Olga Belova, M.A. in the Theory and Practice of Human Rights, University of Essex (United Kingdom)

The Russian Army launched military operations in Chechnya in September 1999 in response to the Chechen invasion in the Dagestan Republic, part of the Russian Federation, which aimed to establish Sharia law and Islamic rule there. First declared as an anti-terrorist operation, the conflict evolved into a fully-fledged armed conflict that caused heavy losses among civilian population, indiscriminate bombings and massive human rights violations committed by the Russian soldiers. Being internal in its character the conflict became a focus of international attention as Russia breached its international commitments.

This article intends to discuss the legal obligations that Russia undertakes as a member of the Council of Europe with respect to military operations in Chechnya and responses of this body to its violations. The reason for studying this international organisation is because the Council of Europe is considered to be the most effective legal mechanism for human rights protection and it regionally applies to Russia.

First, Russias obligations that apply to the Chechen conflict will be explained. Their legal character will be noted. Second, concrete moves undertaken by the Council of Europe to make Russia comply with its standards will be examined. Finally, an attempt will be made to assess the effectiveness of these measures in terms of the Russian response.

Russias Legal Obligations in the Council of Europe

The Council of Europe (hereafter CoE) is the main European regional organisation for the protection of human rights; its major system is based on an international agreement, the 1950 European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms1 (ECHR). Russia became a full member of the CoE in February 1996. The procedure of its accession was preceded by a visit of four experts who gave their opinion on Russian admissibility. According to their findings, Russia was starting its way to democracy but the principle of rule of law2 remained more of theory than practice. Conditions of pre-trial detention centres were equal to torture3, there were serious violations relating to refugees and forced migrants; to freedom of movement and the right to choice of place of residence; to human rights in the armed forces; in the observance of labour, economic and social rights4. Despite this critical expert comment Russia was accepted into membership. European parliamentarians who spoke in favour of Russias accession concentrated on European security and the future of the project of European unity, rather than on the protection of human rights in Russia5. Considerable importance was given to the progress achieved in Russia towards respect for the rule of law, to its participation in various activities of the CoE since 1992, and to Russias willingness to ensure the protection of human rights within the CoE framework in the near future.

Upon accession Russia undertook a range of commitments to conform to fundamental principles of the CoE: promotion of democracy, rule of law and human rights.6 In addition to these obligations, Russia also freely entered into specific commitments on issues related to the basic principles of the Council of Europe during examination of their request for membership. The main commitments undertaken in contacts with the Committee of Ministers, and in particular the Parliamentary Assembly, are explicitly referred to in the relevant Opinions adopted by the Assembly to which reference is, in turn, often made by the Committee of Ministers when it invites States to become members of the Council of Europe7. In the case of Russia, these commitments and undertakings were encapsulated in Opinion No. 1938, some of which in relation to the present conflict in Chechnya9.

Russia also accepted the principle proclaimed by the CoE at the 1992 Third Strasbourg Conference that human rights are no longer the exclusive province of States. The infringement of human rights entails an actual international duty of intervention10. Furthermore, Article 3 of the Statute of the CoE provides that every member of the Council of Europe must accept the principles of the rule of law and the enjoyment by all persons within its jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and collaborate sincerely and effectively in the realisation of the aim of the Council, which are the promotion of democracy, rule of law and human rights.

Russia ratified the ECHR in 1998. This document offers a legal protection to the fundamental internationally recognised human rights, such as the right to life, to liberty and security of a person, freedom from torture, a range of civil and political rights. Under Article 15 some of the provisions can be derogated from in case of state of emergency, except for basic rights: freedom from torture (Article 3), from slavery (Article 4(1)), and prohibition of punishment without law (Article 7). However, as the Russian government did not seek derogation, it is liable for human rights violations committed in this conflict under all the provisions of the Convention without exception.

Article 1 requires the Parties to secure [these rights] to everyone within their jurisdiction, while Article 13 requires the state to provide an effective remedy before a national authority for everyone whose rights are violated.

