–ONE CIVILIAN KILLED, TWO WOUNDED IN ROCKET ATTACK
Kavkazky Uzel, citing the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society, reported on December 14 that a brother and sister were being treated in Grozny’s Hospital No. 9 for serious wounds they received on December 3, when a helicopter gunship fired a rocket into their home in the Vedeno district village of Tazen-Kala. Their 14-year-old younger brother was killed in the attack, the website reported.
–REBELS ARRESTED FOR MURDERING LOCAL OFFICIALS
Police in Gudermes district detained two rebels suspected of murdering local officials, Itar-Tass reported on December 8. Sources in the regional operations headquarters of Russia’s “anti-terrorist operation” in Chechnya told the news agency that two suspects – one a member of the group led by Shamil Basaev, the other a member of the group led by Aslan Maskhadov – confessed to firing on a vehicle in Gudermes on October 17, 2002, killing the administration chief of the village of Komsomolskoye, Alvi Baliev, and a local policeman, Khusein Shakhtamirov.
–LUKIN: 1,700 KIDNAPPINGS IN CHECHNYA THIS YEAR
Russian human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin said on December 10 that 1,700 criminal cases involving disappearances of people in Chechnya have been launched since the start of the year, and that 50 of the cases have gone to court, RIA Novosti reported. Kidnapping, he said, remains the republic’s main problem in the human rights sphere.
–LIBERALS CALL FOR NEGOTIATIONS WITH SEPARATISTS
The more than 1,000 liberal and human rights activists who gathered on December 12 for an All-Russia Civil Congress in Moscow under the slogan “Russia For Democracy, Against Dictatorship,” issued a statement declaring the war in Chechnya “disgraceful.” The congress’s participants said in the statement that the Russian government’s policies, not international terrorism, were to blame for what is happening in Chechnya, Grani.ru reported on December 12. They also called for peace talks with Chechen separatist leaders, and noted the efforts in that direction by the Union of Soldiers’ Mothers Committees, which plans to meet with Aslan Maskhadov’s representative in Europe, Akhmed Zakaev. The participants also called for an international conference on Chechnya.
–QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Losing many thousands of casualties, having destroyed Grozny, having spent billions of rubles in prosecuting the war, the Russian leadership of that time did not succeeed in imposing so-called ‘constitutional order’ in Chechnya during the course of the first campaign. Furthermore, the republic became a hotbed of tension, a sedimentation tank for criminals, mercenaries, religious extremists, Wahabbis and kidnappers…Given the existing rate and scale of reconstruction, a minimum of a hundred years will be needed to reach the level of development that existed in Chechnya ten years ago, at the moment the operation to establish constitutional order began.”— Chechen State Council Chairman Taus Dzhabrailov on the consequences of the December 1994 military intervention in Chechnya, as quoted by the Utro.ru website on December 11.