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Chechnya: UN Official Discusses Human Rights

Moscow, 4 April 2000 (RFE/RL) - UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson is scheduled to meet today with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and Justice Minister Yuri Chaika on the final day of her trip to Russia. Robinson has met with Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Shoigu and Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo. She expressed her concerns about the human rights situation in Chechnya and alleged atrocities by Russian troops there. Russian officials have repeatedly rejected Robinson's criticism. The talks followed a trip to Chechnya which Robinson called frustrating because Russian officials refused her access to sites where human rights groups had reported alleged Russian war crimes against Chechen civilians. The officials said she was denied access due to security reasons and bad weather.

Also, the Federal Security Service (FSB) is quoting Chechen rebels saying they have executed nine soldiers they were holding prisoner with plans to trade them for a Russian colonel. The FSB said it had received the information from an intercepted telephone conversation between rebel commanders. There is no independent confirmation.