MAIN
 ·ABOUT US
 ·JOB OPPORTUNITY
 ·GUESTBOOK
 ·CONTACT
 ·OUR BANNERS
 ·REPUBLISH
 ·CHANGE COLOUR
  NEW PW
 ·REPORTS
 ·INTERVIEWS
 ·WEEKLY REVIEW
 ·ANALYSIS
 ·COMMENTARY
 ·OPINION
 ·ESSAYS
 ·DEBATE
 ·OTHER ARTICLES
  CHECHNYA
 ·BASIC INFO
 ·SOCIETY
 ·MAPS
 ·BIBLIOGRAPHY
  HUMAN RIGHTS
 ·ATTACKS ON DEFENDERS
 ·REPORTS
 ·SUMMARY REPORTS
  HUMANITARIAN
 ·PEOPLE
 ·ENVIRONMENT
  MEDIA
 ·MEDIA ACCESS
 ·INFORMATION WAR
  POLITICS
 ·CHECHNYA
 ·RUSSIA
 ·THE WORLD'S RESPONSE
  CONFLICT INFO
 ·NEWS SUMMARIES
 ·CASUALTIES
 ·MILITARY
  JOURNAL
 ·ABOUT JOURNAL
 ·ISSUES
  RFE/RL BROADCASTS
 ·ABOUT BROADCASTS
  LINKS

CHECHNYA LINKS LIBRARY

January 30th 2003 · Council of Europe · PRINTER FRIENDLY FORMAT · E-MAIL THIS

PACE & Conflict in the Chechen Republic - Verbatim report of debate

The following is a provisional version of the verbatim report of the debate on Chechnya at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on January 29, 2003. This provisional version may still be corrected by the speakers.

The conflict in the Chechen Republic

THE PRESIDENT. – The next item of business this afternoon is the debate on the report on the conflict in the Chechen Republic presented by Lord Judd on behalf of the Political Affairs Committee (Document 9687), with opinions presented by Mr Bindig on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights (Document 9688) and by Mr Iwiński on behalf of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography (Document 9689). Our debate will include a statement by Mr Sultygov, Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation to the Chechen Republic.

            The list of speakers is closed. Twenty-five names are on the list, and twenty-one amendments have been tabled.

            We earlier agreed to interrupt a list of speakers at about 7.05 p.m. In view of the number of amendments that have been tabled, I propose that we should interrupt the list of speakers rather earlier than this – at 6.35 p.m. – to allow time for the reply and the vote.

            Are these arrangements agreed?

            They are agreed to.

            I call Lord Judd, the rapporteur. You have eight minutes.

            Lord JUDD (United Kingdom). – First, my thanks go to Leonid Slutsky, to the Duma and to the Council of Europe Secretariat for having made our recent mission possible.

            Last week I was talking to a group of young people assembled in Moscow by Dmitri Rogozin. I asked how many of them had lost family and friends in the war, and I asked how many had lost their home. One young man got very angry with me and said, “Why do you ask for the statistics? Why do you not report about the total trauma of war for those of us who have endured it for three years?”

            We undertook our mission in the context of what had happened in the theatre in Moscow and what had happened to the civilian administrative headquarters in Grozny. Violence has no place in finding a political solution, and that point applies to all violence. State violence, disappearances, killings, beatings, torture and harassment are every bit as unacceptable as other forms of violence. Hence the recommendations of the Political Affairs Committee on the conduct of the security forces, on the more vigorous and rigorous investigation of allegations of crimes committed by the security forces and on the more expeditious and effective administration of justice with the identification and punishment of those service personnel responsible for crimes against humanity. Hence also the call for the Council of Europe’s Committee on Torture reports to be published by the Russians and for the Russians to act upon those reports.

            The Council of Europe is about humanitarian values. The humanitarian situation in the Chechen Republic remains a nightmare. The economy is shattered, refugees are desperately worried about their security and about help with reconstructing their homes. I was reassured when the President of Ingushetia – I am glad that he is with us today – told me not once, but three times last week that there could be no question, as long as he was president, of any further coerced returns of people to Grozny or to the Chechen Republic from the camps for displaced people. That was an important assurance. We look to its delivery.

            There is no military solution. A political solution is indispensable. It is only with a political solution that we can guarantee human rights and the humanitarian well-being of the people of the Chechen Republic.

