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German Official Criticizes Russia Over Chechnya

A Chechen refugee camp 22 March 2005 -- German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer called on Russia today to investigate human rights violations committed by Russian security forces in Chechnya.

In a speech to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, the German minister conceded that Chechnya has suffered from what he said were "acts of terrorist violence." But, he said, government forces reacted with repressive measures and violations of basic freedoms.

Fisher said that the Russian government is responsible for the actions.

Meanwhile, violence continued in Chechnya today. Pro-Russian Chechen officials said five people died today in a shootout between Russian soldiers and pro-Moscow Chechen police.

Also today, Russian media reported that a Russian military helicopter crashed in Chechnya, killing at least six people. Later, ITAR-TASS confirmed the crash but said nobody was killed.