Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 10

On March 26, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov declared to reporters in Petersburg that there was no possibility whatsoever of creating an international tribunal for Chechnya at The Hague. “All the talk about this topic is a provocation by those who would like to complicate the process of a political settlement in Chechnya,” Ivanov asserted (Interfax, March 26). The following day, March 27, the separatist foreign minister of Chechnya, Ilyas Akhmadov, responded that, “Nothing could be further from the truth” than Igor Ivanov’s words, and he then added: “We call upon the Member States of the UN General Assembly to found an International Criminal Tribunal for Chechnya (ICTC) in order to prosecute Russian war criminals and genocidaires, both military and civilian, including and especially Russian leaders. The UN General Assembly can set up this ICTC by a majority vote pursuant to its powers to establish ‘subsidiary organs’ under the UN Charter article 22. This International Criminal Tribunal for Chechnya should be organized by the UN General Assembly along the same lines as the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia that has already been established by the UN Security Council” (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, March 27).

In its reaction to Akhmadov’s statement, the information office of the President of Russia remarked caustically: “It is rather strange to hear appeals for the creation of any kind of court from those who are on the international wanted list and have been charged under an entire bouquet of laws and conventions concerning terrorism and banditry” (Interfax, March 28).