            There are no short cuts. Of course a constitution will be needed as a mechanism to underwrite a political solution, but a constitution cannot be an end in itself. Of course a referendum will be essential at the right time, but I emphasise “at the right time”. The democratic and security context for that referendum is crucially important. Without that being right, a referendum will be positively dangerous. After all, referendums have been used too often by dictators in recent European history.

            First, there must be full and freely available information.  There must be public debate, a free pluralist media, genuine freedom of political parties and the rest. I see no evidence that they begin adequately to exist. In the camps in Ingushetia, I could find no one who had seen a copy of the draft constitution or who had been invited to a meeting to discuss it.

            Secondly, there must be a convincing franchise. Who exactly will be able to vote? What is the position of the Chechens who live outside the republic and of service personnel? Has the census been genuinely comprehensive? I see no evidence of these questions yet having been transparently and convincingly decided. For example, we hear that only those soldiers who are permanently stationed in the Chechen Republic will be entitled to vote. However, when we ask for a definition of “permanently stationed”, we do not get one. What is the position of people in Ingushetia? Some people tell us that they will be able to vote in the camps and some people tell us that they will be taken by bus to vote at home. Such issues have still to be resolved.

            Thirdly, there must be non-oppressive security that enables people freely to participate. Friends come with me to Grozny and no one can pretend that the necessary conditions exist. Someone asked me whether I would recommend sending observers to the referendum, but I said it was far too dangerous in parts of the Chechen Republic. That person said that if it were too dangerous for observers, how safe would it be for people freely to participate in a referendum?

            The recommendations of the Political Affairs Committee set out clearly the conditions that must be met. I must make it clear – I want there to be no doubt whatever about this – that, having seen what I have just seen last week, there is no way that I believe that these conditions can be fulfilled by 23 March. It is naďve to pretend otherwise. In my view, the recommendations of the Political Affairs Committee can be fulfilled only by a postponement of that date. My position remains as clear as it has been since I returned from Grozny to Moscow. If my suggestion is not followed, there is likely to be more bitterness, more disillusionment and more fighting. I desperately hope that the Russian authorities will come to realise that before it is too late.

            There has been a devastating, cruel and bloody civil war in the Chechen Republic. Before any constitution will work, there will have to be a lot of dialogue and reconciliation among the widest cross-section of the Chechen community. It must involve not just the power brokers, the military and the co-opted intellectuals.

            The constitution, as drafted, underlines the unity of the Chechen Republic with Russia as a whole. We are told that the constitution can be amended, but by whom? Is it by those that the constitution permits to be elected? That would be a closed argument. Indeed, who called for the referendum? How many of them were service personnel?

            We must send an unambiguous message to our Russian colleagues. Be careful. By a rushed, ill – or worse, cynically – prepared referendum without either the necessary political or security environment, you may make a terrible mistake. If you accept that the recommendations in the report of the Political Affairs Committee must be fulfilled, for God’s sake postpone the referendum.

            Meanwhile, my friends, we have a key role in the Council of Europe. The Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography should not just hold meetings and seminars. It should be actively organising to make sure that there is international co-operation, including European co-operation with the Russian authorities, to bring humanitarian relief and the resources for reconstruction to the region. The Political Affairs Committee should not just pass resolutions.

            The Political Affairs Committee should not merely pass resolutions – we can all pass resolutions, and I get tired of playing that game. It should be taking practical steps to ensure that it actively promotes wider dialogue in which the broadest possible cross-section of Chechen people can be involved. The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights has a responsibility to reassure us on the human rights situation. At this juncture, the Council of Europe has an historic destiny, and we must fulfil it.

            I am sometimes asked why we should be preoccupied with this problem in one republic of Russia with less than 1% of the Russian population. What is its wider significance, given the battle against global terrorism? It is absolutely central to the battle against global terrorism, because if we get a political solution that works, we will show to the wider world that, in the midst of bitterness and confrontation, it is possible to find a rational, political way forward to which a sufficiently wide cross-section of people can subscribe and on which they can build their future.

