THE RULE OF LAW IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
CASE STUDY: FILTRATION CAMPS IN CHECHNYA
Noëlle Quénivet, PhD Candidate at the University of Essex (United Kingdom), Part-Time Teaching Assistant, LL.M. in ‘International Human Rights Law’ of the University of Nottingham (United Kingdom), Diploma of the Institute of Political Studies, University Robert Schuman of Strasbourg (France)
In line with the official policy of the Russian government, “the restoration of democracy and the safeguarding of Russia’s territorial integrity from Chechen terrorism was the major objective of the offensive in the Republic1”. Accordingly, the initial main mission of the armed forces of the Russian Federation was to disarm bandit formations and collect or destroy heavy weapons, to restore peace and order in the Chechen Republic.
However, in the course of time, the Russian forces being confronted with a situation they did not expect, i.e. the resistance of the Chechen forces, they resorted to rather tough methods to combat the terrorism that roamed in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation. The European Court of Human Rights clearly identified this problem by stating that “being aware of the danger such a law poses of undermining or even destroying democracy on the ground of defending it, affirms that the Contracting States may not, in the name of the struggle against espionage and terrorism, adopt whatever measures they deem appropriate.2” It is against this jurisprudence that it is necessary to judge Russia’s action.
Like in most situations of emergency, the challenged government had recourse to the extensive detention of suspects or potential troublemakers. Numerous detention facilities were therefore established across the Republic of Chechnya. As noted by Sergey Kovalev in its report3, there are two types of detention facilities: filtration or screening facilities and unofficial detention sites, both commonly denominated for the purpose of this article “filtration camps4”.
After attempting to explain the rationale behind the establishment of “filtration camps” and the legislation (or the lack of) on which they are based, the article focuses on the ill-treatment of detainees suffered at the hands of custodial staff and the national and international legal remedies offered to captives.
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Filtration camps seem to have been created for a specific purpose but in the course of time, maybe because the Russian official line was a smoke screen or because the legal basis was so loose that the different forces involved in the establishment of these camps abused it, they turn out to be detention centres.
Officially the purpose of filtration camps was to check the identity as well as the permanent residence registration papers (ñïðàâêà) of the Chechen population in order to determine their status as civilians or combatants. In reality ethnic Chechens were interrogated and detained for longer periods in these facilities, thus casting a doubt as to the real rationale behind their setting up.
In most cases of non-international armed conflicts which find their roots in the contestation of the central power, the combatants of the irredentist region use guerrilla tactics, thereby avoiding a direct confrontation with the government’s heavily armoured armed forces5. The very idea behind guerrilla warfare is the confusion between combatants and civilians. Outside armed operations that occur on a sporadic basis and preparations thereof, combatants live like normal civilians and are consequently impossible to distinguish from “protected persons” in the sense of the Geneva Conventions and their thereto Protocols6.
The Chechen insurgents, despite their claim to have their own armed forces and be able to sustain a conventional warfare were defeated in open hostilities at the inception of the first armed conflict. They consequently retreated in the mountainous areas, adopting guerrilla tactics with which the government’s troops could hardly deal not only during the first armed conflict both also during the second which did not involve any direct massive confrontation between the two forces7.
Modern warfare and the blur between combatants and civilians induce the combatants into believing that everyone may be capable of fighting or at least aiding and abetting the war effort. Hence, one of the means used by the Russian Federation army to break down the insurgency was to arrest all potential combatants, i.e. guerrilla-fighters. As a consequence, the Chechen male population between 16 and 55 years old was screened in so-called “filtration camps” where “the degree of their participation in combat operations against the forces of the Defence Ministry and the Interior Ministry8”, i.e. their status in the conflict as a civilian or as a combatant, was determined by the Central Government9.
The screening of the Chechen male population enabled the Central Government not only to distinguish between combatants and civilians but also to check one’s identity and permanent residence as well as to obtain information related to people supporting the Chechen regime and to ongoing military operations.
Indirectly, the screening enabled the central authorities to compile lists of people in contact with or related to an already suspected combatant. During the second Chechen armed conflict, “documents10 [were] checked [by the Russian authorities] at the border crossing with Ingushetia against computer data, which allegedly include[d] information on suspected members of armed Chechen groups and their relatives11”.
