Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 7

The likely resignation of Lord Frank Judd, currently serving as rapporteur for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, does not necessarily mean that Russia will now get a free ride in that body. The assembly’s committee on legal affairs and human rights has adopted a draft resolution authored by Rudolf Bindig, also an expert on Chechnya, calling for the creation of an international war crimes tribunal if the current “climate of impunity” should continue. The proposed resolution specifically states that this panel should be “modeled on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia,” and that it should be empowered to try “all” war crimes committed in Chechnya including illegal detentions, forced disappearances, kidnappings, rape, torture and murder.

The resolution notes that the Parliamentary Assembly “has consistently condemned the gross human rights abuses, the violations of international humanitarian law, and the war crimes committed in Chechnya by both sides to the conflict. Since the very beginning of the first conflict in Chechnya in 1994, the Assembly has called for those responsible for these acts to be brought to justice–to little avail.” It suggests that the Council of Europe should “reorient its assistance programs in the North Caucasus towards an amelioration of the human rights situation in the Chechen Republic as the priority objective, and allocate sufficient funds to these programs to make a real difference.”

The head of Russia’s delegation reacted sharply. Dmitry Rogozin told the news agency Interfax that Bindig’s draft “cannot even be commented on–it must be rejected at once.” He also called its author “a frenzied foe of Russia.” The Russian delegate said that he and his colleagues had repeatedly been obliged “to raise their voices when talking with Bindig, but we must admit this has not affected his biased approach.”