            If we fail in Chechnya, the message will go out to the wider world that perhaps the extremists are right. Other people can pass resolutions, hold hearings, have seminars and expensive conferences in Strasbourg, but when it comes to the crunch they cannot deliver a political way forward. The extremists will say, “Listen to us. We are  your friends. We are the people who will look after your interests”. The hundreds of thousands of decent, moderate, wise Islamic people, many of whom I am pleased to say are my personal friends, will be undermined and marginalised.  We will move into a new dark age in which the world will be increasingly divided, with the Islamic world dominated by unrepresentative extremists on one side and increasingly intransigent governments on the other. Do we want our children and our grandchildren to inherit that nightmare? Chechnya is very much a part of that scenario. For those reasons, I beg our Russian colleagues to think again about 23 March.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you, Lord Judd. The next speaker in Mr Bindig on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights. You have three and a half minutes.

            Mr BINDIG (Germany) said that the human rights situation in Chechnya continued to be poor. There had been serious violations on both sides of the conflict. There had been an increase in violence against civilian targets by Chechen rebels. The Russian authorities were also involved; arrested people had disappeared, and there was evidence of illegal killings. Russian NGOs had evidence that the military was responsible, but that the perpetrators had not been brought to justice. There was a climate of impunity in Chechnya. Such human rights violations must cease and the punishment of past crimes was necessary for the process of normalisation to begin. The amendments he proposed would seek to strengthen the resolution for this purpose, and would state a clear position on this poor human rights situation.

            THE PRESIDENT. – I call Mr Iwiński to present the opinion of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography. You have three and a half minutes.

            Mr IWIŃSKI (Poland). – This was my sixth visit to Chechnya in recent years. After the outbreak of the second armed conflict in Chechnya, the humanitarian situation continues to be very difficult. There are still thousands of internally displaced persons living in fifteen centres in the republic, and there are refugees in neighbouring regions of Russia, mainly Ingushetia.

            Fortunately, people are slowly returning to Chechnya – 80 000 between May and November last year. The new census shows that the population of the republic is just above 1 million, only about 12 000 of whom are Russians. The exact size of the population is a crucial issue in Chechnya, given the possible referendum. In Ingushetia, there are 64 000 Chechen refugees, 17 000 of whom live in tents in five camps. You can imagine what that must be like. They are living in tents in winter. After having spoken to them, I am convinced that the main obstacle to their return is not the bad social and economic conditions, but the precarious security situation.

            I want to express my satisfaction at the fact that the president of Ingushetia, Mr Zyazikov, has on several occasions stated publicly that the refugees can stay in Ingushetia as long as they wish. Ingushetia is a small republic with 85% unemployment, so that is a heavy burden for them.

            In Chechnya itself, social and economic activities have been developing. The republic produces 5 000 tonnes of oil daily, and its cereal production is sufficient. Transport, schools, free universities, hospitals and banks are functioning. You will find more details about that in my text. Despite all those efforts, the living conditions in Chechnya, especially in Grozny, which has 200 000 inhabitants, are dramatic. The centre of the city is almost completely destroyed: it looks like Warsaw after the nazi war.

            The main task is the reconstruction of housing. It will take about five or six years, and will cost $100 million a year. The second major challenge is the creation of new jobs. It is clear that the humanitarian situation in Chechnya and in neighbouring republics, especially Ingushetia, will remain precarious for a long time. Refugees and IDPs will continue to rely on outside support, so it is essential that the international community supports humanitarian operations and does not decrease its contribution.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you, Mr Iwiński.

            The Assembly has agreed that speeches in the debate will be limited to four minutes. Mr Sultygov will speak after the representatives of political groups, and will have eight minutes. In the debate, I call first Mr Kovalev to speak on behalf of the Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group.

            Mr Serguei KOVALEV (Russian Federation) agreed there was “a climate of impunity”. It was impossible to conduct a referendum in March because of violence and intimidation. Simply to delay it would be no good. Steps needed to be taken to improve the situation. There needed to be negotiations. Parts of the resolution were flights of fancy. It talked about independent political parties and an independent media. At present there were no parties or media. There was a state of emergency, which was undeclared because it was easier to lie to the world and say there would be a referendum. There could not be a referendum in a state of emergency. Russia must not be manipulated and must not stop trying to achieve a political settlement.

            THE PRESIDENT. – I call Mr Atkinson from the United Kingdom on behalf of the European Democratic Group.

