Moscow, 12 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia's lower house of parliament today approved the third and final reading of a limited amnesty for participants of the Chechen war.
The State Duma voted 262-8 to approve amnesty for people who committed what it called "socially dangerous acts" during the 1994-6 hostilities in Chechnya and nearby territories in southern Russia.
However, some prominent rebel leaders such as Shamil Basayev accused of terrorism by Russia will not be covered by the bill, which will take effect as soon as it is formally published. Russia is not expected, however, to try to prosecute Basayev or other well-known rebel leaders.
Correspondents say the amnesty is considered vital to Moscow's normalization of relations with Chechnya. Russian troops have withdrawn from the republic, and the Chechens elected a new president in January.