Anyone found to be a combatant, may indirectly incriminate other members of his/her family as they are likely to be suspected of at least supporting the insurgent regime and maybe have knowledge of guerrilla operations directed at Russian armed forces. This assumption is all the more stronger as the Chechen society is based on teips, i.e. family clans12. As Charles Blandy explains “[t]he actions of Chechen field commanders are guided and controlled by the attitudes of the teips to which they belong, for ‘in reality it is teip (clan) relationships in Chechnya which define the political system, the foreign policy of that country and the underlying relationships within Chechen society and the Chechen state’13”.
In addition, special investigators who were brought on site conducted interviews with the detainees in order to obtain information related not only to the suspect and his fellow combatants but also to past and future attacks on governmental forces14. Filtration camps hence slowly turned into interrogation centres providing the authorities with more or less reliable information on the Chechen regime.
The length spent by certain civilians in these facilities casts doubt onto the real purpose of the setting up of “filtration camps” all the more that people with necessary documents confirming their identity and permanent residence were kept detained despite the authorities’ claim of solely checking one’s identity and status.
Soon, “filtration camps” that Interior Ministry officials called “temporary intake and assignment facilities15”, unveiled their true “raison d’être”: to detain all real and potential guerrilla-fighters, anyone “suspected of sympathising with the Chechen cause, as well as members of their families16”. As a matter of fact, the United Nations noted in a press release that a “large number of Chechen civilians [were accommodated] in several internment or “filtration camps””17.
Additional Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions provides for the detention of the population on the condition that the “persons [are] deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict”. Whereas it is possible to argue the legality of the detention of combatants, it appears trickier in the case of the detention of civilians18. The widespread detention of Russian citizens of ethnic Chechen origin appears not to be justified according to international humanitarian law in this instance. As declared by the Representative of the Secretary General on internally displaced persons “[a]rbitrary detention of non-combatants contravenes international standards19”.
Assuming that the officially declared aim of the establishment of filtration campus was genuine, one reason that can be advanced to explain the mutation of purpose operated in “filtration camps” is their lack of legal basis in Russian law, thereby giving considerable leeway to staff in charge.
The lack of legal basis in Russian law stems partially from Russian authorities’ failure to provide for a specific law concerning the establishment of such “filtration camps” as well as to declare a state of emergency that may have legitimised such centres. On the other hand, the laws referred to by the central government appear to be inappropriate to the situation.
Another failure of the Russian authorities which needs to be addressed is the lack of specific legislation regarding the “filtration camps” primarily during the first armed conflict. Neither the Russian Law “on bodies executing punishment in the form of imprisonment”20 nor other legal domestic instruments related to detention centres or other forms of forcible restrictions of people’s physical freedom mention “filtration camps”.
In the first struggle, no specific legislation was issued on “filtration camps” either. However, during the second conflict, “official status [was] occasionally assigned to these facilities21”. The system appeared to be based on unpublished regulations or on the basis of internal regulations of the Ministry of Interior. For example, the “filtration camp” of Chernokosovo is considered as a pre-trial establishment (ñëåäñòâåííûé èçîëÿòîð22). Others, called temporary detention facilities (èçîëÿòîð âðåìåííîãî ñîäåðæàíèÿ23), have been established at district departments of interior forces in various parts of Chechnya. Such legal basis cannot nonetheless be viewed as appropriate24.
On the other hand, if the aim of the Russian forces was indeed to check people’s identity and place of residence, then an appropriate piece of legislation that may have been relevant relates to the so-called “special intake institutions” which detain “individuals without a permanent place of residence or who are suspected of having committed a crime and whose identity should be established25”.
Besides official detention facilities, there are many without any legal status. “They include various places in the territory of military units or around road checkpoints26”. For example during both armed conflicts, some people, allegedly Chechen bandits according to information given by central TV channels, were kept in Khankala, a large military base in the suburb of Grozny27.
