Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 27

– Chechen Rights Ombudsman Wants Help Identifying Those in Mass Graves

The Chechen presidential press service, citing Chechen human rights ombudsman Nurdi Nukhazhiev, has said that the unidentified remains of over 3,000 people who died between 2000 and 2004 are buried in mass graves in Chechnya, Interfax reported on July 3. “According to the Chechen Emergency Situations Ministry, 1,138 bodies were buried between 2000 and 2001 alone,” the presidential press service quoted Nukhazhiev as saying. “This is without taking into account the following three years. Our assumption is that the remains of over 3,000 people have been buried in mass graves in Chechnya. Among them, are certainly those who are on the list of missing and kidnapped people.” He added that as early as 2005, the Council of Europe officially announced its intention to assist in the opening of a laboratory to exhume and identify the bodies. “Yet although the Chechen government has provided the premises, the issue remains unresolved,” Nukhazhiev said. “There are both civilian and military mass graves in Chechnya. It is impossible to identify and rebury them without a laboratory.”