Large-scale fighting in Chechnya nominally ended in 2000, but Russian forces continue to detain hundreds of people without charges in the ongoing operations against Chechen rebel forces. Most are later released, but dozens remain unaccounted for - "disappeared" - and are not seen by their families again. Relatives' inquiries to Russian authorities are met with denials that the "disappeared" persons were ever in custody. "Last Seen...: Continued 'Disappearances' in Chechnya" documents 87 cases of "disappearance" since our last report on the issue a year ago and notes that the actual total of "disappearances" is believed to be much higher. The report was released at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva on April 15, at a joint briefing with the Russian NGO Memorial.
April 30, 2002