By ratifying Protocol 4 to the Convention in 1998, Russia undertook an obligation to respect freedom of movement, guaranteed by Article 211. Equally important, Russias adherence to Article 34 allowed the European Court on Human Rights to receive and consider individual petitions concerning alleged violations of the ECHR. The Courts decisions are legally binding and their enforcement is monitored by the Committee of Ministers (Article 46). Concerning Russia, the Court registered in 1999, 972 applications against Russia. So far, out of 12 cases that have been decided by the Court, 7 have been declared inadmissible, 4 partly admissible and 1 was struck off the list. Article 33 provides for inter-state complaints, another way to hold a state accountable for human rights abuses.

Another important European instrument relevant to this discussion is the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment12. The Convention does not only outlaws torture and related practices but also establishes a monitoring mechanism that is led by the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (Article 1). The Committees mandate is to conduct on-site visits to specific countries to collect information on places of detention, prepare reports, and suggest measures on improving the protection of persons deprived of their liberty (Articles 7, 8, 10).

Thus, the Council of Europe system provides for treaties that protect fundamental human rights, establishes individual complaints procedure and international court for their consideration, and offers an effective enforcement mechanism for the implementation of the Courts legally binding decisions13.

Responses of the Council of Europe to human rights violations by Russia

PACE reaction

The reaction of the Council to systematic denial of human rights in Chechnya has been growing stronger as the conflict developed reaching its peak at PACE spring session 1999.

At its autumn session Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (hereafter PACE) adopted Resolution 1201 The Conflict in Chechnya in which it condemned terrorist actions, called for the cease-fire and opening of negotiations without mentioning human rights violations by the Russian government14. The rather mild language of this resolution was justified, as the extent of human rights violations was not known in the early stage of the invasion. As part of the monitoring exercise concerning the implementation of this Resolution the ad hoc Committee of the Bureau paid a visit to Russia from 16 to 20 January 2000. The delegation met officials both in Moscow and Grozny, talked to refugees and locals, visited Chernokosovo detention center and refugee camps in Ingushetia and Chechnya. This visit made a deep impression on parliamentarians. Lord Russel Jonston referred to the Chechen regime as criminal in his remarks. He spoke of the large number of undesirable characteristics of the Maskhadov regime, such as increased crime, drug addiction and kidnappings. He even reproached the Kremlin for allowing a truly criminal state to evolve in 1994-1999. However, the report condemned gross violations human rights and humanitarian law by Russian forces15.

The PACE examined this report at its winter session in 2000, where the discussion resulted in the adoption of Resolution 1444. It reiterated the requirement to set a cease-fire, start negotiations with Chechens without preconditions and allow international investigation into human rights violations16. However, Lord Judd, author of the report, spoke out against immediate sanctions to Russia noting Russias good will to co-operate with the CoE and take into account its proposals. Parliamentarians voted against suspending Russias membership in the CoE, but the condition was set that in case considerable progress was not demonstrated until the 31 of May, PACE would recommend to strip Russia of its voting rights.

Thus, the spring session of the PACE was crucial. Lord Judd, Rapporteur of the Political Affairs Committee, presented a report on the Conflict in Chechnya Implementation by Russia of Recommendation 1444 (2000), which was highly critical of Russias actions. It described the situation in Chechnya as terrible17, mentioning, however, some positive steps taken by Russia in compliance with Res. 1444 (see section on Russias reactions).

Outraged at a blatant denial of fundamental human rights by Russia PACE adopted Resolution 1456 on depriving the Russian Federation of its voting rights. The decision was based on Article 8 of the Statute: "Any member of the Council of Europe which has seriously violated Article 3 may be suspended from its rights of representation and requested by the Committee of Ministers to withdraw"18. Suspension of voting right did not mean the withdrawal of Russian from CoE, Russia was still a member of the CoE but it now was unable to take part in its decision-making process in the Parliamentary Assembly.

The PACE also called the participating states to file inter-state complaints against Russia under Article 33 of the ECHR19. None of the states has resorted to this procedure so far, as this unfriendly act could adversely affect their diplomatic relations.

Russias suspension was a drastic measure applied before only to Greece and Turkey, and caused an understandably negative Russian reaction.

