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Chechnya: Council Of Europe Considering War Crimes Tribunal

Strasbourg, 4 March 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The Council of Europe is considering leading an effort to establish an international tribunal for war crimes committed in Chechnya. The European human rights body said in a draft resolution today that the international community should set up a tribunal modeled on the United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to try those suspected of human rights abuses in Chechnya.

The document said that both Russian soldiers and Chechen fighters continue to commit abuses because of the "climate of impunity" in the breakaway Russian republic. It said that everyone involved in the conflict has "failed dismally" to protect Chechens from rights abuses.

Russian State Duma Deputy Pavel Krashenennikov told Ekho Moskvy radio that the Council of Europe should focus on antiterrorism efforts rather than the proposed tribunal.