Nedobitko and Lubenets-both of whom were shown on national television in the presence of Ali Musaev's dead body.114 Strangely, in a November 2000 letter to Musaeva, the Khankala military procuracy informed Musaeva that the Penza military procuracy was requested to question Silantev, the head of the Penza OMON troops who presided over Musaev's detention. The letter does not mention Generals Nedobitko and Lubenets at all, implying that the military procuracy does not see them as relevant witnesses in this case.115

According to Rashan Alieva, mother of "disappeared" Islam Dombaev, investigators on the "disappearance" of Islam Dombaev, Murad Lyanov, and Timur Tabzhanov attempted to question a military official, requested that a military commander conduct an internal investigation into the "disappearance," and wrote several letters to the military procuracy requesting that they question a number of key witnesses under its jurisdiction.116 However, as far as Human Rights Watch is aware, the military officials and the military procuracy refused to comply with these requests.

In an August 18, 2000 letter to the three youths' parents, the deputy Grozny city procurator wrote that a criminal case into the "disappearance" of their sons had been opened and that it had been established that the Pskov OMON and the 8th OBRON unit of the interior troops had detained the three. He also wrote that "in connection with a refusal to appear for investigative steps, military servicemen of the 8th OBRON unit117 have not been questioned at this time." He added that the Grozny city procuracy had requested that the military procuracy question the military servicemen.118 Indeed, among documents obtained by the relatives is a letter from a Grozny city procuracy investigator, V.S. Eroshkin, to the Khankala military procuracy that contained such a request. In this August 29, 2000 letter, Eroshkin wrote:

A separate request (Outgoing No. 149 p-2000, dated August 9, 2000) has been addressed to you to question as witnesses the soldiers of the above-mentioned OBRON-8 unit and their commander Glushchenko. However, as yet no answer has been received to this request within the time limits provided by the law. Commander Glushchenko has refused to come to the Grozny city procuracy. In regard of the above, I earnestly ask you to provide assistance in establishing the whereabouts of the above-mentioned children.119

It is unclear whether the Khankala military procuracy ever responded to this request. However, letters from this procuracy to the youths' parents suggest that it did not pursue a separate investigation in a meaningful way. On August 24, 2000-no doubt after the Khankala military procuracy had received the August 9 request-military procuracy officer O.V. Sinchirin wrote to the parents of the "disappeared" that it had forwarded their complaint to the Grozny city procuracy, which was conducting a criminal investigation into the abduction of the young men. Theauthor made no mention of the OBRON-8 unit.120 In another letter to the parents of the three men, dated October 5, 2000, the Khankala military procuracy stated-contrary to earlier findings by the Grozny city procuracy-that the detention of the three men was carried out by "officials of one of the subdivisions of the Pskov OMON."121

Also among documentation obtained by parents of the men was a letter from investigator Eroshkin to Lieutenant General Lubenets, which reminded the general of the previous request to carry out an internal inquiry into the detentions.122

Human Rights Watch is aware of only a few responses by the military procuracy regarding "disappearances." In all these cases, the military procuracy claimed that "participation of military servicemen was not confirmed." For example, in a September 27, 2000 letter, the Khankala military procuracy wrote to the relatives of Adlan Eldarov, who "disappeared" during a sweep operation in Gekhi in August 2000, that "military servicemen of the federal forces" were not involved in Eldarov's detention.123 Similarly, in a November 24, 2000 response to a mother's appeal to look for her son, the Khankala military procuracy stated that the appeal had been sent to the military procuracy "groundlessly" because "no involvement in the disappearance of Bazorkina's son of particular military servicemen is discovered."124

Lack of diligence

In some cases, civilian investigators attempted to use their lack of authority to conceal their failure to question witnesses who fell well within their jurisdiction, such as the relatives of the "disappeared," witnesses to the moment of detention and "disappearance," and police and FSB officers who may have been involved in the "disappearance." In some cases, there were unjustifiable delays in opening the investigations.

The Grozny city procuracy opened a criminal investigation into the "disappearance" of Nura Lulueva only on June 23, 2000-three weeks after the incident, even though Lulueva's husband had provided detailed information on the incident to the procuracy on June 3, immediately after it occurred. According to former judge Said-Alvi Luluev, Grozny city procuracy investigators handling the "disappearance" of his wife, Nura and several other women unjustifiably delayed taking even the most elementary steps to collect information on the case.125 He told Human Rights Watch that investigators had not questioned him-the principle complainant and victim-until after the investigation had been suspended and then reopened, in November 2000.126 Luluev also said that the investigator on the case had unjustifiably delayed questioning the eyewitnesses to the incident whom Luluev himself had tracked down, and did not follow up on their signed written statements.

