To the government of the Russian Federation:
Investigate cases of forced disappearance
· Establish for each case of "disappearance" a joint investigatory group, composed of both military and civilian procuracy officials, until the military, law enforcement, or security branch responsible for the "disappearance" can be identified and the jurisdiction for the case can be established.
Ensure full cooperation by military and security personnel with investigations by the civilian and military procuracies.
· Improve access to military procuracy officials to allow complaints to be brought;
· In compliance with U.N. Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) resolution 2001/24 (April 20, 2001), approve requests for invitations to Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, and other relevant mechanisms and working groups of the commission. Ensure that these thematic mechanisms have full access to the sites of sweep and other search-and-seizure operations, regular and ad-hoc detention facilities, sites of mass or makeshift graves, and official documents relevant to their mandates;
· In compliance with UNCHR resolution 2001/24, establish an independent national commission of inquiry that would ensure the effective investigation and prosecution of those responsible for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Its composition and operation should conform to international standards for national commissions of inquiry as established in 2000 by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights;
· Instruct commanders of the United Group of Forces and all Russian Federation forces that are involved in sweep or other targeted search-and seizure operations-including Ministry of Defense troops, OMON, Ministry of Interior troops, and Ministry of Justice troops-of the relevant principles of international human rights and humanitarian law and Russian criminal procedure that must be observed during sweep operations. In particular, they should be instructed that:
¬ No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. An individual may be detained only when there is a "reasonable suspicion" that the person committed a criminal offense, and detention of the person is necessary to prevent commission of an offense or to prevent flight, or if one of the other grounds for depriving a person of his liberty, as provided for in article 5(1) of the European Convention of Human Rights, is applicable;
· Instruct commanders of the United Group of Forces that they bear responsibility for the implementation of the above-mentioned requirements, and that they will be held accountable for failure to ensure their general implementation throughout Chechnya;
· Require all personnel on search-and-seizure operations to identify themselves and provide their military, law enforcement, or security branch affiliation.
· Instruct all relevant Russian Federation forces that any violation of the above-mentioned requirements will be vigorously investigated, and that the perpetrators of such violations will be brought to justice;
· Officials of the procuracy and local administration shall be present during all sweep and targeted operations, in accordance with Decree No. 46 and Decree No. 80; these officials should enjoy full freedom of movement during the sweep operation, including full access to any places where detainees are held;
· Fully implement the Body of Principles for the Protection of all persons under any form of Detention or Imprisonment. In particular, fully observe the safeguards delineated in Principle 12.
· Fully implement the U.N. Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, in particular regarding the requirements of article 10, to keep detainees in officially recognized places of detention; maintain accurate information on detainees and their places of detention; and to promptly inform family members of the place of detention.
· Hold all detainees only in officially recognized places of detention. Cease the practice of secret detention even if it takes place on the premises of an officially recognized detention facility;
· Direct the office of the president's special representative on human rights in Chechnya and procuracy officials to preserve the distinction between persons alleged to have been "disappeared" at the hands of federal forces and those who are simply missing.
· Make publicly available regularly updated figures on the number of individuals arrested and charged for security-related crimes in Chechnya, with information on the nature of their alleged crimes and the places of their detention. Maintain accurate registers of detainees' names and places of their detention, and make such registers readily available to detainees' family, counsel, and other legitimately interested persons;
To the International Community:
· Establish an international commission of inquiry to observe, investigate, and publicly report on violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in the armed conflict in Chechnya. Should the Russian authorities opt not to cooperate with or obstruct the work of the international commission, it should still convene hearings, hear testimony, and publish authoritative reports, thereby creating a comprehensive, independent record of violations.
· Governments should make compliance with UNCHR resolution 2001/24, in particular invitations to the relevant U.N. thematic mechanisms, a key element for cooperation in their bilateral relations with Russia. The extent of compliance with 2001/24 and other measures to address the human rights situation in Chechnya should be a priority agenda item for furthering ministerial and heads-of-state meetings with Russia.
· Press Russia to publicize regularly a detailed list of all investigations undertaken with regard to forced disappearances.
· The secretary general of the Council of Europe should instruct the experts seconded to the Office of the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation on Human Rights in Chechnya to scrutinize the conduct of detentions in Chechnya, with a view to determining whether methods employed by Russian state agencies are in accordance with article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The information should be made available to other Council of Europe agencies competent to make such a determination, in particular the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture. The Council of Europe should inform the relevant Russian authorities of any finding that Russian forces have not upheld the standard required by article 5.
· The secretary general should instruct the experts seconded to the office of the special representative to follow up regularly, wherever possible, with relatives of the "disappeared," to seek information on specific steps taken by the investigation.
· The Parliamentary Assembly-State Duma Joint Working Group on Chechnya and the Joint Working Group established between the office of the special representative and procuracy officials should continue to monitor the process of accountability. Both bodies should as a matter of priority monitor the progress of investigations and prosecutions in relation forced disappearances, and should report regularly and publicly regarding their findings;
· As envisioned by its 1994 Declaration on Compliance with Commitments Accepted by Member States of the Council of Europe, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe should set in motion a special investigation into Russia's compliance with its Council of Europe commitments. The Committee of Ministers should take into account previous reports to it by the secretary general and experts. These reports had concluded that Russia failed to respond adequately to the secretary general's request, pursuant to article 52 of the European Convention on Human Rights, for information on how the conduct of the Chechnya operation affected the Russian Federation's implementation of its commitments under the convention.
· The U. N. High Commissioner for Human Rights should continue her commitment to address human rights issues in Chechnya. She should continue to engage the Russian government on its implementation of resolution 2001/24, and should consider a return visit to the region that would include visits to sites of recent sweep operations, as well as detention facilities and sites known to have served as ad-hoc detention facilities.
· The U.N. Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, should continue to pursue the visits mandated by resolution 2001/24.
· The U.N. Commission on Human Rights should adopt a resolution condemning ongoing abuses in the Chechnya conflict, calling on the Russian authorities to comply with previous UNCHR resolutions, and urging them to invite the above-mentioned U.N. thematic mechanisms to visit Chechnya.
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
· The OSCE Permanent Council should instruct the OSCE Assistance Group to Chechnya to, as a matter of priority, gather evidence of violations of human rights and humanitarian law committed in Chechnya; in particular, it should take the initiative to investigate forced disappearances.
· The Assistance Group should be asked to report publicly on any such abuses and make recommendations to the Russian government to curb them.
· The Assistance Group should also make recommendations to the Russian government on accountability. It should closely monitor the progress of investigations into the sweeps discussed in this report. Such monitoring should take the form of regular queries to national, international, and nongovernmental entities for information regarding the progress of investigations and prosecutions and regular reports to the OSCE Permanent Council;
· OSCE member states should request that Russia report to the OSCE Permanent Council on efforts to hold accountable those responsible for the forced disappearances.
· In accordance with the 1994 Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security, articles 30 and 31, the OSCE should insist on Russia's obligations to investigate abuses committed by Russian Federation troops in Chechnya and prosecute those found responsible. The OSCE should also insist that Russia keep the chair-in-office and the OSCE Permanent Council informed on progress in this regard.