It was argued that expulsion of Russia from the CoE would not put necessary pressure on the Russian government, except for provoking the severance of relations and satisfaction of isolationist forces, which would see it as their victory. The Chechen President Maskhadov said that "the West's position enables Russia to continue hostilities against Chechnya20. According to the Russian Human Rights Commissioner Oleg Mironov PACE's move to suspend Russia was an "improper" approach because it would create a new 'iron curtain' between Russia and Europe"21. Statements of human rights activist Sergei Kovalev were in stark contrast with the official line. At the winter PACE session he described the Russian Foreign Minister Ivanovs explanations as a study in lies. He was also the only member of the Russian delegation who voted for the suspension of Russia from the PACE at the spring session, saying it was "useful not only for the international community as a whole but for Russia as well.

In fact it may be argued that PACE lost patience too quickly. It expressed its serious concern about the situation in January for the first time and only 3 months later, without having exhausted all possible ways of swaying Russias position, branded the sword of suspension of voting rights.

PACE decision to suspend the Russian membership manifested a disagreement between the legislative and the executive powers of the CoE. The Committee of Ministers did not support this recommendation. In their reply to PACE they noted enormous progress made by Russian authorities towards the settlement of the conflict. Parliamentarians were deeply disappointed by this attitude. This disagreement shows different perceptions of gravity of violations by Russia of its commitments and the character of measures that should be taken to make Russia improve its conduct. This disagreement may be seen not only on the level of CoE, but also within European states. Putin received royal reception in a number of them, especially in Britain, from where came his harshest critique, Lord Judd.

Later in time, the main concerns expressed by parliamentarians at the summer session were continuing military operations, the fate of refugees and the disappeared. During this session PACE showed more inclined towards stopping to condemn but also started a constructive dialogue and provided concrete assistance. There were even proposals to restore Russias voting rights in September, because it was essential to restore the dialogue with the authorities, support them and provide assistance to civilians. Some deputies criticised Putins decision to introduce direct presidential rule in Chechnya but Dim, who had just visited Russia said that it was a lawful practice in exceptional situations, provided even in the French Constitution22.

Already in September 200023, PACE adopted a less harsh stance towards Russia, noting the good progress made and reiterating its determination to work with the competent Russian authorities. In the last paragraph of the resolution, PACE declares that it intends to re-assess at its January 2001 session the progress made and hopes that it will be proved sufficiently convincing for the Russian delegation to enjoy its full rights.

In January 2001, the voting rights of the delegates of the Russian Federation to the PACE were restored -the Russian delegation was able to resume their active participation in the CoE decision-making.

Following the restoration of the Russian delegations voting rights, a joint working group on Chechnya was established24. It consisted of representatives of PACE and the Russian State Duma and aimed at assessing the human rights situation in Chechnya and progress on systematic, credible and exhaustive criminal prosecutions of human rights violations, in particular crimes committed by members of the federal forces against the civilian population25. Other objectives were to monitor progress on the freedom of movement for the civilian population and the media in the Chechen Republic, the stopping of illegal practices at checkpoints, the restoration of an effective judiciary and the acceleration of the issue of identity documents as well as the state of investigation of alleged mass killings and mass graves as well as the fate of all missing persons26. The first meeting of the Group took place in Moscow in late March 2001, and focused on the human rights situation in Chechnya. The Group presented a list of 329 cases of crimes against the local population, 64 of which could be related to servicemen27. The Group scheduled its next meetings for June and October 2001 and discuss specific recommendations on the political solution of the conflict to the highest Russian authorities and the humanitarian situation in the Chechen Republic respectively28.

The Committee of Ministers and other bodies of the Council of Europe

The Committee of Ministers and other bodies of the Council of Europe were less categorical than PACE and, from the inception of the second armed conflict, adopted a more lenient stance towards the Russian Federation.

At the Committee of Ministers May 2000 session, this latter did not support Recommendation 1456, noting that steps were being taken by Russia towards meeting concerns of the Council of Europe and the contribution both by the Council of Europe and Russia to the solution of the Chechen problem could be made only with Russia playing her full part. Mr Cowen, the chairman of the Committee remained a strong supporter of Russias presence in the CoE29.

