27 October 2008, 13:27

"Memorial": actions of power agents provoke militants' response in Northern Caucasus

On October 20, Paris hosted another consultation round between Russian human rights activists and EU representatives. The former had noted the fact of activation of armed underground in Northern Caucasus in reply to tortures, extrajudicial executions and preventive violence exercised by power agents.

Under decisions of the European Court, relatives of murdered and kidnapped persons receive compensations; however, nobody is going to amend the laws, which grant unlimited authorization to power agencies.

This is the topic of the press release disseminated by the Human Rights Society "Memorial" on October 27.

For example, the Federal Law "On Counteracting Terrorism" allows defining that the regime for holding a counterterrorist operation (CTO) can be introduced in any territory. The Law assumes no, even most approximate, restrictions as to the extent of this territory. Such territory for the CTO regime is defined by the commander of the operation, appointed by nobody knows whom (the Law keeps silent about it), who is accountable only to the FSB Director. Whether it will be one house or half of Russia - it is decided by this unknown "commander", the report marks.

However, as the "Memorial" writes, even possessing such enormous powers, officials "are constantly and regularly committing direct violations of legislation and use violence." Power agents enjoy their complete absence of control and impunity. The bodies of the prosecutor's office not only neglect violations of human rights, but often breach the rights themselves. It is quite obvious that these practices find support and protection among top Russian leaders," the report of the "Memorial" runs.

The document adds that during the three summer months of 2008, a total of 29 militants were killed and 75 injured in Ingushetia, and 33 and 70, accordingly, in Chechnya. The count of losses among power agents in these republics reached the level of 2006, when Basaev was active. The "Memorial" authors emphasize that total losses in small Ingushetia for the first time were higher that in Chechnya.

Spokesmen at Russian Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Internal Affairs assert that the militants' growth of activity in Ingushetia and Dagestan is allegedly caused by the fact that militants were squeezed out there from Chechnya. However, human rights activists mark that local underground movement has appeared in these republics, most probably, through the efforts of power agents themselves.

The report asserts that in the recent 18 months, when running special operations to detain persons suspected of participation in illegal armed formations (IAFs), power agents prefer to liquidate them in situ. In many cases eyewitnesses insist that the victims rendered no resistance, but the attackers did not even try to detain them. Quite often, power agents, in the eyes of eyewitnesses, plant firearms on the bodies of murdered persons. Subsequently, victims' relatives join IAFs for exercising blood feud on power agents.

Along with extrajudicial executions in Ingushetia, the "Memorial" has fixed, after May 2008, a new growth of kidnappings in Chechnya and Dagestan.

From 2008 summer on, another dangerous trend is revealed stronger and stronger. The persons and organizations who openly speak about violations of human rights in Northern Caucasus become objects of targeted attacks and prosecutions. Starting 2008 spring in Dagestan, a campaign is underway aimed at discrediting the human rights organization named "Mothers of Dagestan for Human Rights". The organization makes public cases of kidnappings, tortures and falsifications of criminal cases, demands that the authorities investigate them and punish those guilty. The "Chernovik" (Blueprint) was subjected to persecution.

In Chechnya, despite assertions of the leaders on achieving the universal stabilization, they still fail to completely suppress armed resistance. A new way to influence militants' relatives is to set militants' house on fire. The Human Rights Centre "Memorial" knows about 17 such arsons committed this summer.

Author: Anastasia Kirilenko, CK correspondent;

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