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Recent statements by leaders and governments in the United States, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan indicate an interest in creating so-called safe zones in Syria. While no detailed plans for creating and managing such…
An internally displaced Syrian woman walks in the Bab Al-Salam refugee camp, near the Syrian-Turkish border, northern Aleppo province, Syria, December 26, 2016.
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The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, on October 13, 2015 requested authorization from the court’s judges to open an investigation into crimes committed during the August 2008 conflict in Georgia…
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(Moscow) – The Boston Marathon bombings have pushed the turbulent history of Chechnya back to the top of the news agenda. Human Rights Watch has a long history of research in the region, generating a substantive body of research on Chechnya, Dagestan and…
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Questions and Answers

Introduction On December 4, Russians will go to the polls to elect a new Duma, the lower house of parliament, and in March 2012 they will elect a new president. President Dmitri Medvedev’s announcement in September 2011 that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin…
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The Trial of Umar Israilov’s Killers and its Relevance for Today’s Chechnya

Q.  Who is Umar Israilov? A. Umar Israilov was involved in the Chechen insurgency in the early 2000s. The indictment in the case of his suspected killers says that he was seized in Chechnya in 2003, held in secret detention at the home base of Ramzan…
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Questions and Answers About the Murder of Natalia Estemirova

Q. Why was Natalia Estemirova murdered? A. We believe that Estemirova's killing was a brazen attempt to silence those telling the truth about human rights violations in Chechnya. She was the link between victims and the rest of the world. She connected…
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A BBC investigation released on April 9 has revealed powerful evidence that the ethnic Albanian Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which fought for Kosovo's independence in 1998-1999, maintained a network of detention facilities in Kosovo and Albania, where…
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  1. When does the law on occupation apply to the Russian presence in Georgia?  2. Does applying occupation law to Russia affect the status of the territory that Russia occupies?  3. Is Russia an occupying force in buffer zones and in places where it…
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The Russian Federation was not part of the Oslo Process launched in February 2007 to develop a new international treaty banning cluster munitions. In May 2008, 107 nations adopted the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which comprehensively bans the use,…
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  1. What's going on in South Ossetia?  2. What's the background to the latest round of fighting?  3. Is this an internal or international armed conflict? What law governs it?  4. What is a lawful target under international humanitarian law?  5. What…
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At the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to a question posed by Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch:    Kenneth Roth: You talked about the danger of a unipolar world in which one…
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Questions and Answers

  What are "diplomatic assurances" against torture? Why is the use of diplomatic assurances growing? Why do governments seek these assurances? Do diplomatic assurances work? Have people who were sent back with diplomatic assurances actually been…
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1. Where do the proceedings in the Milosevic trial stand?   Former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic was indicted under three separate indictments for crimes committed in Kosovo, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The trial started on…
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(Washington, DC) - Under President Bush's November 13th Military Order on military commissions, any foreign national designated by the President as a suspected terrorist or as aiding terrorists could potentially be detained, tried, convicted and even…