Chechnya: The week in brief: 20 - 26 Jan 2003

News and Press Release
Originally published
Summary of the main news related to the conflict in Chechnya. Compiled by Prague Watchdog.
Monday, January 20

Rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Lord Judd, Rudolf Bindig and Tadeusz Iwinski launched their four-day visit to Chechnya and Ingushetia in order to report on the local political, human rights, and humanitarian situation to the PACE winter session on January 29.

Tuesday, January 21

Speaking to Russian radio station "Ekho Moskvy", Russian Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov said that he had signed an order requiring the presence of district prosecutors in "mopping-up operations" in Chechnya.

Wednesday, January 22

The conflict between the head of the Moscow-backed Chechen administration Akhmad Kadyrov and Premier of the Moscow-backed Chechen government Mikhail Babich over the January 13 appointment of new Chechen Finance Minister by Kadyrov was reportedly settled during talks held behind closed doors in Moscow under the auspices of Russian presidential envoy to the Southern Federal Region Viktor Kazantsev and in the presence of Russian Minister for Chechnya Stanislav Ilyasov.

Thursday, January 23

The Tverskoi district court in Moscow turned down three suits filed by former hostages and relatives of victims of the October 2002 hostage-taking in a Moscow threatre.

Premier of the Moscow-backed Chechen government Mikhail Babich went on holiday for an undisclosed period of time. His first deputy Andrei Yarin was charged to fulfill his duties until he returns.

Friday, January 24

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, chairman of the political committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Lord Judd urged the Russian leadership to postpone the referendum on the Chechen constitution, which is scheduled for March 23, as in view of the current situation in the republic it is likely to become a mere formality and unlikely to bring a long-standing peace to Chechnya.

In Berlin some 200 people protested against the ongoing war in Chechnya and called for talks between representatives of the Kremlin and Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov. The protest was organized by the German-Caucasian Association (Deutsch-Kaukasische Gesellschaft), the Movement of the European Youth (Junge Europäische Bewegung) and the Association for Threatened People (Gesellschaft f=FCr bedrohte Völker).

Saturday, January 25

A total of 670 refugees have returned to the Chechen capital since January 1 to date and they have been accommodated in the private sector, Grozny mayor Oleg Zhidkov said. As of February, the seven existing accommodation centres will be enforced by another six ones with a capacity of 5,000 returnees, he added.

Sunday, January 26

Internet servers of the Chechen Committee for National Salvation (ChKNS) and the Council of Non-governmental Organisations (SNO) located on a server owned by the Mastak.Ru provider were shut down. On January 21 the provider's representative told ChKNS that the "resource is of anti-Russian character, which seriously complicates our work", and therefore they will be shut down on January 24.

Akhmad Kadyrov, the head of the Moscow-backed Chechen administration, met in Amman with Jordanian state officials in charge of religious issues, reporting them about the situation in Chechnya. (T)

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