The Grozny city procuracy opened a criminal investigation into the "disappearance" of Islam Dombaev, Murad Lyanov, and Timur Tabzhanov on August 8, 20001-almost six weeks after Russian troops detained them on June 28 -even though the parents of the three young men had provided the procuracy with information on the detentionand "disappearance" immediately. Dombaev's mother, Rashan Alieva, told Human Rights Watch that because the investigator on the case was not taking any meaningful steps, she more or less forced the investigator to write several letters to the military procuracy (see above) and several detention centers. She told Human Rights Watch:

I insisted that the investigator write these letters. I said, "You show me proof of the work you are carrying out. Nothing is changing, in spite of me coming here [so often] and you getting sick of me." He said: "I'll write those letters for you."127

Rosa Yusupova had a similar experience. She told Human Rights Watch that she visited the case investigator, Sharpudi Amkhaev, on March 12, 2001. She said:

He still hadn't sent a request for information to the military procuracy at Khankala to find out whether or not my husband is there. I insisted that he do so, and dictated the letter to him on the spot, he wrote it up while I was there. I also asked him why he hadn't yet questioned the employees of the temporary police station. He said he hadn't been able to get around to it, and then he invited me to come back in a few days so that we could write the letter together. But, you know, he has to make enquiries to find out what the names of those employees are, in order to draw up the letter properly, so what's the point of waiting for me to draw it up just proves that he's not looking to obtain the information himself... more time will go by, that's all.128

In most cases, it was impossible to determine whether civilian investigators had questioned police officials, as they rarely shared such information with the relatives of the "disappeared." For example, in the case of the "disappearance" of Akhdan Tamaev, it was unclear whether the investigator of the Urus-Martan region procuracy had questioned the chief of the Urus-Martan temporary police station or the administrator of the detention center at that police station, both of whom played a significant role in Tamaev's "disappearance."129

As of late November 2000, procuracy investigators had not opened a criminal investigation into the "disappearance" of Adlan Eldarov following a sweep operation in the village of Gekhi in August 2000, even though his relatives had repeatedly informed the civilian and military procuracies in Chechnya of the "disappearance." One of Eldarov's relatives even provided the procuracy with the name of the captain who supervised the detention, as well as the licence plate number of the car in which he came to their house.130

The same relative provided Human Rights Watch with copies of ten letters he received from various procuracy offices around Russia. Not one of these letters states that a criminal investigation had been or will be opened. In four separate letters, sent between early September and late October 2000, the Urus-Martan district procuracy repeatedly instructed the local temporary police department to open a "search" case into the disappearance of Eldarov.131 It is unclear whether such a case was eventually opened.

As the Musaev case demonstrates, delays in opening investigations increase the risk to the life of the "disappeared." The Urus-Martan district procuracy opened a criminal investigation into the "disappearance" of the Musaev brothers from Gekhi only after their dead bodies had already been found and identified on September 13, 2000. Aminat Musaeva, the mother of the young men, told Human Rights Watch that she reported the "disappearance" to the competent authorities immediately after it happened.132 She insisted on being informed of their whereabouts and that they be released immediately. Throughout the week following the "disappearance," Musaeva and her husband provided law enforcement agencies with evidence of their detention. Yet, according toMusaeva's account, even after her sons' dead bodies were found, it took her personal persistence to convince the local procuracy to open a criminal investigation. Eventually, in mid-September a criminal investigation was opened, apparently into the kidnapping and murder of her sons.133

Although investigator Maliuk appears to have taken a number of the appropriate steps in the Musaev case, it appears that he has not questioned some of the key witnesses. First of all, Alexander Silantev, the police commander who led the detention operation on August 8, 2000, left Chechnya for his home in Penza. Investigator Maliuk apparently told Musaeva that he had sent Silantev an official letter requesting details on the detention. As of late November 2000, Musaeva was unaware of a response from the police commander.134

In a few recent cases of "disappearances," procuracy officials appear to have opened criminal investigations more swiftly. For example, in the case of the "disappearance" of the Aziev brothers on the night of September 24, 2000, the Grozny city procuracy opened a criminal investigation on September 29, 2000 after law enforcement officials had taken written statements from the father and several neighbors. In the case of the "disappearance" of Abdulkasim Zaurbekov at the October district temporary police station on October 17, 2000, the Grozny city procuracy opened a criminal investigation no later than November 5, 2000.135 The investigations, however, have led to a dead end.

