Claiming that Russian military operations in the Caucasus are among the most bloody that its staff have witnessed anywhere in the world, an international medical group has urged G-7 leaders to press Russia to stop the carnage in Chechnya. Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) yesterday released a report entitled "Civilians targeted, humanitarian law flouted in Chechnya." Dr. Eric Goemaere, director-general of the MSF, said that "we are in the field witnessing the systematic massacre of civilian villages which are flattened by a [Russian] strategy of reconquest in south Chechnya." Saying that MSF rarely makes such direct appeals, he emphasized that "only when there is a massive systematic violation of human rights" does the group speak out. Goemaere condemned Moscow specifically for the indiscriminate killing of an estimated 40,000 civilians in 16 months of warfare, for the fact that women and children have been as prevalent among the wounded as have male adults, and for Moscow’s denial of MSF access to the wounded. The release of the report was timed to coincide with the Moscow summit. (Reuter, April 18)
Chechnya: Political Discussions Amid Fighting.