A Human Rights Watch representative is speaking to members of
the Council of Europe to urge a continued strong stand by the organization on human rights
abuses and war crimes in Chechnya.

The Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly suspended the voting rights of the Russian delegation at its April session. The Assembly, made up of parliamentarians from 41 European countries, is in session again this week and scheduled to debate Chechnya and the Russian delegation's voting rights on Thursday.
The Assembly's draft resolution and recommendation recognizes some positive gestures on the part of the Russian government, but insists that the Russian government take steps to conduct serious investigations and prosecutions or face international measures to ensure accountability for abuses in Chechnya.

"The draft resolution correctly puts accountability up front and requires the Russian government to deliver on its promises before regaining voting rights," Human Rights Watch's Elizabeth Andersen commented in Strasbourg. "It also appropriately puts the onus on the Council of Europe's member states to expand their meager efforts to monitor conditions and enforce human rights law in Chechnya. We will be watching the debate closely for any weakening of this line."

Human Rights Watch maintained a sustained presence in Ingushetia from November 1999 through May 2000 and has documented more than 130 summary executions and the detention and torture of thousands by Russian security forces in Chechnya. Three reports and numerous public statements detailing these findings are available on the organization's website.