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Agency Caucasus: Filtration Camps And Dead End Judicial System

posted by eagle on January, 2006 as Genocide Crime

From: Eagle_wng  (Original Message) Sent: 1/23/2006 7:39 PM



Filtration Camps And Dead End Judicial System

Human rights violations and heavy violation of international law about war is a routine in Russia invaded Chechnya. Concentration camps in Urus Martan, Chernokozovo, PAP1, PAP5, Doykar-Oyl, Khan-Kala, Naur and Mozdok are the Russian crime centers where the innocent civilians are butchered. There is no way to search for crime evidence and whatever is available is get lost by the Russian military criminals. Judicial system in Chechnya is dead. The Chechen Administration have concentrated all of its efforts to resist against the invasion of Russian militarism and has no chance to trace the human rights violations against its citizens. It is too much optimism to expect any manners from the Russian military invaders of Chechnya. European Council draws attentions to the gap between the committed Russian military crimes and those reach to the attention of judicial system.

Russian Federation Prosecutor General have stated to European Council on 7 September 2001 that they have handled 393 violation cases against the civilian population of Chechnya. 100 of these cases were handled by military prosecutors and the remaining 293 cases were handled by regional prosecutors. 31 of the cases were approved by the military prosecutors and forwarded for trial. Regional prosecutors have only decided on 9 cases and forwarded them for trial. The case of Colonel Budonov was an exceptional show case to term him for 11 years. The objective was to save him with less term as possible. Other cases of homicide and violence have only termed very minimal punishment. (25)

10 out of 20 regional courts are open for trial in Chechnya. Conditions of war do not bring justice but rather more victimize the already victimized people. Russian military check points at every junction and extraordinary unsafe conditions do not permit the victims to reach the judicial system. Another important point is that if the crime-committer soldier's military service has ended, then the case against him becomes impossible. Say the NGO MEMORIAL sues a federal employee or soldier, the laws gives 6 months time to court. The sued person leaves Chechnya within that period and that automatically drops the case.

OSCE Assistance has arrived at North Chechnya after a lapse of some years on 15 June 2001. This group is guarded by GUIN, special forces of Russian Interior Ministry. Thus their movement in Chechnya is limited and they reached Grozny for once only. They were warned not to go to the South of Chechnya by Russian authorities. The local people cannot reach them and the Chechen population are not convinced with OSCE Group's good intentions and their power of discretion as this group was accompanied by a detachment of federal special forces.

The Refugee Situation

Half of the population of Chechnya have become refugees. Human rights and international agreements mean nothing to the Russian militarism. From point of human rights law and from humanitarian point, the case of the refugees is very serious.

Moscow based leading Human Rights Organization MEMORIAL, interviewing Chechen refugees in Ingushetia, had disclosed why the people leave their homes and lands. The refugees told that they left their homelands in order to save their lives after heavy bombardments caused so many human lost.

  MEMORIAL: "We have collected dozens of stories, but here we shall give only three episodes. Each of them is confirmed by several refugee stories in different camps.

On September 27 in the Staraya Sunja village, a suburb of Grozny, 4 attack planes delivered a missile and bomb blow at a block of flats. Two houses were destroyed, four were badly damaged. In the cellar of a garage, Batukayev street 6, at least 6 people were killed: The TEMIRSULTANOV family - Ramzan, aged 34, his mother Taus, aged 62, his daughter , aged 5 and their acquaintance, Hadjichanova (ALIEVA) Liza, aged 21, a pregnant woman with two children, aged 3 and 1,5. In the neighbouring house UMCHAEV Abdul was killed, aged 48. About 50 people got wounds of different heaviness. This is reported by 5 refugees.

In Grozny in the late September and early October, the federal aviation for several days tried to destroy the TV tower. As the result of numerous hitting 18 people were killed near the "56th area", among the wounded there were at least 10 children aged below seven. This is reported by 6 refugees…

On October 2-3, none of those objects suffered from bombardments. School #7 not far from one of them, was destroyed; the teacher Zakriev Said'Hassan who was in school at that time was killed. On October 6, in several hundreds meter from there, a bomb hit the cellar where people were hiding: at least 6 members of the KERIMOV family were killed: Hassan, aged 46, his wife Mariam, aged 26 and their son Zurab aged 2, Aldan, aged 39, his wife Birlant aged 36, their daughter Rita aged 13. In the cellar also refugees from Vedeno were killed: ALGIREEV Lechi, aged 43 and Dunaev Kazbek aged 37. In the cellars of their houses were also killed DjJANARALIEVA Aset, aged 32 and RASUYEV Abujazid aged 49. GAITAJEVA Mariam, aged 42 was killed by a burst of machine-gun fire in the street, In school #1 the teacher KATAEVA Luisa, aged 26, was killed. BAPAEV Sultan aged 52 and HAMZATOV Akhmed aged 47, keepers of a grain farm, were killed by a bomb stroke at an elevator with grain. This is reported by nine refugees.

