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Chechnya: Russia Doubts Chechens Executed Prisoners

Moscow, 4 April 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) is questioning a report that nine troops captured by Chechen rebels were executed after Moscow rejected an offer to exchange prisoners, saying it may be disinformation. FSB spokesman Aleksandr Zdanovich said the agency had intercepted radio communication between Chechen rebels, saying the soldiers were killed. But Zdanovich said the report may have been disinformation designed to stop Russian rescue efforts.

Earlier today, UN human rights chief Mary Robinson said after a tour of war-torn Chechnya that Russia should establish an independent commission to investigate human rights abuses in Chechnya. She said, "The most important thing is to bring home the scale of human rights violations, and that is why I am pressing for a national, independent commission of inquiry to bring home that scale."

Robinson said such a commission would demonstrate the Russian government's willingness to fight impunity and rebuild the trust of Chechnya's civilians.