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Kazakhstan

Kazakh Border Guards Chief Resigns Over Massacre

Kazakh border guard Vladislav ChelakhKazakh border guard Vladislav Chelakh
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Kazakh border guard Vladislav Chelakh
Kazakh border guard Vladislav Chelakh
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By RFE/RL's Kazakh Service
ASTANA – The head of Kazakhstan's border guards service, General Nurzhan Myrzaliev, has resigned in the wake of the mass killing of 14 border guards and a forest ranger at a remote outpost along the Kazakh-Chinese border.

In another development, Kazakh television has broadcast a videotape showing the alleged confession of the border guard accused of carrying out the massacre, 19-year-old Private Vladislav Chelakh.

The tape was provided by the Military Prosecutor-General's Office, which is leading the investigation into the May 28 killings.

Chelakh's mother, Svetlana Vashchenko, told RFE/RL that her son told her in private last week that he had not killed anyone.

A coalition of Kazakh nongovernmental organizations has announced the establishment of a public commission to monitor the investigation of the massacre.

With reporting by RIA Novosti and Interfax
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by: William Courtney from: Washington DC
June 14, 2012 12:11
An organized effort by independent non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to monitor the official investigation has the potential to be a positive development. Especially since the credibility of the government to conduct an honest criminal investigation is in question after the way the Zhanaozen case was prosecuted, the government should cooperate with and not hinder NGO monitoring. The government can increase domestic public confidence in the investigation if it allows the NGO group to have independent access to the crime scene and witnesses, to review all circumstantial evidence and testimony for the prosecution, and to involve its own independent forensic experts. Such cooperation would also build international confidence that Kazakhstan is serious about making more progress in strengthening the rule of law.

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