To the Government of the Russian Federation:
Direct Government Forces to Cease Violations of International Humanitarian Law
* Direct all Russian Federation forces-including Ministry of Defense troops, OMON and other Ministry of Internal Affairs units-to cease violations of international humanitarian law, including summary executions, rape, pillage, and the deliberate destruction of civilian property; instruct these forces that perpetrators of such violations will bear criminal responsibility. Special efforts should be made to convey this direction to contract soldiers; and
* Direct all Russian Federation forces to stop the indiscriminate or disproportionate use of force against the civilian population; take all necessary steps to protect civilian populations from the effects of military and police operations.
Conduct a Full and Objective Investigation into the Massacre
* Reinvigorate the investigation of the abuses committed in Aldi and prosecute those found responsible;
* Identify and immediately suspend the commanding officer or officers responsible for military activity in Aldi on February 5, pending the outcome of a full criminal investigation into civilian killings by Russian forces that day;
* Identify and immediately suspend from duty, pending the outcome of the investigation, those contract soldiers and OMON officers found to have served in Aldi on February 5, and instigate criminal proceedings against those found to have either engaged, assisted or otherwise participated in or knowingly and willfully failed to stop summary executions, rape, arson, looting and other acts of wanton violence and destruction against civilians and civilian property; identify which military units were in Aldi subsequent to the massacre, in particular on February 10 who engaged in the looting of civilian homes in the area and instigate criminal proceedings against them;
* Establish a witness protection program to protect witnesses from reprisals and to encourage witnesses to the February 5 massacre to come forward. Potential witnesses should be made aware of such a program; and
* Conduct a diligent and independent investigation into rape and other forms of sexual violence against women in Aldi, taking steps to ensure that those alleged to have committed rape or other forms of sexual violence are prosecuted; ensure that the Aldi investigation team is gender-integrated and that whenever possible, interviews with rape victims will be conducted by female investigators with training in rape investigations; include examinations for evidence of rape and sexual violence in autopsies of female bodies.
Provide Access for the OSCE, Human Rights and Humanitarian Organizations, and Media
* Cease delaying the deployment of the Assistance Group of the OSCE to Ingushetia and Chechnya;
* Agree to the immediate deployment in Ingushetia and Chechnya of an independent, international commission of inquiry with a mandate to investigate violations of international humanitarian law and the ability to recommend prosecutions in appropriate cases;
* Immediately grant unrestricted access to Aldi and other massacre sites in Chechnya, such as Alkhan-Yurt and the Staropromyslovsky district of Grozny, to international human rights and humanitarian organizations;
* Facilitate prompt visits by the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; the U.N. Special Rapporteur on violence against women; the U.N. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; the U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture; the Special Representative of the Secretary General for children and armed conflict; and the Special Representative of the Secretary General for internally displaced persons; and
* Allow full and unimpeded access for local and foreign journalists and national and international organizations covering the conflict in Chechnya.
To the United Nations, OSCE, Council of Europe, European Union, United States, and other international actors:
Representatives of various international organizations and governments, including the United Nations, the European Union, and the United States have repeatedly exhorted the Russian government to investigate abuses committed in Chechnya and to hold those responsible accountable. Although the Russian government had not undertaken a credible investigation, on April 25, 2000, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights failed to call for the creation of an international inquiry into the abuses, instead calling once again on the Russian government to conduct an investigation. More than one month later, the Russian government continues to make no meaningful progress on accountability for abuses in Chechnya. Accordingly, Human Rights Watch once again calls on representatives of the international community to:
* Establish an international commission of inquiry that would observe, investigate, and report upon the human rights and humanitarian conditions relating to the military operation in Chechnya, and that have the ability to recommend prosecutions in appropriate cases. The commission would also provide assistance to Russian authorities in the carrying out of investigations.
To the United Nations:
On April 25, 2000 the United Nations Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution calling for the formation of an independent national commission of inquiry to investigate "alleged violations . . . of international humanitarian law. In the resolution, the UNHRC requested the relevant rapporteurs and working groups of the commission to undertake missions to the region, and urged the Russian government to facilitate such missions.
Continue to Pursue Engagement Through the High Commissioner for Human Rights
* The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, should continue her commitment to working on Chechnya. A deadline should be set for her return visit to the region, to which the Russian government has committed itself. The visit, which should be carried out as soon as possible, should include a visit to Aldi. And the High Commissioner should continue to otherwise engage the Russian government on its implementation of the April 25 resolution.
Pursue Procedures of U.N. Special Human Rights Mechanisms
* The U.N. Special Rapporteur on violence against women, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture, the Special Representative of the Secretary General for children and armed conflict, and the Special Representative of the Secretary General for internally displaced persons should vigorously pursue the visits to the North Caucasus mandated by the April 25 resolution. This initiative should be joined by the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
To the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe:
Deploy an Expanded OSCE Assistance Group in the Region
On April 11, 1995, the OSCE established the Assistance Group to Chechnya. Its mandate, explicitly reaffirmed by all OSCE member states, including Russia, at the November 1999 Istanbul Summit, provides that it will, among other things, "promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms," and "facilitate the delivery to the region by international and nongovernmental organizations of humanitarian aid for victims of the crisis, wherever they may be located." The Assistance Group enjoys "all possible freedom of movement on the territory of the Chechen Republic and also on the territory of neighboring subjects of the Russian Federation, if so required for the performance of its tasks." Since the outbreak of hostilities in Chechnya in September 1999, the Assistance Group has not redeployed a permanent presence in the North Caucasus and its six-member team is currently based in Moscow.