According to the refugees, the hospitals are overcrowded with the wounded and cannot work efficiently: for instance, Hospital No.9 in Grozny is left without electricity, the current is provided by a generator. There is no gas, consequently no heating. There is a sharp lack of medicines. The same can be said about any hospital. The hospital in the Zavodskoi district is closed. (26)

Refugees endured 3 winters. Theye were hungry and exposed to unsafe conditions. They got sick and were without medicine. Visiting PACE delegation in leadership of Lord Judd and Rudolf Bindig on 15 January 2001 to Znamenskoe refugee camp were to hear Zora Tatayeva that 40 % of the refugees were ill and most of them were tuberculosis. (27)

On 25 March 2001 Ingushetia Emergencies Ministry stated that Russia have stopped its subsidies and international help organizations will function no more. It meant no warm meal. Bread distribution stopped on 2 April. Power and gas supply are also cut as of 14 April to complete the conditions arranged to continue for two months.

Ingushetia refugee service statistics mentions 308.000 refugees have sheltered to Ingushetia since the beginning of the war and they stay at Bart, Sputnik, Karabulak, Alina, Aki-Yurt and Bela refugee camps. Other refugees have sheltered independently or boarding with their relatives. (28)

As of 5 October 2000 there were 14 thousand refugees in North Ossetia, Dagestan and in Kabardino-Balkaria. 7.000 in Georgia, 10.000 in Azerbaijan, 10.000 in Kazakhstan, one thousand in Ukraine and 3.000 in Turkey and at Europe. Others are in Poland and in Czech

Republic and in various European countries. Over one thousand refugees are scattered in various cities of Turkey. Refugee camps in Fenerbahce, Umraniye and Beykoz districts of Istanbul shelters a total of 450 refugees.

After a while, refugees felt the pressure to return to their homeland. Russian Government considered the Chechen refugees as an obstacle to their international message "Russian militarism have successfully completed its anti-terror operation in Chechnya. Everything is normal so the refugees can come back to their homeland." Out of this consideration, Russian Government started to apply pressure on refugees by different methods. Blocking of the food distribution in Ingushetia and health service of international organizations are among the pressure mechanisms of the Russian Government.

  Human Rights Watch, Chechen Refugees Pressured to Return: Beginning last week, thousands of people from the towns of Sernovodsk, Assinovskaya, and Achkoi Martan -- in the flatlands of Russian-controlled northern Chechnya - were told to prepare to return, and were removed from government ration lists. Yet many people told Human Rights Watch that they fear bombardment and undisciplined conduct by Russian soldiers in their towns. They also lack the materials to repair homes damaged by war. In some cases, their homes have also been thoroughly looted. "To forcibly repatriate people back to a war zone is a serious violation of their rights," said Holly Cartner, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch's Europe and Central Asia division. "The displaced people in Ingushetia must be allowed to make their own decisions about going home."

Asked why camp administrators were discontinuing the food rations of some displaced persons, Khuchbarov, whose camp currently houses about 9,000 people, told Human Rights Watch, "Why should we continue to feed them? If we continue to feed them, they'll never leave. And they could have left a long time ago. . .because they have nothing to fear." (30)

One of the important violations of the most essential human rights is the forced deportation of people from their homeland. Lives are under threat and people had to save their lives by becoming refugees. Half of the population of a nation have become refugees but only a marginal number of them has the official refugee status. This means that United Nations High Commission for Refugees can give no help to these people. It also means that these obstacles are intentionally placed in front of these people.

"You will announce that what you are doing is 'anti-terror operation' and make the half of the population refugees and violate the rights of people in every possible manner within the conditions of war," this is what Russia is doing.

Heavy bombardment of Chechen civilian settlements, destruction of houses, schools and hospitals have forced the population to move to more safe places at the neighbouring countries. United Nations Human Rights Committee Reports that "Hospitals, schools and other civilian housing has been destroyed by the Russian militarians. Numerous civilians are killed and others had to leave because of absence of shelter." (31)

Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions, Art 17: (Prohibition of forced movement of civilians), says that Civilians shall not be compelled to leave their own territory for reasons connected with the conflict. (32)

According to article 12 of international civil and political rights agreement everybody has a right of freedom to choose where he likes to live in any part of country within its rule and regulations.