According to article 88 of the Russian Constitution28 and to the Federal Constitutional Law, in order to declare a state of emergency in the Russian Federation, parliamentary approval must be obtained. To obviate the need to deal with the Federation Council and the State Duma, President Eltsin did not declare a state of emergency of martial law29 and promulgated four Presidential Decrees as well as a Government Instruction related to the suppression of activity of illegal armed formations in the territory of the Chechen Republic. Later, on 31st July 1995 the Russian Constitutional Court declared that the invasion of the breakaway republic of Chechnya, despite the lack of a state of emergency declaration, was constitutional under Russian law30. On the other hand, the Russian Constitutional Court stated that a non-international armed conflict was indeed taking place in the Chechen Republic.
As for the second armed conflict in Chechnya, the Russian government grounded its “anti-terrorist” operation on the 1998 Law on the Suppression of Terrorism and the 1996 Law on Defence. President Putin, by decree, imposed his direct rule on the Chechen Republic on 8th June 2000. This piece of legislation provides for the organisation of a provisional system of executive organs in the Chechen Republic, thereby enabling the President of the Russian Federation to have a “day-to-day control of military and civilian matters31”. “The Russian government is charged with providing funding and establishing a functioning administration, as well as territorial and district executive departments in the republic32”.
The imposition of presidential direct rule on Chechnya may in fact be viewed as tantamount to the imposition of a state of emergency. However, legally, it is at odds with domestic legislation. In addition, although at that time the Federation of Russia was a fully-fledged member of the Council of Europe, it never, in conformity with article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights33, informed the Secretary General of this organisation that special measures “derogating from its obligations under this Convention” had been adopted.
Imposition of emergency in accordance with articles 87 and 88 of the Russian constitution and Russia’s international obligations can constitute legal grounds for certain human rights restrictions within the territory of the Federation. However as Russia failed to use the existing legal instruments, it was compelled to fully observe human rights as governed by normal legal provisions without derogation to one’s freedom of movement for example34.
The Russian Constitution provides in its article 22 that “1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom and personal inviolability. 2. Arrest, detention and keeping in custody shall be allowed only by an order of a court of law. No person may be detained for more than 48 hours without an order of a court of law.35” In the light of this provision, it is apparent that the detention of Chechens in “filtration camps” was arbitrary, for no court36 ordered the keeping in custody of these people and, as previously said, many spent more than 48 hours in these camps.
As stated by Sergey Kovalev, President of the Commission on Human Rights of Russia “arbitrary and unlawful detention of Russian citizens by federal soldiers and forcible incarceration in special maximum security facilities without sufficient legal grounds were widespread practices in the zone of conflict.37” (bold added) The detention was all the more arbitrary as neither warrants were produced nor charges brought against the detainees.
Whenever warrants were used, it was in contravention of existing norms and regulations or referred to the Presidential Decree “On Measures To Prevent Vagrancy and Begging” dated November 2, 1993 which is obviously irrelevant to the situation in the Republic of Chechnya. Despite detainees’ ability to show identity papers and permanent residence registration documents, they were held under the mentioned decree which, in fact, served as a quasi legal basis for extending the term of detention without presenting charges up to 10 days instead of 48 hours stipulated in the Constitution and 72 hours in the Criminal Procedure Code38.
An argument that can be advanced to explain the massive detention of Chechen people is that since in a non-international armed conflict, the opponent is not only regarded as an “enemy” but also as a “criminal”, whose arrest may lead to a criminal investigation and a subsequent prosecution, the Russian central authorities may have deemed necessary to put suspects in pre-trial detention. However as most detainees were not charged with breaches of the laws of Russia, such a position is hardly tenable.
The immediate consequences of this lack of legislation pertaining to the existence of “filtration camps” is the mushrooming of such centres and the difficulty to seek judicial remedy, for the captives cannot prove that they have been held in these places.
A troubling fact is that filtration camps were under the supervision of the Russian military forces, the Federal Security Service or representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation39. As there are no specific laws regulating the existence of these “filtration camps”, it appears that all forces involved in the fighting of the insurgency in the Republic of Chechnya have had recourse to the establishment of such detention centres.
Once arrested, the detainees were kept at concentration points without any official status or name sometimes for several days and then transported to “filtration camps”. Some of them were released without certificates of detention instead of being taken to “filtration camps” and their names did not appear in the official registry, thus disabling them to document their unlawful detention40.
