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Russia: New Details On Alleged Civilian Killings In Chechnya

Moscow, 2 June 2000 (RFE/RL) - A report with new details on alleged civilian killings by Russian forces in Chechnya has been released by the group Human Rights Watch. The report documents the killing of at least sixty Chechen civilians in the Grozny suburb of Aldi on February 5th. The report adds in-depth details to a press release Human Rights Watch issued a few weeks after the alleged incident. A researcher with Human Rights Watch in Moscow, Malcolm Hawkes, describes the official Russian reaction to the first reports of the alleged incident as "indignant denial."

But Hawkes says there is overwhelming proof from eyewitnesses that civilians were killed.

"The mountain, the volume of evidence, the consistency of the testimony, the detail of the testimony that corroborate--when we take interviews from people in private, and separately, sometimes weeks apart--it is an absolutely overwhelming case. It is beyond doubt that a most horrible massacre occurred (in Aldi) on February 5th." Human Rights Watch says it has documented two other large-scale killings of civilians by Russian forces in Chechnya--in the village of Alkhan-Yurt and in the Staropromyslovsky disctrict of Grozny.