* As is foreseen under the existing Assistance Group mandate, the OSCE should immediately deploy an expanded Assistance Group delegation to Chechnya and Ingushetia: to gather evidence of violations of human rights and humanitarian law being committed in Chechnya; to report publicly on any such abuses and make recommendations to the Russian government to curb abuses and hold those responsible accountable; and to monitor the treatment of displaced persons and advise the Russian authorities and international agencies with respect to needed humanitarian assistance;
* In accordance with the 1994 Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, Articles 30 and 31, the OSCE must insist on Russia's obligations to investigate abuses committed by Russian Federation troops in Chechnya, including in Aldi, and prosecute those found responsible. The OSCE should insist that Russia keeps the Chair-in-Office and the OSCE Permanent Council informed on progress in this regard; and
* The OSCE Assistance Group should cooperate with any investigation undertaken by the Russian government, but any monitoring or other activities by the Assistance Group should remain independent and distinct from the activities of Russian government institutions.
To the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Bilateral Donors:
Impose Conditionality on International Loans
* Immediately suspend payment of all pending loan installments payable to the Russian Federation for unrestricted general budgetary spending, including pending World Bank payments under its structural adjustment loans. Signal that such payments will not resume until the Russian Federation takes meaningful steps to limit the civilian toll imposed by its military operation in Chechnya. Such steps should include serious, transparent, and impartial investigations of abuses committed and accountability for those responsible, and acceptance of a sustained international monitoring presence in Chechnya and Ingushetia and full cooperation with its activities;
* Refuse to negotiate any new loans or to renegotiate any existing loans until the above steps are taken; and
* Establish the July 2000 G8 Summit in Japan as a target date by which point meaningful steps toward a credible investigation are expected.
To the Council of Europe:
Contribute to an International Presence
* Provide whatever technical assistance would be appropriate to international monitoring or investigative missions deployed to Ingushetia and Chechnya; and
* Insist on the independence of its staff seconded to the office of the Presidential Representative on Human Rights in Chechnya, including their freedom of movement and their right of unfettered communication with the Council of Europe secretariat and with the public.
Commence Legal Actions before the European Court of Human Rights
* Member states of the Council of Europe should file interstate complaints against the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights for the massacre at Aldi and for other incidents of gross violations of international humanitarian law.
Instigate a Committee of Ministers Investigation
* As envisioned by its 1994 Declaration, the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers should set in motion a special investigation into Russia's compliance with its Council of Europe commitments.
To the European Union and the United States:
Insist on Accountability for Violations and Access for International Monitors
Discussing alleged abuses in Chechnya before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Portuguese Foreign Minister, Jaime Gama, speaking on behalf of the European Union, stated that a "serious and independent investigation must be carried out without delay in order that those responsible can be brought to account." Addressing the same forum, U.S. Secretary of State Albright called for "prompt and transparent investigation of all credible charges." To date, the Russian government has failed to undertake a serious investigation of abuses in Chechnya. It is therefore necessary for the E.U. and the U.S. to press forward for a two-track process of accountability involving both national and international inquiries. Specifically, the E.U. and the U.S. should:
* In bilateral and multinational public and private communications with the Russian government, emphasize that abuses, such as summary executions, rape, pillage, and the deliberate destruction of civilian property, that have been committed by Russian government forces in Chechnya amount to war crimes and serious violations of international law;
* Continue to press the Russian Federation to undertake a thorough, transparent investigation of abuses committed in Chechnya and to hold accountable those responsible, warning that accountability is a non-negotiable minimum condition for enhanced political, economic, and security relationships with the Russian Federation; and
* Set the July 2000 G8 Summit in Japan as a target date by which the international community expects meaningful progress by the Russian national commission of inquiry; after this date the U.S. government and the E.U. must be prepared to engage the Russian government to accept an international commission of inquiry.
Condition International Financial Assistance on an International Monitoring Presence and Accountability
* Oppose payment of any pending loan installments payable to the Russian Federation for unrestricted general budgetary spending, including pending World Bank payments under its structural adjustment loans. Assertthe position that such payments should not resume until the Russian Federation takes meaningful steps to limit the civilian toll imposed by its military operation in Chechnya and hold those responsible for abuses accountable. Such steps should include serious, transparent, and impartial investigations of abuses committed and accountability for those responsible, acceptance of an international monitoring presence in Ingushetia and Chechnya and full cooperation with its activities, and meaningful steps to curb looting and the destruction of civilian property in Chechnya; and
* Oppose any new loans or renegotiation of any existing loans until these same steps are taken.