Sixty-one-year-old Shakhid Baisaev "disappeared" during a sweep operation in Staropromyslovskii district of Grozny on March 2, 2000. The Grozny city procuracy opened a criminal investigation into his "disappearance" on May 10, 2000. The procuracy suspended the criminal investigation on September 14, 2000 due to "impossibility to establish identity of perpetrators." However, eyewitnesses to Baisaev's detention state that people in uniform took him. Furthermore, an official document from the head of administration of Pobedinskoe village shows that Russian troops indeed carried out a sweep operation between 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. that day.136

The Disposition of the Procuracy

Several relatives of "disappeared" persons complained to Human Rights Watch that they cannot meet with procuracy officials, as it is even difficult to gain physical access to the premises of procuracy offices-in particular, the military procuracy at the Khankala military base.

Sultan Saidaev, whose son, brother, and nephew "disappeared" on December 20, 1999 told Human Rights Watch that after he understood that the civilian procuracy was not able to conduct a proper investigation-not having the right to question military officials-he decided to visit the military procuracy at Khankala himself.137 He never made it, however, as soldiers at one of the checkpoints stopped him and refused to allow him onto the military base. Said Alvi Luluev, whose wife "disappeared" on June 3, 2000, had a similar experience. He said the soldiers at the checkpoint would not even allow him through when he showed them papers identifying him as a Russian federal judge. He said the soldiers simply told him they had orders not to let anyone through. Several other relatives of the "disappeared" told Human Rights Watch they unsuccessfully tried to visit the military procuracy at Khankala.138

Aminat Musaeva managed to visit the military procuracy at Khankala once. She said that time she somehow managed to talk her way through numerous checkpoints before she got to the main entrance to the military base.139 After successfully negotiating her way through that checkpoint and even getting the Federal Security Service to approve her admission pass, she walked two kilometers before reaching the procuracy itself. Musaeva said the procuracy official reacted with immense surprise saying: "Woman! How did you get in here?" Musaeva explained the case of her sons and the procuracy official expressed an interest in seeing a videocassette showing her dead son in the hands of high-ranking officers. However, when Musaeva tried to come back to the base, she did not make it through the checkpoints. She said the procurator at one point told her to "Go to Chernobyl."140

Rosa Yusupova, wife of "disappeared" Abdulkasim Zaurbekov, also managed to visit the military procuracy at Khankala once. She said she got through all of the checkpoints without too much trouble, but at the main entrance she had to talk and argue with the guards for a long time. She told the guards that she had been invited by Sergei Petrukhin of the military procuracy but the guards said they did not know where the procuracy was located and could not contact Petrukhin to alert him to her arrival. Finally she convinced them to let her in, left her passport at the KPP and saw Petrukhin. When he invited her back in a few days, she explained how hard it had been to get on the base. She said that in response, "he just smirked." Yusupova has since tried to get back onto the military base but without luck. She told Human Rights Watch: "Now access to Khankala is much more difficult than in November. I was probably pretty lucky to get in during the fall." She said she had tried to get in a few days ago but failed.141

Most relatives of the "disappeared" did not complain about access problems to district-level civilian procuracy offices. However, Said-Alvi Luluev told Human Rights Watch he did have problems gaining access to the Grozny city procuracy and the republican procuracy. He said the procuracy is located on a street with several other official buildings, including the Lenin district temporary police department, the military commander's office, the Grozny city administration, the Federal Security Service, and the Ministry for Emergency Situations and is heavily guarded by a "whole cascade of barricades." Luluev said that he managed to get into the police department and procuracy only after showing guards papers identifying him as a federal judge. He said that in order to enter the premises of the procuracy of the Chechen Republic in Gudermes, he had to appeal to the head of the Gudermes administration who then walked him through all checkpoints and gates.142 The relatives of Aslan Dundaev, who "disappeared" on December 18, 2000, complained that they had problems getting access to the procurator of the Urus-Martan district. Muslim Dikaev, an uncle of Dundaev, told Human Rights Watch that he and other relatives had been trying to see the procurator for several months but that he "was never around." Dikaev also said they had tried to leave a letter for him but procuracy officials had refused to take it.143