Article 13 of international human rights decleration clearly expresses that "all human beings have a right of freedom to setle and travel in a territory of any country"

International community and organizations' reach to Chechen refugees is a puzzling sensitivity. UN Refugees High Commission helps to Ingushetia refugees only food ant other humanitarian aids. But the real mission of the UN Refugees High Commission is to take the necessary steps for safety and security of the refugees.

Troubles inside of Russia

Russia declares Chechens as their own citizens but at the same time is placing travel restrictions on them to moving areas of exiled Chechens and implementation of their settlement in metropolitan places such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Stavropol and Krosnadar, puts them in trouble because they are treated as a guilty by Russian authorities.

In 1996 a decision was taken by Mayor of Moscow, which was stating that all of the Russian citizens who do live in Moscow without any residential permit will be sent back to their original place they came from. In May 1997 Mayor have ordered to throw out all of the refugees from Moscow and whoever replaced themselves within the country. This decision caused lots of trouble and in the end Chechens were the ones to lose.

Those refugees who have no residential permit (Propiska) were not able to get benefit of right to work and free medical aids. On the other hand (Propiska) was a barrier before the political and civil rights such as, to vote, to buy real estate and establish a family.
It is highly difficult to describe the level of the troubles and problems, which faced by those people who escaped from war and lost their official papers for their identities during the war.

Putin says that "Any resident of Chechnya or anyone, who says that he is Chechen, has all the rights of any citizen of the Russian Federation." (33) But his words are invalid in consideration of the troubles that face the Chechen People.

Obstacles barring the press

Urus Martan, Chernokozovo, PAP1, PAP5, Doykar-Oyl, Khan-Kala, Naur and Mozdok concentration camps were the centres of Russian military atrocities. Independent media and international observers were unable to reach to these places and facts.

Russian Federation have well studied the 1994-1996 War conditions and have taken all care to keep the press away from the war front as of the beginning of the second Russian invasion of Chechnya in year 1999. Press Centre of the Russian main military base in Khan-Kala completely depends on orders of the Russian military Press Officer. Journalists are unable to move in freedom. They are isolated.

  The Norwegian Helsinki Committee - Forgotten Terror: Chechnya October 2001: One of the journalists who has visited Chechnya most frequently and has written most extensively on Chechnya is Anna Politkovskaya of the Moscow paper Novaya Gazeta. The NHC visited her in her Moscow flat on 29 September. At the time she was staying in her home, afraid to leave her flat after Novaya Gazeta's head editor had received threats directed against Politkovskaya. On 20 September the head editor was invited to a meeting with the GRU, the military intelligence service, and informed that Politkovskaya should remain indoors in the interest of her own safety and that the paper could suffer from its connections with her.

According to Politkovskaya, the reasons for what she took to be threats against her person, were related to her work in Chechnya during September 2001. On 17 September a helicopter crashed in Grozny, killing the crew and a number of higher officers that were passengers on the fatal flight. 13 people died in the crash. Politkovskaya was in Grozny at the time and gave NHC the following account of the events:

On 17 September Grozny was blocked and there were checkpoints and posts everywhere. People had to stay where they were, it was almost impossible to move around the town because of the strict control. The soldiers often stop soldiers from other units and check them -- there is a lot of suspicion around. At 11.00 the controls became even more vigilant, there were rumours that something was about to happen. At the time I was in the building of the local administration. Only one of the officials working there had made it to work through all the military posts. There were two generals there. One of them, Postnjakov, told me that they had been in Chechnya for two weeks in order to collect information about human rights abuses committed by the federal forces in Chechnya. He showed me a lot of documents and tapes that contained their findings. The local official asked them to stay on in Grozny, but general Postnjakov declined, saying he had a meeting with Putin tomorrow. Postnjakov headed a commission consisting of himself, the other general and eight colonels. They left the building and a helicopter picked them up outside. The helicopter took off, but a short time afterwards it crashed in central Grozny. The official version is that it was shot down by a bojevik with a stinger somewhere in central Grozny, but I consider that an impossibility given the strict military control in the town that day. Anyway, the bojeviks are seldom active during the day, usually they attack after dark. Because the whole commission and its material was destroyed, my conclusion is that the helicopter was brought down by federal units that were opposed to work of the commission. I have noted that it was the GRU that contacted my editor.

