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Russia: Council Of Europe Backs War Crimes Tribunal For Chechnya

Strasbourg, France; 2 April 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The Council of Europe today called for the creation of a war crimes tribunal for Chechnya if the human rights situation does not improve in the republic. The council's Parliamentary Assembly said such a tribunal should be established to try war crimes committed in Chechnya if what it described as "the current climate of impunity" in the republic continues. The council adopted the resolution by 97 votes to 27.

The vote triggered condemnation from lawmakers with several Russian political parties, who were attending the session in Strasbourg.

The council also asked Russia to immediately ratify the statute of the International Criminal Court. The court's statute has been ratified by 89 countries, but lacks support from the United States. U.S. officials object to the court on the grounds it could lead to politically motivated prosecutions of U.S. civilians and military personnel.