Rather than just condemning Russia, the Committee of Ministers suggested a programme of assistance to the restoration of rule of law in their January 2000 Statutory Report on activities30. Assistance was conceived in form of sending consultative experts to work in the Office of the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for ensuring human and civil rights and freedoms in the Chechen Republic.

The dialogue with the Russian Federation was also possible thanks to the Secretary-General. He invoked his powers under Article 52 of the ECHR to ask explanations from member-states and maintained an ongoing correspondence with Foreign Minister Ivanov as to the Chechen conflict31. This correspondence proved to be quite unfruitful. The Secretary General sent Ivanov several requests for specific information about any measures to ensure that the Convention standards (right to life, fair trial, freedom of movement, etc.) are implemented in Chechnya in the light of the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. The responses given by the Russian side were not considered satisfactory under Article 52 of the Convention because they were only affirmations of general nature. Serious questions of substance relating to the fulfilment by the Russian Federation of its legal obligations32 failed to be addressed.

Other responses of the Council of Europe included visits by Mr Gil-Robles, the Human Rights Commissioner, in November 1999, February 2000 and March 2001. He made a number of recommendations as to how to facilitate the dialogue between the Russian and Chechen authorities. One of them, concerning the setting-up of a Human Rights Office in Chechnya was followed by the decision of Russian President Putin to appoint his Special Representative for Human Rights.33 Three reports were produced following the visits of the Human Rights Commissioner, all of them documenting the steps undertaken by Russia to comply with human rights standards but at the same time pinpointing at the shortcomings34.

The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture also paid three visits to the North Caucasus in March, April 2000 and March 2001. They examined the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in detention centres in Chechnya, North Ossetia and the Stavropol region and held discussions with high ranked personalities. One of their reports indicated that many persons were physically ill-treated there but also took into account the extremely difficult and perilous circumstances faced by the Russian authorities35. A change for better detaining conditions in Chernokozovo centre was noted. Criticism coming from other delegations that visited Chechnya was much harsher. Although according to Article 11 of the ECPT the Committees findings are confidential, the Russian authorities made this text public, which was a welcome move, as was the good co-operation provided during the delegations visit36.

Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the International Reactions

The most effective measure undertaken by the CoE in response to the Chechen crisis was the PACE attempt to suspend Russias membership. As a result the Russian government took some action to remedy the situation.

The National Public Commission for Investigating Crimes and Monitoring Human Rights in the North Caucasus under the chairmanship of the former Minister of Justice, Mr Krascheninnikov, was set up in April 2000. This private initiative received the support of President Putin. The commissions mandate was to investigate the atrocities of both wars and, indeed, it has initiated up to 129 investigations against army personnel. However, the vast majority of cases was related to bullying in the army and other such offences, and not to the core issue: human rights violations against civilians37.

A Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for Human Rights in Chechnya, Mr. Vladimir Kalamanov, was appointed. He announced that the Kremlin was prepared to allow the Council to base two (in fact there were three) CoE experts in Chechnya. This initiative was a concrete measure aimed at ensuring the CoE presence in the zone of conflict, and was accepted by the Russian party. It clearly marked a shift from the Kremlin's original position, which ruled out any international involvement in the Chechen crisis38.

Another watchdog set up by the Russian side in January 2000 was the State Duma Intergroup Commission on Normalisation of the Political and Economic Situation and on Protection of Human Rights in the Chechen Republic, headed by Koshman Nikolai. Its task was to prepare suggestions on the state and local government organs in Chechnya39 as well as work on the normal functioning of services in the region supply of electricity, functioning of railways and agriculture, construction of civil buildings. However, the reconstruction of schools and hospitals stopped, as well as of water purifying equipment was prevented by lack of federal funding40, but it must be noted that on the whole the slack work of this organ was criticised by both Russians and Chechens.

Regional seminars were held under the auspices of the CoE, in Pyatigorsk (27-28 April 2000) on federalism, as well as the planned seminar in Vladikavkaz on democracy, rule of law and human rights (30-31 May 2000)41.