Anna Politkovskaja left Russia in early October, as there was no signal of a change of opinion from the GRU or the authorities. Whatever really happened with the helicopter in Grozny on 17 September, it is in violation of all the human rights obligations of the Russian Federation that journalists and editors should receive threats from the state for publishing their version of the events. However, what was perhaps most striking about the incident on our return to Moscow 6 October was the seemingly general lack of interest in the dramatic situation and forced departure of one of the most well-known journalists in Russia. (34)

Sweep Operations

It is widely known that in the military operations, which started in 1999, Russian Federal Forces destroyed many civilian settlements. However, in response to the guerrilla tactics adapted by the Chechens, they in the following months solely targeted civilian population who had not participated in the armed conflict. Russia breached each and every international treaty she had signed.

Today, the war in Chechnya is not being fought by two equal adversaries. Far from it, it is a war waged by a massive army equipped with heavy weaponry for the obliteration of civilian population. Unable to response effectively to the hit and run tactics of the Chechen fighters, Russians resorted to acts of vengeance against the civilians.

The so called sweeping operations conducted to coerce the Chechen fighters to surrender became the general character of the war Russia was pursuing. It would be fair to say that no village in Chechnya was left untouched by these operations. Some settlements would be encircled for two to fifteen days, houses would be raided and ransacked, and extra-judicial executions would be carried out by the Federal Forces. Arrests were made without any justification and large numbers of people were subjected to torture in filtration camps.

One of the most critical results of these routine arbitrary detentions was the existence of civilians who had been tortured and killed in unknown locations. In Chechnya, it has come to be perceived as normal for ordinary people to disappear. The disappearances would take place either during the sweeping operations or at the police checkpoints, which were set up on the roads leading in and out of every city.

Many people, who were detained at these checkpoints or arrested during the sweeping operations, have not been heard from ever since. According to the Chechen sources there are nearly ten thousands people whose fate and whereabouts are unknown.

Human Rights Organisations have obtained and recorded countless evidences as to the nature of these sweeping operations:

- From 30 December 2001 to 3 January 2002, Tsotsin-Yurt was the scene of a sweep, which lasted six days and resulted in five dead and six disappeared. (Russian Human Rights Organization MEMORIAL, 16 January 2002)

- 3-7 January 2002, sweep in Argun, 2 dead and 2 disappeared. According to military sources, 12 combatants were also killed, but Memorial could not check this information. (MEMORIAL, 23 January 2002)

- On 11 January 2002, sweep operations started in the villages near Shatoy. 6 people, including a pregnant woman, were killed while they were riding in car from Shatoy to Nokhtchi- Keloï. (MEMORIAL, 23 January 2002)

- From 14 to 25 January 2002, sweep in Bachi-Yurt. On the 15, four persons were arrested and two of them were killed, among whom an old man. After the disappearance of three men, two bodies were found outside the village on 29 January. As for the third man, there are still no news of him. (MEMORIAL)

- 17 January, sweep in Goïskoe (region of Ourous-Martan), 2 persons killed. (MEMORIAL)

- 20 January 2002, sweep of the village of Alleroy. The bodies of four young men who had been arrested by the federal forces were found near a car after the Russian soldiers left. They were all dressed in camouflage clothes. All the bodies bore marks of torture: skin torn off, amputated fingers, severed skin, burns (MEMORIAL)

- 8-10 February 2002, sweep in the village of Gikalovskyi. 5 men were arrested, 3 were taken to Goryatchevosk, one was killed. (MEMORIAL)

- 12-13 February 2002, sweep in Tsotsin-Yurt. 2 dead: one man and one woman killed at night in an artillery fire. (MEMORIAL)

- 12-20 February 2002, sweep in Starye-Atagui. The first accounts report 7 dead. A 82 year old man was killed during this operation. Among the bodies found, some were unrecognizable, several were burnt. All the bodies were naked and bore marks of torture. At least five disappeared persons. (Memorial) (MEMORIAL)

- During the operation in Starye-Atagui, people were also killed in Tchiri-Yurt, a neighboring village. On 12 February in early afternoon, soldiers dropped by a helicopter arrested and shot two cab drivers originating from Duba-Yurt, as the scene was witnessed by many people present in the market. (MEMORIAL)

- On 19 February, sweep in Gekhi, 12 disappeared. (Radio Svoboda, 26 February 2002)

- According to the information of the united group of the federal troops in Chechnya, in the first days of March 2002, some thirty sweep operations were carried out in Grozny, Goudermes, Argun and other villages located in the mountainous regions in southern and eastern Chechnya. (Radio Svoboda, 6 March 2002)