In official “filtration camps”, detainees were registered but here again, no certificate was delivered to them and in some instances, they were even compelled to sign a no-grievance statement which declared that they would not sue the authorities for unlawful detention or for abuses sustained in these places41.
During the first and second armed conflict in the Chechen Republic, widespread torture and ill-treatment of those held in “filtration camps”42 was reported. Most revealing of the attitude of the involved forces of the Russian Federation towards the detainees is the declaration of the Chief of the General Staff M. Kolesnikov who declared that “the prisoners were being treated normally, though from the formal point of view they should have been shot by firing squad as bandits43”.
Complaints related to the conditions of living in filtration camps mention not only the general poor situation which prevails in most prisons on the territory of the Russian Federation44 but also specific forms of ill-treatment and torture inflicted by the staff in charge of the filtration camps.
It appears that at the inception of the first armed conflict the Russian authorities were unable to build proper detention centres due to the short time span in which the decision to set up “filtration camps” was taken. Sergey Kovalev noted in its report that “when the filtration camps were set up, officials failed to plan for the supplies needed to provide the detainees with any kind of bearable living conditions. This failure has had extremely negative consequences.45” However such a stance cannot be espoused at a later stage and assuredly not regarding the second armed conflict.
During both armed conflicts, detainees were held in confinement cells called “field remand cells”, former temporary remand prisons in Chechen territory, and special railway carriages completely sealed off until the international community obtained access. In some unofficial filtration camps, detainees were also put into holes dug in the ground46.
Although the conditions of detention varied from time to time and from camp to camp, the general situation in “filtration camps” can be characterised as generally poor: no heating in a region of cold climate during winter time, small and low quality food and water rations, bad sanitary conditions, poor or no medical care although many had been seriously injured, overcrowding and so on.
Whereas most NGOs and United Nations imply that the root of the poor conditions of detention is negligence as well as the difficult situation in which the federal forces are compelled to work, Sergey Kovalev alleges that “the shortage of water cannot be explained by a poor water supply but was a deliberate element in the harsh treatment of detainees47”.
The harshness of the detention conditions was increased by specific intentional ill-treatment inflicted upon the detainees which was “said to be routine during detention at “filtration points”48”. In particular before and after interrogation, it is alleged that detainees were subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment including:
sexual assault on both men and women,
being stripped naked and left in cold and damp cells,
systematic beating with rubber truncheons and metal hammers sometimes unto unconsciousness,
deprivation of sleep,
kicking and punching to various parts of the body (excluding the face),
tear gas being regularly sprayed in cells…
Testimonies of detainees are corroborated by medical examinations which are fully consistent with the allegations of ill-treatment suffered in “filtration camps”. United Nations, Council of Europe, NGO and national commissions of experts as well as journalists who conducted interviews with former detainees gathered reliable and virtually undeniable reports of forensic nature49.
The guards of temporary detention facilities includes members of interior forces (Federal Security Services (FSB) and Special Police Units (OMON) officers) or so-called “specnaz” of the Russian Ministry of Justice.Throughout Russia, “[t]he Specnaz is ill-famed for being extremely cruel. [...]. It is quite understandable that here, in Chechnya, when it enjoys full impunity, and in the context of war, its cruelty is amplified.50”
Most detainees testified that whereas ill-treatment was usually inflicted by custodial staff outside the investigators’ rooms, it also occurred during interrogation51. In general, investigators confined themselves to interrogate suspects without recourse to the use of force. Although fully aware of guards’ behaviour towards detainees outside the interrogation room, investigators turned a blind eye, thereby indirectly encouraging ill-treatment as custodial staff realised their impunity. A rather strange fact is that, in order not to be recognised, some soldiers wore masks, an undeniable proof of the fact that, somehow, they were nonetheless conscious of the reprehensibility of their acts and their probable prosecution.
Whereas one expects law enforcement bodies to abide by the law, it is rather terrifying to realise that serious crimes are committed by their members, namely special police units, sent to Chechnya from various Russian regions.
However one must reckon that soldiers do not always behave with uniform brutality. Several reports show that army conscripts or younger officers treat Chechens humanely while so-called contract soldiers commit the stark majority of crimes52. It has also been noted that in places where lists of detainees were kept, the guards behaved less cruel than in other places and suggested that the reason was staff’s liability derived from the records53.