Many relatives of the "disappeared" complained of the uncooperative attitude of procuracy officials. They said that procuracy officials were often unwilling to talk to them or made offensive remarks about the "disappeared" loved one. Procuracy officials also apparently charged the relatives with the responsibility for the investigation, instructing them to travel to various different places to look for their loved ones.144

Said-Alvi Luluev told Human Rights Watch that on several occasions when he came to the Grozny city procuracy officials were drunk and sent him away without talking to him. He also said that he visited the Chechen Republic procuracy on several occasions, each time leaving complaints and inquiries about his wife addressed to then-procurator of Chechnya, Vladimir Kravchenko. When he finally got to speak to Kravchenko, Luluev confronted him on his wife's "disappearance," after which Kravchenko scolded Luluev for not having written any complaintsto the procuracy.145 A deputy procurator of the Grozny city procuracy told Rashan Alieva that her son and his friends had "probably never arrived at Khankala" and that she better "look for him in a strip of forest."146

Several relatives of the "disappeared" told Human Rights Watch that procuracy officials had told them to stop coming in for information about the investigation. Rashan Alieva said that for the first two months after her son's "disappearance," she regularly visited the procuracy office to find out whether they had any news. After approximately two months, she was told "Why do you keep coming here?" After some time went by, Alieva went to the procuracy again and the investigator suddenly started grilling her for news.147 Rosa Yusupova had a similar experience. In an December 2000 interview, she told Human Rights Watch that she had been going to the procuracy and police station every few days to find out whether there had been any new information and that "they are often even dissatisfied: `Why are you coming here?! We have a lot of work! If we receive information, we will let you know.'" She had not received any information from the procuracy since.148

Several relatives told Human Rights Watch that procuracy officials continuously told them to visit various different detention centers around the North Caucasus to look for their children. Rashan Alieva, for example, told Human Rights Watch: "I come to him [the procuracy investigator] and he starts to type: Go here, go there, go to Chernokozovo, go to Pyatigorsk, go to Stavropol."149 It is unclear for what purpose the relatives should travel to all these detention centers, as under Russian law the procuracy should have access to full lists of everyone held there. At the same time, relatives said investigators had told them they did not want to risk their lives leaving their offices and would not travel to investigate the "disappearance."

The Office of the Special Representative

Many relatives of "disappeared" who were interviewed by Human Rights Watch had written or visited the office of Vladimir Kalamanov, the special representative of the president of the Russian Federation for Human Rights in the Chechen Republic.150 Kalamanov's offices-with branches in Znamenskoe, Grozny, Gudermes, and other regional centers-functions as an ombudsman. Staff receive visitors, take their written complaints, and then approach the appropriate authorities to seek a solution for the applicant's problems. Thirty-eight of the "disappeared" persons Human Rights Watch documented were on a list of missing persons that is kept by his office.

A large percentage-over twenty percent-of the complaints Kalamanov's offices receive concern alleged arbitrary detention and "disappearances."151 In such cases, his office liaises with procuracy offices, the Ministry of Justice, and other official agencies to attempt to establish the whereabouts of individual detainees, to learn the reasons for detentions, and to facilitate releases, provided they are not under investigation for a serious criminal offense. In his December 2000 report, Kalamanov stated that his office had managed to track down forty-eight people who had been reported "missing" and had established that an additional twenty-six had been convicted of a criminal offense and were serving a sentence.

In his December 2000 report, Kalamanov expressed concern over the rising number of complaints about "disappearances of citizens filed by relatives, friends and neighbors, and recorded in letters from city, district, andvillage executives. The report also criticizes the arbitrary way in which sweep operations are carried out and the lack of respect for due process when searching houses and detaining their inhabitants.

Kalamanov's office maintains a list of individuals who went missing in the course of the current conflict, during the interwar years, and during the 1994-1996 Chechnya conflict. As of December 2000, the list contained the names of 462 people, and was forwarded to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which opened 145 searches [rozysknye dela] in addition to 255 cases that the ministry had already been handling for Chechnya.