- On 1 March 2002, sweep in the region of Grozny (Sovkhoze "60th anniversary of October"), 19 persons arrested. There are no news of two of them. (MEMORIAL, 8 March 2002)

- Early March, sweep in Tsotsin-Yurt, one dead, one disappeared. (Call of the inhabitants of Tsotsin-Yurt, 2 March 2002)

- 2-4 March, sweep in Argun, four young men were arrested and taken away on 2 March. Their bodies were found on 4 March in the courtyard of Argun's military command. (MEMORIAL, 14 March 2002)

- 6-11 March 2002, sweep in Starye-Atagui, 15 men were arrested, and after the federal troops left, 7 burnt bodies were found, several of them could be identified as some of the 15 men previously arrested. This has been the 22nd sweep operation in Starye-Atagui since the beginning of the second Russian campaign in Chechnya. (MEMORIAL, 13 March 2002)

- On 10 March 2002, a "reprisal" operation was carried out by representatives of the federal forces in the village of Znamenskoe, three brothers were taken away. (Chechenpress, 11 March 2002)

- With all above mentioned, several sweep operations were caried out in Argun (Mid-January), Stariye-Atagi (28 January- 3 February), Goïskoe (31 January), Duba-Yurt (17-18 February). Kurçaloy (4 March). Prigorodnoe (14 March), Possiolok (15 March), and Serjen-Yurt (18 March) (MEMORIAL and other Russian sources)

Taking into account only the records of the MEMORIAL, the most significant Russian human rights organizaton, it shows that 27 sweep operations were caried out just in 11 weeks, which means over two operations a week on the Republic's territory. These records of MEMORIAL are far from being exhaustive in demonstrating the deterrent and punitive operations over civil population in Chechnya.


MEMORIAL- "Mopping Up" Operations in the Village of Tsotsin-Yurt: Around 9 o'clock on February 12, the residents of the village of Tsotsin-Yurt in the Kurchaloevsky Region noticed that the village was being blockaded by armored vehicles. A column of federal forces was moving along the northwestern edge of the village, and next to it a tank moved along the boundary that had been plowed on February 11. Suddenly there was an explosion - two soldiers were killed and three were wounded. (The lieutenant general overseeing the "mopping up" operation informed T. Dikaev, the head of the administration of Tsotsin-Yurt, about this incident.)

The soldiers opened fire with automatic weapons; the shooting lasted for half an hour. Then the "mopping up" operation began. In the course of the special operation, the representatives of the federal forces conducted themselves rudely, engaging in theft and extortion.

On the northwest edge of the town stand three houses belonging to the Davletkuraev family; 16 young children reside in these houses. Around 21.00 the shelling began: several missiles or mines were directed at the outlying home. At that very moment, Zareta, her two-year old son, and Lyuba Davletskuraeva were in the house. All three of them were wounded almost immediately by the artillery fire. Lyuba began to call for help and her brother-in-law Saidali can running toward her from the middle building. Just as he reached Lyuba, there was another explosion and Saidali was killed on the spot. Half his head was blown off. Lyuba suffered a second wound from this same explosion.

Zareta dashed to the middle building, but the soldiers redirected their fire at it and then at the third building. The Davletkuraevs then decided to make their way across to the neighbors' house, which was located on the other side of the street. Having made it over to a safe place, they heard Lyuba's cries - she had managed to crawl to the middle building and was calling for help. Two men formed a stretcher and managed to carry L. Davletkuraeva away from the shooting, but they weren't able to save her. She died before regaining consciousness. (36)

MEMORIAL, Myths and Truth about Tsotsin-Yurt: On the outskirts of the village on ul. Stepnaya, soldiers detained several men at around 7.45. Idris Zakriev (born 1965) was detained in his own home without any explanation. At that moment his mother, Marzhan Zakrieva, his wife Laila and four children were also at home. According to his mother and wife, they heard how the soldiers, bursting in on him in the courtyard, received an order by walkie-talkie to take away four people from the four outlying buildings. Idris Zakriev tried to show the soldiers his passport. "Put away the document!" said the soldier, after which they led Idris out of the courtyard. Neighbors saw how they tied his hands on the street, rolled his clothes up over his face and pushed him into a BTR on which the number A-611 was written. The soldiers pushed his mother, who was trying to prevent them from taking away her son, into the basement and threatened to toss a grenade in after her. They ordered his wife not to move, pointing their guns at the children. (37)

To Be Continued:

Written by: Fehim Ta‏tekin - Mustafa ضzkaya 

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