From reports drafted by NGOs it appears that the purpose of ill-treatment inflicted by guards was not only to obtain information or confessions but also to “entertain” the staff. Several detainees interviewed declared that at night, custodial staff was often drunk, addicted to medication or drugs and subsequently took out detainees from their cells and ill-treat them54. Such type of behaviour was already observed during the armed conflict in Afghanistan. As Galeotti points out “[c]orruption, crime, bullying, drug and alcohol use and abuse, all played a part in the afganets’ experience, and not just for the conscript.55” One should nevertheless bear in mind that such misconduct is not typically Soviet or Russian56 but is related to the war situation, for “[w]ars are inherently traumatic, terrifying and at the same time stimulates and gratifies some of the baser, animal passions57”.
It is clear that both ill-treatment and torture are prohibited not only by the national Russian laws applicable on the territory of the Republic of Chechnya but also by international law through human rights law.
Article 21 of the constitution of the Russian Federation proclaims that “1. [t]he dignity of the person shall be protected by the state. No circumstance may be used as a pretext for belittling it. 2. No one may be subjected to torture, violence or any other harsh or humiliating treatment or punishment58”. As a vast number of legislative acts fail to meet the requirements of international law, “it is crucial to ensure that the norms of the Constitution of the Russian Federation are directly applied59”.
In fact, one of the main problems that Russia faced once it adopted a new constitution, was the reorganisation of not only the judicial system but also the penitentiary system. Eventually, on 1 January 1997, thanks to the adoption of a new Penal Code, the “Russian legislation [was] brought into line with “The Minimal Standards for Dealing with Prisoners” and other documents60”. As a matter of fact, the prison reform which intends to humanise the country's prisons and labour camps was only implemented in May 200061, an irrefutable proof of the first step of the gigantic task undertaken by Russia in order to ensure that life in prisons is consistent with international standards62.
Mr. Putin stated on 13/04/2000 that “all facts of violations of human rights and abuses in the course of the anti-terrorist operation in the North Caucasian region of the Russian Federation, whoever commits them, are thoroughly investigated and, if confirmed, all the rigors of the law will be applied to the guilty.63”
As the second armed conflict in Chechnya appeased, the Department of Justice was set up as well as several official posts were allocated for the Supreme Court of the Republic and 15 regional courts. On “27th December 2000, courts have once again been sitting in Chechnya. The Supreme Court has selected new judges and 10 district courts are functioning alongside the Supreme Court. They have already delivered a number of rulings and judgements64”.
On the practical side, there are serious shortcomings. Although the complaints appear to have been properly dealt with by the office of Mr. Kalamanov, it transpires from the report of the Human Rights Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe that “[o]f all the complaints transmitted to the procuratura65 very few have so far received an adequate response66”. This “clearlydemonstrates the inadequacy of the judicial machinery in Chechnya.67”
First, criminal cases are in the beginning in the hands of military prosecutors who are unwilling to continue the proceedings, i.e. to refer them to military courts. For example, from all the cases mentioned by the Chief Military Prosecutor, none of them is linked to ill-treatment in filtration camps68.
Second, the lapse time between the complaint and the actual investigation of the case is considerable. It is even alleged that some cases were only dealt with on the national basis once the victims had filed applications with the European Court of Human Rights69.
Third, although a very high number of complaints are filed, few cases that are referred to prosecutors are forwarded to courts as witnesses are reluctant to testify, fearing reprisals70. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe however notes that 66 criminal cases which have been initiated by former detainees were submitted to the courts71.
Fourth, judicial investigations are hindered by security problems. Agents of the procuratura work in threatening conditions, five of whom were killed in the year 200072.
Last, courts of other regions of the Russian Federation do not start proceedings in connection with violations suffered by the Chechens on the territory of Chechnya73.
Human Rights Watch indicates in its memorandum of February 9, 200174, that, “to [its] knowledge, no investigations have been launched concerning the widespread allegations of torture and ill-treatment of persons in custody.” However, “a few cases of torture in which the victim was later judicially executed are under investigation”.
