Boris Yeltsin and no one else was behind the decision to closethe Human Rights Commission and to reduce its status to a sectionwithin the public comment section of the president’s office, formercommission head and human rights activist Sergei Kovalev toldSegodnya August 1. Presidential chief of staff Sergei Filatovtold the paper that Kovalev’s commission "was doing absolutelyno work of late" and that Kovalev had been out of line whenhe called Yeltsin a "constitutional criminal" at theChechnya court hearings. Kovalev said that the replacement bodywould be ineffective by design: its members would be civil servantsrather than independent observers. "Who does in fact regularlyand naturally encroach on human rights?" Kovalev asked andthen answered his own question: "It is the authorities themselves,and now in line with the good old Soviet tradition, they wantto make one set of bureaucrats responsible for protecting citizensagainst other bureaucrats."
Chief Justice Defends Constitutional Court Decision on Chechnya.