Chechnya: The week in brief: 3 - 9 Mar 2003

Summary of the main news related to the conflict in Chechnya. Compiled by Prague Watchdog.

Monday, March 3

In its draft resolution to be presented by Rapporteur Rudolf Bindig to the March 31 -- April 4 session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg, PACE's Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights said that the international community should consider setting up an ad hoc tribunal to try war crimes and crimes against humanity in Chechnya if Russia does not intensify its efforts to bring to justice those guilty of human rights abuses and the climate of impunity prevails. Russian officials labelled the proposal as absurd, while human rights defenders called it a right, but politically unfeasible move.

Tuesday, March 4

No major events.

Wednesday, March 5

Russia started withdrawing „excess troops" from Chechnya as the first train that left the republic carried nearly 400 servicemen and a number of military vehicles and tanks from the 57th Sapper Battalion of the Defence Ministry.

Chechen resistance fighters killed Jabrail Yamadayev, the commander of the special company of the military command post of the Gudermessky district, having apparently planted a bomb in the house in the Dyshne-Vedeno village in the Vedensky district he and his subordinates were staying. Jabrail Yamadayev has been actively involved in Russia's counter-terrorist operations in Chechnya since early 2000 when he and his three brothers went over to the Russian side.

Over 100 people, mostly women, rallied in the centre of Grozny demanding the return of their sons who disappeared during Russian "mopping-up" operations.

Thursday, March 6

The Secretary of Russia's Security Council Vladimir Rushailo arrived in Chechnya for a two-day inspection visit prior to the Chechen constitutional referendum.

Friday, March 7

Another 800 soldiers left Chechnya within the reduction of the Russian military contingent in the republic.

All Russian military helicopters operating in Chechnya have been equipped with systems protecting them against fire from hand-held anti-aircraft missile launchers, a high-ranking member of the staff of the Joint Troops Group in the Northern Caucasus told Russian news agency Interfax.

Humanitarian group Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) accused Russia of a lack of effort to rescue its Dutch employee Arjan Erkel, who was kidnapped in Dagestan's capital Makhachkala by unknown persons on August 12, 2002.

Saturday, March 8

No major events.

Sunday, March 9

Musa Gazimagomadov, who has been commanding the Chechen special police forces OMON since 2000, was seriously injured in an road accident in which a lorry hit his car in the Naursky district of Chechnya, the Chechen Times reported.


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