International human rights law offers, on the European as well as on the international level, various means to seek judicial redress concerning ill-treatment suffered by detainees in “filtration camps”.
The Council of Europe, through legal instruments like the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR- article 3) or the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment75 (ECPT) ratified by almost all member States of this international organisation, created a customary norm of prohibition of ill-treatment and torture, mainly developed by the jurisprudence of bodies established in pursuance of the ECHR.
On the European level one system of protection of human rights can be levelled by individuals, however only after exhaustion of the domestic remedies available to the victim: the mechanism set up by the European Convention on Human Rights. From 1999 onwards, ten cases have already been decided in relation to Russia.
Six cases (out of 13 sent to the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights) arising out of the events in Chechnya have been communicated to the Russian Government and on 20 October 2000 the Russian Government lodged government observations on three of them76.
On 5 April 2000, Ms Khasyuva, a Chechen nurse who was amongst a group of medical staff detained and ill-treated first at Tolstoy Yurt, and later in Chernkozovo, two “filtration camps”, filed a case against the Russian Federation77.
However laudable such a step is, it is likely that, given the short span between Ms Khasyuva’s ill-treatment and her complaint’s registration by the European Court of Human Rights, the case will be revoked on the admissibility stage unless it is proved that her claim was dismissed at an early stage in Russia. This position was made plain by the Russian Plenipotentiary before the European Court, P. Laptev who argued that criminal proceedings had just commenced in Russia and hence, the applicants had failed to exhaust domestic remedies.
On the international level, the norm of prohibition of ill-treatment and torture is enshrined in several legal instruments like the International Covenant on Civic and Political Rights78 (ICCPR- article 7) or the Convention against Torture79 (article 1) as well as in declarations like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights80 (article 5) and has acquired customary status.
Again there is only one mechanism that can be triggered by an individual, provided the signatory State has accepted it: the system of individual claims as set up in pursuance of Optional Protocol to the ICCPR81. In the case of Russia, few complaints have been lodged, none of them however dealing with the situation in Chechnya.
Torture and ill-treatment of civilians and combatants are also undoubtedly prohibited by instruments dealing with international humanitarian law as the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the Protocols thereto. That the conflict is deemed international or non-international has little relevance as ill-treatment is under no circumstances justified and is prohibited by the Geneva Convention and Additional Protocol I that set norms to be abide by in times of international armed conflict as well as by Common article 3 of the Geneva Convention82 and Additional Protocol II which apply in situation of non-international armed conflicts.
The major shortcoming of conventions in the field of international humanitarian law is that they leave their application to domestic legislation, hence prosecutions of violations of humanitarian law can only be done at national level. As usually, at domestic level, provisions related to humanitarian law are merged with legislation pertaining to human rights law, the same type of problems as above-mentioned are found. Nevertheless, in the past few years, humanitarian law norms have acquired teeth with the growing emergence of international criminal law.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), an impartial, neutral and independent organisation, was set up in order to protect the lives and dignity of victims of war and internal violence and to provide them with assistance, and to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles83.
The primary role bestowed to ICRC delegates is to visit places of detention. On 17/05/2000, an agreement setting out procedures for these visits was eventually reached with the Russian Foreign Ministry and the authorities responsible for detention-related matters. The ICRC, in accordance with its standard procedures, “visited 30 detention places inside and outside Chechnya where persons detained in connection with the Chechen situation [were] held.84” In conformity with ICRC’s mandate, the results of these visits are unknown but in the light of the previous success of such visits, it is almost certain that they contributed to the amelioration of the living conditions and may have reduced the level of ill treatment and torture in filtration camps.
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As of now, no remedy seems to have been effective towards the prosecution of violations of one’s freedom from ill treatment and torture suffered in filtration camps at the hand of Russian forces. Some hope is nonetheless present firstly with the continuing presence of the international community that assists the Russian authorities and the judicial system in prosecuting violators of human rights and secondly with the complaints lodged before the European Court of Human Rights.
