On June 27, the general secretary of the Council of Europe, Walter Schwimmer, criticized the “state of impunity” created in Chechnya due to the pronounced inactivity of the local pro-Moscow judicial organs. Schwimmer underscored that each individual who has infringed basic human rights must be handed over to a court, because “the creation of a sense of impunity does not facilitate the struggle against terrorism but rather serves to strengthen terrorism.”
Schwimmer appealed to the Russian judiciary, and “in particular to the military procuracy,” to “seriously investigate all reports concerning the infringement of human rights [in Chechnya].” He scored the fact that trials for crimes committed within Chechnya are being held outside the borders of the republic, with the unfortunate result that “[Chechen] society is not informed.” Schwimmer praised the work of three experts from the Council of Europe who have spent the past year living in Znamenskoe, Nadterechnyi District, Chechnya, where they have been cooperating with the office of the special Russian presidential human rights representative in Chechnya, Vladimir Kalamanov. The mandate of these three experts is due to expire on October 4, but can be extended. Without the work of these three individuals, Schwimmer emphasized, “300 persons would not have been freed [from Russian places of confinement] and 700 persons who had disappeared without trace would not have been located” (Russian agencies, June 27).