The announcement by Putin of a political plan for Chechnya dealing with the creation of a system of authority in the republic 42 can be seen as a direct consequence of CoE pressure as it happened one day after the PACE suspended Russia's voting rights. Such action may augur a settlement to the conflict. Elections of a Chechen Duma representative were also scheduled for 20 August 200043, in which Aslanbek Aslakhanov was elected.

Under pressure exerted at the spring session Moscow also declared that it was considering asking the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe for humanitarian assistance in Chechnya and providing humanitarian aid in co-operation with international humanitarian organisations44. The ability of the Assistance Group to perform humanitarian tasks considerably decreased since their withdrawal from the region in December 1998 due to security reasons. But from its temporary office in Moscow they were able to organise the provision of clothes for 100 Chechen children, and a stay for other 100 in a rehabilitation Centre in Kabardino-Balkaria.

All these measures were noted by the Committee of Ministers in its statement adopted at May 2000 session, that did not support the Russias suspension.

Measures eventually taken by CoE have been largely ineffectual until the CoE Parliamentary Assembly voted for the suspension of Russias membership from CoE. This concrete measure resulted in a number of positive steps undertaken by Moscow to alleviate refugees fate and investigate into human rights violations. However, the main requirement advanced by CoE to set a cease-fire and open talks with Chechen authorities has not been met.

As a matter of fact, the Council of Europe was not successful in getting the Russian government to start negotiations with the Chechen President Moskhadov or his representatives. The claim was it was useless to negotiate with Moskhadov as he did not control the country and it would allow the fighters to regroup and strengthen. The Russian government has been engaged in talks with pro-Russian Chechen leaders on a political settlement of the conflict, despite the Chechen President readiness for peace talks. The CoE did not exclude the possibility of negotiating with them, although it often noted that Moskhadov was a legitimately elected President45.

General assessment of the works done by the Council of Europe

Military response of the Russian authorities to Chechen terrorist activities has been manifestly disproportionate and characterised by a systematic violation of Russias commitments as a member of the Council of Europe. For several weeks the international community essentially ignored the conflict, did nothing to voice explicitly and unambiguously its indignation with atrocities, its silence on Chechnya was deafening46. When it did, it did it too much, unthoughtfully. Here should be skilful diplomacy, patience and prudence. As Rosenne states: international law is a comprehensive legal system which, notwithstanding its voluntaristic basis, operates in the political environment, in which the principal actors are sovereign independent States.47 Hence caution is required when pointing the finger at a State violating human rights provisions that it previously accepted.

In my opinion, pressuring a former super-power may prove difficult and should be careful, in order to prevent the rise to nationalistic and conservative tendencies in the country. Naturally, the primary duty to ensure compliance with international human rights norms is on Russia. But when a democratising country does not have a capacity or will to do so, the international community can help bridge the gap between international standards and the enforcement of domestic law. The Council of Europe, apart from providing parties with legal experts and assistance, could also use judicial procedures to ensure that the commitments entered into by Russia are fulfilled.

It must be said that it is difficult to expect a balanced and reasonable approach on the part of the international community. During the last conflicts it proved unable to offer viable solutions let alone workable programs. It needs to work a lot in this direction. These problems are nonetheless understandable, for the international community is sometimes driven by conflicting interests. For example, the initiative by PACE to suspend Russia from membership was not supported by the CoE executive organ the Committee of Ministers. PACE signalled to Russia that its attitude was intolerable whereas the Committee of Ministers did not react in this fashion.

With regard to Russia the West has two ways of acting, short-term and long-term oriented. The first is forced measures, the second persuasion and provision of assistance. Almost nobody in the West wants to use force, because they understand it will jeopardise other important priorities of the euroatlantic commonwealth, if Russia, as a participant to the creation of collective security in Europe, will be isolated form international organisations48.