2Klass and others versus Germany, Application No. 00005029/71, 06/09/1978, §49
3 Commission on Human Rights of Russia, On the observance of the rights of man and the citizen in the Russian Federation (1994-1995), Report of the President Sergey Kovalev, Chapter 2, <http://www.amina.com/article/humr_viol.html>, 12/04/2001, [hereinafter the Kovalev Report]
4 Some reports refer to these places as ‘preliminary investigation camps’, see notably Memorial Human Rights Centre, Situation with violations of human rights in Chechnya June-July, 2000, <http://www.memo.ru/eng/hr/ch000607.htm>,14/04/2001
5 Suter, K., An international law of guerrilla warfare: the global politics of law-making, Frances Pinter Publishers, London, 1984, p16
7 See “1.4. The war in Chechnya” in SIPRI- UNESCO, Peace, Security and conflict prevention, Oxford University Press, 1998, pp25-28
8 Order from Police Major General V. P. Medveditsky, head of the Stavropol Territory Department of Internal Affairs. Cited in (1) the Kovalev report and (2) Memorial Human Rights Centre, Conditions in detention in Chechen Republic conflict zone. Treatment of detainees, Moscow, 1995, Point 4.2, <http://www.memo.ru/hr/hotpoints/chechen/filter/eng/>, 10/04/2001
9 In that regard, no prior basis for the selective detention has ever been established. In reality, the Russian authorities developed more or less proven techniques: traces on shoulders, blisters on hands, possession of Soviet bank notes…
10 Since there were no exchange and issue of passport in Chechnya within the period between 1996 and 1999, many young people, reaching the age, and the one, who have lost the documents, turned to be living without the main identification document. Also, others have lost them during the firings, or when they flew from the military actions.
11 Amnesty International, Russian Federation: Chechnya. For the Motherland. Reported grave breaches of international humanitarian law. Persecution of ethnic Chechens in Moscow, December 1999, EUR 46/46/99. It shall be added that if the arrest/detention of Chechens who fought in 1994-1996 is made on the basis of their previous engagement, this arrest/detention is unlawful as they were amnestied in 1997.
12 For an excellent explanation of the clan system in Chechnya see Fedorovich, A. ‘Clans and religion in Chechnya’, (2001) 2.8 Central Asia and the Caucasus,
16Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons calls on the Russian authorities to observe the guiding principles on internal displacement, UN Press Release, HR/99/121, 20/12/1999
18 The detained population is composed by a majority of men although women and adolescents are also to be found in ‘filtration camps’. It is doubtful that women and adolescents enter in the combatant category. Footnote No.17
19 Footnote No.16
20 Also called law “about institutions and bodies enforcing custodial sentences”; adopted on 21/07/1992
21 Orlov, O., War crimes and human rights violations in Chechnya, A summary of a spoken report by Oleg Orlov at a Public Hearing on War Crimes and Human Rights Violations in Chechnya, <http://www.crimesofwar.org>, of 11/04/2001
22 Under the supervision of the Ministry of Justice.
23 Under the supervision of the Ministry of Interior.
24 Footnote No. 8 and footnote No. 3
25 Moscow Centre for Prison Reform, The penitentiary system of the Russian Federation
26 Footnote No.21
27 Footnote No.4
28 Butler, W. E. and Henderson, J. E., Russian legal texts : the foundations of a rule-of-law state and a market economy, Simmonds & Hill, London, 1998
29 For an analysis about the struggle between President Eltsin and the assemblies, see Domrin A., ‘President Yeltsin versus the First Russian Parliament’, Economic and Political Weekly, August 1997
31Direct Rule in Chechnya, BBC News, 08/06/2000, ôåäåðàëüíûé çàêîí ðô îò 29.07.2000 n 106-ôç "î âíåñåíèè èçìåíåíèé è äîïîëíåíèé â ôåäåðàëüíûé çàêîí "îá îáùèõ ïðèíöèïàõ îðãàíèçàöèè çàêîíîäàòåëüíûõ (ïðåäñòàâèòåëüíûõ) è èñïîëíèòåëüíûõ îðãàíîâ ãîñóäàðñòâåííîé âëàñòè ñóáúåêòîâ ðîññèéñêîé ôåäåðàöèè"
32Direct Presidential Rule established in Chechnya, Allnews Russia, 08/06/2000
33 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms as amended by Protocol No. 11, Council of Europe, Rome, 04/11/1950. For text see Ian Brownlie, Basic Documents on Human Rights (Oxford University Press, 1998)