Human Rights Watch welcomes the fact that a federal official keeps a record of missing persons. The list would be more useful both to criminal investigations and statistical analysis if it contained information on the circumstances under which the person went missing, especially in cases in which those missing were last seen in government custody. To our knowledge, complainants often provide such information to the office. The list should also be updated on a regular basis. Human Rights Watch is aware of several people whose names were on the list that was published in October 2000, even though their dead bodies had been found in May 2000. It is possible that there are also people listed as missing who have since been found in custody, at liberty, or dead. The list should also make clear the difference between missing individuals and those who have been forcibly disappeared.152

Most relatives of the "disappeared" interviewed by Human Rights Watch were discouraged by the apparent inability of Kalamanov's office to help them find their loved ones, and seemed confused about how the office worked. Almost all those interviewed for this report who had filed a complaint with Kalamanov's office said they had not receive any response. Only Fatima Bazorkina, the mother of Khadzhimurat Yandiev, received a copy of a letter from Kalamanov to the OSCE regarding her son. She had sent a letter to the OSCE Assistance Group asking their assistance in finding Yandiev, which in turn requested Kalamanov's office for information. The Assistance Group forwarded Bazorkina the Kalamanov office response, which stated that Yandiev is listed on his missing persons list as No. 363.153 As a result of this lack of followup, the relatives said that they had no idea what Kalamanov's office was actually doing-if anything-with their complaints.

106 Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, G.A. res. 47/133, 47 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 49) at 207, U.N. Doc. A/47/49 (1992). Adopted by General Assembly resolution 47/133 of December 18, 1992

107 See "Report on the Activity of the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for Guaranteeing Rights and Freedoms of Men and Citizens in the Chechen Republic for the Year 2000," Moscow, December 2000.

108 Such investigations are investigated as kidnappings, under article 126 of the Russian criminal code. One exception to this rule is the prosecution of Yuri Budanov, currently on trial for the March 2000 abduction and murder of Kheda Kungaeva. In sharp contrast to the cases described in this paper, federal authorities acknowledged and investigated her abduction and murder immediately after the crime took place.

109 The military procuracy is responsible for investigating crimes committed by those serving in the armed forces, such as the army, as well as by those serving in the Ministry of Internal Affairs' armed forces and Spetsnaz forces. Crimes committed by other Ministry of Internal Affairs personnel (including Otriady Militsii Osobogo Naznachenia (OMON)) are under the jurisdiction of the civilian procuracy.

110 Investigators in Chechnya appear to do three-month tours of duty while "on loan" from other regions of Russia. The rapid turnover in procuracy offices in Chechnya appears to be disrupting investigations.

111 Under Russian law, procuracy officials are obliged to open criminal investigations within three days-ten in exceptional cases-after receiving information on the criminal offense, if there are "sufficient grounds" to assume that a criminal offense was committed. Article 109 of the criminal procedure code of the RSFSR. In accordance with article 108 of that code, the information on the criminal offense may be contained in, among others, a newspaper report, a letter from a victim, or an NGO report.

112 Human Rights Watch interview with Ovkhad Tamaev, Nazran, March 3, 2001.

113 Human Rights Watch interview with Lecha Aziev, Nazran, March 2, 2001.

114 Human Rights Watch interview with Alamat and Aminat Musaev, Nazran, November 24, 2000.

115 Letter from the Khankala military procuracy dated November 1, 2000, addressed to Musaeva A.D., signed by assistant of the military procurator, Khalemin D.B.

116 Human Rights Watch interview with Rashan Alieva, Nazran, December 4, 2000.

117 OBRON units are special Interior Ministry troops.

118 Letter from the Grozny city procuracy dated August 18, 2000, addressed to A. Lyanova, G. Tabzhanova and R. Dombaeva, signed by first deputy procurator of the city of Grozny, V.B. Mukhamadeev.

119 Letter from the Grozny city procuracy dated August 29, 2000, addressed to military procurator Okorokov, O.I. of military unit 20102, signed by investigator V.S. Eroshkin of the Grozny city procuracy.

120 Letter from the Khankala military procuracy dated August 24, 2000, addressed to K. Tabzhanova, A. Lyanova, and R. Dombaeva, signed by assistant to the military procurator of military unit 20102, O.V. Sinchurin.

121 Letter from the Main Military Procuracy dated October 5, 2000, addressed to the General Procuracy of the Russian Federation and A. Lyanova, signed by D.V.Tsirekidze.

122 Letter from the Grozny city procuracy dated August 28, 2000, addressed to Lieutenant General Lubenets, commander of the unified forces, signed by investigator V.S. Eroshkin.