There are no reasons to expect that threats will bring necessary results. On the contrary, Russias exclusion form international organisations (or suspension of treaties and agreements) will only weaken the influence of the international community on Russia. Indeed, most people agree that it would be a historic error to [lock] Russia out of European affairs49. What is more, it shuts the door to dialogue, which is so important to persuade Russia to respect its international obligations. As the PACE itself declared: the Assembly recognised that history will judge the Assembly not only by the number or the vehemence of its repeated condemnations alone but also by its continuing efforts to assist in promoting a solution to the conflict which ensures that due respect is given to human rights.50 There may be other negative effects, such as chain reaction, which will lead to worse relations with Russia in other important spheres of co-operation. It can therefore be said that the Wests strategy regarding Chechnya should be based on persuasion and shame politics, that is on the first alternative. More radical and force methods may entail first sharp worsening of relations with Russia in many spheres, and second, the West will need the amount of resources for that it was not going to invest. It is wrong to think that soft methods are not effective. Certain public and political Russian circles are willing to respect human rights standards, because the Russian elite wants to maintain normal relations with European organisations. The priority is therefore is to keep Russia as a member in European organisations that it values highly and make it to respect provisions of treaties and agreements. It is also possible to achieve success by insisting on transparency of actions and hold Russia accountable for its actions through investigative commissions on human rights violations in Chechnya with the participation of international organisations.

1 Council of Europe, Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Rome, 04/11/1950

2 Bowring, B., Prospects for the rule of law in Russia. Russias international human rights obligations: policy and practice, Draft, 14/02/2001.

3 Report of the Special Rapporteur on Torture, Question of the human rights of all persons subjected to any form of detention or imprisonment, in particular: torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment: Visit by the Special Rapporteur to the Russian Federation, Commission on Human Rights, 51st session, E/CN.4/1995/34/Add.1, 16/11/1994

4 Bernhardt, R. et al., Report on the Conformity of the Legal Order of the Russian Federation with the Council of Europe Standards, reprinted in (1994) 15 HRLJ 287

5 Bowring, B., Russias Accession to the Council of Europe and Human Rights, (1997) 6 EHRLR 632

6 Council of Europe, Statute of the Council of Europe, Chapter 1, London, 05/05/1949

7 Secretary Generals Monitoring Unit, Monitoring of compliance with commitments entered by Council of Europe Member States: an overview, 06/03/2000, Monitor/Inf (2000) 1

8 Parliamentary Assembly, Opinion No. 193 on Russia's request for membership of the Council of Europe, 25/01/1996

9 These undertakings were notably:

- To sign and ratify within a year from the time of accession the ECHR with its Protocol No.11, the right to individual petition to the European Commission on Human Rights and compulsory jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights; the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment;

- To settle international as well as internal conflicts by peaceful means, rejecting resolutely any forms of threat to use of force against its neighbours;

- To respect strictly the provisions of international humanitarian law, including the cases of armed conflicts on its territory;

- To co-operate in good faith with international humanitarian organisations and to enable them to carry on their activities on its territory in conformity with their mandate.

10 Third Strasbourg Conference on Parliamentary Democracy, The Final Declaration, Compendium of Documents, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, 1992

11 Council of Europe, Protocol No. 4 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Strasbourg, 16/09/1963

12 Council of Europe, European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Strasbourg, 26/11/1987, ETS No. 126

13 Steiner, H. and Alston, P., International human rights in context; law, politics, morals, text and materials, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1996, pp571-572

14 Conflit in Chechnya, Resolution 1201 (1999), Doc. 8585, adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly on 4 Nov. 1999.

15 Chechnya: find a settlement, The Europeans, electronic journal of PACE, January 2000.

16 Conflict in Chechnya, Resolution 1444, adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly on 27 January, 2000.

17 Conflict in Chechnya - Implementation by Russia of Recommendation 1444 (2000), Doc. 8700.

18 Statute of the Council of Europe, supra, n. 7.

19 Recommendation 1456 (2000), adopted by Parliamentary Assembly on 6 April 2000.

20 RFL/RL NEWSLINE, 7 April 2000.

21 RFL/RL NEWSLINE, 6 April 2000.

22 They probably meant Art.16(1) of the French constitution. State of Emergency: When the institutions of the Republic, the independence of the nation, the integrity of its territory, or the fulfilment of its international commitments are under grave and immediate threat and when the proper functioning of the constitutional governmental authorities is interrupted, the President of the Republic shall take the measures demanded by these circumstances after official consultation with the Prime Minister, the Presidents of the Assemblies, and the Constitutional Council.

