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The human rights situation in the Chechen Republic

Recommendation 1679 (2004)

Parliamentary Assembly
Assembly debate on 7 October 2004 (30th Sitting) (see Doc. 10283, report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Mr Bindig). Text adopted by the Assembly on 7 October 2004 (30th Sitting).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Resolution 1403 (2004) on the human rights situation in the Chechen Republic, recalling that the continuing massive violations in the Chechen Republic are by far the most serious human rights issue in any of the Council’s member states and that the credibility of the whole Organisation depends on its ability to convince the Russian Federation to meet its commitments in this respect.
2. Considering the insufficient progress in prosecuting perpetrators of human rights violations, the Assembly reiterates all the recommendations addressed to the Committee of Ministers in Recommendation 1600 (2003).
3. In view of the gravity of the human rights situation in the Chechen Republic, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers ensure that the discussion and debate on the human rights crisis in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation remain a regular item on the agenda of the Committee of Ministers and Ministers’ Deputies and that such discussions cover reports and the follow-up of the implementation of their own recommendations as well as those made to the authorities by all the other bodies and mechanisms of the Council of Europe, including the Secretary General, the Parliamentary Assembly, the Commissioner for Human Rights, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT), the Venice Commission and the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance.
4. The Assembly invites the Committee of Ministers, in particular:
i to urge the Government of the Russian Federation to take additional measures to eliminate the climate of impunity in the Chechen Republic and to ensure that anti-terrorism measures taken or planned conform to standards of human rights and humanitarian law, including the European Convention on Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions and the Council of Europe guidelines on human rights and the fight against terrorism:
a by vigorously investigating and prosecuting all violations of human rights, whatever the identity of the perpetrators;
b by sending a clear signal, from the highest level, to all security and law enforcement officials, enjoining them to respect human rights in the execution of their duties at all times, and stipulating that any violations will be subject to severe sanctions;
c by putting an end to reprisals against any person taken in relation to the filing of an application to the European Court of Human Rights, ensuring that all allegations of such crimes are investigated promptly, thoroughly and independently and that all persons found responsible for such crimes are brought to justice;
d by authorising systematic monitoring by national and international human rights organisations of violations committed by all sides and of the measures taken by the competent authorities to prosecute and punish perpetrators;
e by establishing as soon as possible an independent ombudsman for the Chechen Republic, who shall receive and process complaints about human rights violations in the region and continue the work of the former special presidential representative’s office, also making use of the files established by the latter, with the support of the Council of Europe experts;
f by fully co-operating with all Council of Europe mechanisms, in particular with the CPT;
g and by facilitating access to the region by the national and international news media;
ii to step up the Council of Europe’s co-operation with the Government of the Russian Federation, focusing on the development of the rule of law in the Chechen Republic and on concrete improvements of the human rights situation of the population of the Chechen Republic, in order to contribute to the implementation of the requests under sub-paragraph 4.i.;
iii to establish concrete benchmarks in order to measure the progress made towards meeting the recommendations in Resolution 1403 (2004) as well as a timetable for their implementation.