34 Even if Russia had derogated from the ECHR, arbitrary detention is still unlawful. However, administrative detention “of individuals suspected of intending to take part in terrorist activities, appeared, despite its gravity, to be a measure required by the circumstances”. Lawless versus Ireland, Judgement on the merits, Application No. 00000332/57, 01/07/1961
35 Footnote No.28
36 I shall however be noted that Russia has “not yet succeeded in enacting a new Criminal Procedural Code” and that, in accordance with the previous system in place, it is “the prokuror [who] decides on the lawfulness of arrest”; Bowring, B., Prospects for the rule of law in Russia. Russia’s international human rights obligations: policy and practice, Draft 14/02/2001
37 Footnote No. 3, bold added
38 Footnote No.8 and footnote No. 3
39 Footnote No.4
40 Footnote No.8
41 Footnote No.9(2)
42 The population is composed by a majority of men although women and adolescents are also to be found in “filtration camps”. Footnote No.17
43 Felgengauer, P., Mikhail Kolesnikov: Dudaev Must be Crushed, Segodnya, 10/02/1995
44 The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture described in the following terms the conditions in Russian detention centres “cruel, inhuman and degrading; [...] torturous”. Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Nigel S. Rodley, 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
55 Galeotti, M., Afghanistan. The Soviet Union’s last war, Frank Cass, London, 1994, p36
56 It has been widely reported that American soldiers used drugs during the armed conflict in Vietnam.
57 Footnote No.56, p51
58 Footnote No.28
59 Churilov, A. and Vinokurov, A., ‘Protecting civil rights and liberties. Fulfilling the Russian Federation’s international obligations’, (1998) 36.4 Russian Politics and Law _____
60 Interview with Lysiagin Oleg by Vaksian, A., ‘The Penal Code has been adopted- ahead is the reorganisation of the prison system’, (1998) 36.2 Russian Politics and Law _____
61Amnesty for Russian soldiers, BBC News, 26/05/2000
62 See the article of Kalinin, Y. I., ‘The prison system in the Russian Federation’, (1995) 97 Prison Service Journal 58
63 Council of Europe, Communication on the activities of the Committee of Ministers, Communiqué, 106th session of the Committee of Ministers, Doc. 8911, 19/01/2001, p204
64 Council of Europe, 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, <http://www.commisioner.coe.int>, 20/04/2001
65 For a description of the prosecutor’s powers in the field of the protection of human rights, see footnote No.37
70 Council of Europe, Second Interim Report by the Secretary General on the presence of the Council of Europe’s experts in the Office of the Special Representative of the Russian Federation for ensuring Human Rights and Civil Rights and Freedoms in the Chechen Republic, SG/Inf(2000) 34, 10/10/2000, <http://www.commisioner.coe.int>, 20/04/2001
71 Council of Europe, Secretary General’s Interim report on the presence of Council of Europe’s experts in the Office of the Russian President’s Special Representative for Human Rights in Chechnya, SG/Inf (2000) 27 Revised, Addendum, 27/09/2000
72 Footnote No.65
73 Footnote No.4
74 Footnote No.70
75 Council of Europe, European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Strasbourg, 26/11/1987, ETS No. 126
76 Footnote No.37
77Sasita Khasmagometovna Khasyuva v. Russia, Press Release issued by the Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights, Application No. 56615/00, 18/04/2000
78International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966. For text see Ian Brownlie, Basic Documents on Human Rights (Oxford University Press, 1998)
79Convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 39/46 of 10 December 1984
80Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948. For text see Ian Brownlie, Basic Documents on Human Rights (Oxford University Press, 1998)
81Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966. For text see Ian Brownlie, Basic Documents on Human Rights (Oxford University Press, 1998)
82 In addition, the International Court of Justice upheld in the Nicaragua judgement that article 3 was of customary nature. International Court of Justice, Nicaragua versus the United States of America, Judgement on the merits, 27/06/1986
83 ICRC, Statutes of the International Committee of the Red Cross, International Review of the Red Cross No. 324, p.537-543, 30/09/1998
84 ICRC, Emergency action of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement for the North Caucasus and the South of Russia (January 2001), 14/03/2001