123 Letter from the Khankala military procuracy dated September 29, 2000, addressed to head of the department for internal affairs of the Ministry of Interior for the Chechen republic, signed by acting deputy military procurator, I.N. Mogilnyi.

124 Letter dated November 24, 2000 from assistant to the military procurator V.P. Zelenin of the Khankala military procuracy to Fatima Bazorkina.

125 Human Rights Watch interview with Said-Alvi Luluev, Moscow, October 19, 2000.

126 Human Rights Watch interview with Said-Alvi Luluev, Moscow, March 12, 2001. Luluev also said he had not been recognized as a victim (in Russian: poterpevshii) of the crime under investigation. Under Russian law, this procedural status grants victims of crimes a number of rights during the investigation and in court, including filing complaints and requests, and reading the case materials after the investigation has ended. Article 53 of the code of criminal procedure.

127 Human Rights Watch interview with Rashan Alieva, Nazran, December 4, 2000.

128 Human Rights Watch interview with Rosa Yusupova, Nazran, March 14, 2001.

129 Human Rights Watch interview with Ovkhad Tamaev, Nazran, March 3, 2001.

130 The car number was given as: UAZ-469 with a state licence plate No. OBS 31-62.

131 A request for a search (rozysknoe delo) does not have the same status as a criminal investigation.

132 Human Rights Watch interview with Alamat and Aminat Musaev, Nazran, November 24, 2000.

133 A letter from the Khankala military procuracy confirms that the criminal case was opened under article 105 of the criminal code (premeditated murder). A letter from the procuracy of the Chechen republic to the Urus-Martan region procuracy, dated November 3, 2000, instructs the latter to open a criminal investigation under article 126 of the criminal code (kidnapping).

134 Human Rights Watch interview with Alamat and Aminat Musaev, Nazran, November 24, 2000.

135 The Grozny city procuracy sent Rosa Yusupova a letter on November 5, 2000 in which it stated that a criminal case had been opened under article 126 of the criminal code (abduction).

136 Report (in Russian: spravka) from the administration of Pobedinskoe village, dated September 20, 2000, signed by Batukaev I.A.

137 Human Rights Watch interview with Sultan Saidaev, Assinovskaia, November 30, 2000.

138 Human Rights Watch interview with Said-Alvi Luluev, Moscow, March 12, 2001.

139 Relatives referred to the main entrance as the KPP (Kontrolnyi propusknoi punkt), or "control and admission point."

140 Human Rights Watch interview with Aminat Musaeva, Nazran, March 13, 2001.

141 Human Rights Watch interview with Rosa Yusupova, Nazran, March 14, 2001.

142 Human Rights Watch interview with Said-Alvi Luluev, Moscow, October 19, 2000.

143 Human Rights Watch interview with Muslim Dikaev, Nazran, March 9, 2001.

144 Human Rights Watch interview with Zaurbekova's wife, Rosa Yusupova, Nazran, March 14, 2001; Human Rights Watch interview with Said-Alvi Luluev, October 19, 2000.

145 Human Rights Watch interview with Said-Alvi Luluev, October 19, 2000.

146 Human Rights Watch interview with Rashan Alieva, Nazran, December 4, 2000.

147 Ibid.

148 Human Rights Watch interview with Rosa Yusupova, Nazran, December 6, 2000.

149 Human Rights Watch interview with Rashan Alieva, Nazran, December 4, 2000.

150 In February 2000, then acting President Vladimir Putin appointed Vladimir Kalamanov as his special representative for human rights in Chechnya. The appointment came at a time that human rights organizations and international media were reporting that Russian troops had summarily executed large numbers of civilians and that torture and ill-treatment of detainees was widespread. Russia, as a result, found itself under mounting international pressure to clean up its human rights record in Chechnya.

151 In his December 2000 report, Kalamanov wrote that his offices in Chechnya and Moscow have received a total of 5,485 written complaints. 853 of these concerned lack of information about detained or arrested relatives, 357 - arbitrary detention.

152 For example, the list states that seventeen-year-old Adam Abubakarov from Urus-Martan went missing in December 1999 whereas in fact, was detained by Russian troops in March 2000.

153 Letter from the special representative of the president of the Russian Federation for Human Rights in the Chechen Republic, dated November 1, 2000, addressed to Ambassador Alfred Missong of the OSCE Assistance Group to Chechnya, signed by Vladimir Kalamanov.

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