23 Resolution 1227 (2000); Parliamentary Assembly; 28/09/2000; 31st sitting.

24 In accordance with paragraph 22 of Resolution 1240 (2001), adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly in January 2001.

25 Resolution 1240 (2001), adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly in January 2001.

26 Human rights situation in Chechnya on parliamentary joint working group agenda Strasbourg, 20.03.2001 at <http://stars.coe.fr/act/compress/cp01/194a(01).htm>, 29/07/2001

27 Joint Working Group on Chechnya to hold its first meeting, Paris, 14.03.2001

28 Progress report on the activities of the Joint Working Group on Chechnya Doc. 9038 23 April 2001

29 Press communiqué of the 106th session of the Committee of Ministers (10-11 May 2000).

30 Statutory report, Communication on the activities of the Committee of Ministers, January-March 2000, Doc.8670.

31 RFL/RL NEWSLINE, 21 March 2000.

32 Report by the Secretary General on the use of his powers under Article 52 of the European Convention on Human Rights in respect of the Russian Federation, SG/Inf(2000)21, 10 May 2000.

33 Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner to visit Vladikavkaz, Russia, Press release, Strasbourg, 25/05/2000.

34 (1) Report on the visit to the Russian Federation, in particular Chechnya, Daghestan and Ingoushetia, 7-10 December 1999 - first Report (2) Report by Mr Alvaro Gil-Robles, commissioner for human rights to the committee of ministers and the parliamentary assembly of the council of Europe on the second visit to the Russian Federation, in particular Ingushetia and Chechnya -Grozny, 1 march 2000 -second report; (3) Report by Mr. Alvaro Gil-Robles, Commissioner for Human Rights, on his visit to the Russian Federation and the Republic of Chechnya: 25th February to the 4th March 2001

35 Situation in the North Caucasus: Russian authorities release observations by the Council of Europe Anti-torture Committee delegation, ECPT, Press Release, Strasbourg, 03/04/2000

36 Situation in the North Caucasus: Russian authorities release observations by the Council of Europe Anti-torture Committee delegation, ECPT, Press Release, Strasbourg, 03/04/2000

37 CHECHNYA: Crime and punishment, News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International * News Service: 066/00 AI Index: EUR 46/27/00 6 April 2000.

38 RFL/RL NEWSLINE, 1 March 2000.

39 <http://www.mbm.ru/press/otech/2%2830%29/item10.htm>, 27/08/2001

40 Website of the Russain Government <http://www.government.ru/government/ministers/kosh0505.html>, 27/08/2001

41 Press communiqué of the 106th session of the Committee of Ministers (10-11 May 2000).

42 RFL NEWSLINE, 10 April 2000.

43 RFL NEWSLINE, 9 May 2000.

44 RFE/RL NEWSLINE, 14 April 2000.

45 RFE/RL NEWSLINE, 14 April 2000.

46 Odd Gunnar Skagestad, How Can the International Community contribute to Peace and Stability In and Around Chechnya', (2000) 4 Central Asia and Caucasus, <http://www.ca-c.org/journal/eng04_2000/28.skage.shtml>, 27/08/2001

47 Rosenne, S., Practice and methods of international law, Oceana Publications Inc, London, 1984, p3

48 Taylor Seybolt, Comments on Contributions', (2000) 4 Central Asia and Caucasus, <http://www.ca-c.org/journal/eng04_2000/eng04_2000.shtml>, 27/08/2001

49 European Union, Declaration on Chechnya. Speech by The Rt Hon Chris Patten, Member of the European Commission, European Parliament, Strasbourg, SPEECH/99/166, 17/11/1999

50 Resolution 1227 (2000), Parliamentary Assembly, 31st sitting, 28/09/2000

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