Moscow, 10 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's chief military prosecutor said Russia's military courts have convicted 46 federal soldiers of human rights abuses in Chechnya since Russia renewed its military operations there in 1999. Aleksandr Savenkov, releasing the figure today, said 11 of the soldiers were found guilty of committing murder, and 13 were convicted of rape. The prosecutor did not specify what the men's sentences were.
Also, a military prosecutor today appealed a military court's decision to clear an army colonel of criminal responsibility for killing a young Chechen woman while serving in the breakaway republic. The North Caucasus District Military Court ruled on 31 December that Yurii Budanov was insane when he strangled Elza Kungaeva in the village of Tangi-Chu in March 2000 and could not be sentenced on the charge of murder.
Human rights activists said the ruling effectively gave impunity to soldiers who committed human rights abuses during the war in Chechnya.