Mr ATKINSON (United Kingdom). – Madam President, why does the Council of Europe continue to concern itself with Chechyna? It is in response to Order 516, which the Assembly approved when it agreed to the Russian accession in 1996. It is a condition that the Assembly specifically monitor the situation in Chechnya until a political and negotiated solution brings an end to the conflict – those were its very words. It enabled a number of our colleagues to support the Russian accession who would otherwise not have done so. Indeed, it swung the vote but for which history might have been very different – for Europe, as well as for Russia – if Russia had not joined at that time. Thus, we must pursue the Chechen issue until it has been resolved to the satisfaction of this Assembly, which will be when democracy, human rights and the rule of law have been restored.

            We should once again applaud the work of the original Ad hoc Committee on Chechnya, the joint working party that replaced it and, in particular, the tireless work of our colleagues, led by Lord Judd, who undertake to visit the region – in my view very courageously – to report back to the Assembly. We should also applaud the work of the Secretary General’s staff in the office of the special representative in Chechnya.

            The involvement of the Council of Europe in Chechnya represents the international dimension which, we have always maintained, offers the best hope of a solution. That is why we welcomed President Putin’s suggestion to President Schieder in November that he should look to our Assembly to assist in finding that solution. It is in response to that request that we have sought the advice of the Venice Commission on the draft constitution that is to be put to the people of Chechnya in March. As that advice will not be forthcoming in time, and the right conditions may not be in place, Lord Judd is proposing today that the referendum should be postponed.

            The European Democratic Group discussed this proposal today. Many of us sympathised with the view that it is essential for the restoration of stability in Chechnya that the process of moving from a military operation to a political solution, which President Putin has said he favours, should be very carefully prepared, and with Lord Judd’s warning of the consequences of a bungled referendum and a flawed constitution if it is not. Many more also sympathise with the view that for progress to be made, it is essential that the timetable be adhered to and that, in any case, it provides for amending the constitution that is to be put to a referendum in the process that will follow.

            Thus, my group decided not to support any postponement of the referendum, and will wish to support the amendment to be proposed by Mr Rogozin, which, he hopes, will respond to the concerns of Lord Judd. The rapporteurs on the monitoring of the Russian commitments will recall that, last April, we commended Russia on the progress that it was making, and we foresaw the possibility, provided that we were satisfied with the conduct of its forthcoming elections, of coming forward with a recommendation to end our work. That must also depend, however, on what happens in Chechnya. That is why we urge Russia to take full advantage of the assistance that the Council of Europe can provide and that we must continue to make available.

            THE PRESIDENT. – The next speaker is Mr Chaklein from Russia speaking on behalf of the Group of the Unified European Left.

            Mr CHAKLEIN (Russian Federation) said that his group supported measures to promote peace and human rights. Some of his group wanted to postpone the referendum. There should be a clear policy towards a settlement, and this should include a referendum on the new constitution.

            However, in Chechnya and the surrounding area, there was not wide support for calling a referendum. He believed that if the Assembly laid down conditions to ensure a referendum it would upset the delicate balance existing in Chechnya and enable those opposed to democracy to disrupt the system further

            (Mr Mercan, Vice-President of the Assembly, took the Chair in place of Mrs Wohlwend.)

            THE PRESIDENT. – I now call Mrs Vermot-Mangold.

            Mrs VERMOT-MANGOLD (Switzerland) shared the rapporteur’s opinion that a referendum would be unhelpful. She believed conditions that would enable a referendum to take place would not occur by 21 March 2003. She believed the referendum should take place later in the year. Her group agreed with the recommendations of Lord Judd. Those who were entitled to vote faced obstruction by the military and government in gaining official electoral documentation. She was also concerned that constituents who had dispersed from the area would be encouraged to return before any satisfactory regime was established. She recognised that the people of Chechnya had more urgent concerns than politics. She said Chechnya suffered a great trauma in the war. She highlighted the Russian military practice of isolating villages for torture and interrogation. A referendum taken by an abused population would not be a good start for democracy in that country.

            THE PRESIDENT. – I now call Mr Spindelegger.

            Mr SPINDELEGGER (Austria) said that violence was ongoing in Chechnya. The Council of Europe had to decide whether to defer the referendum or not, and in doing so had to consider the consequences of deferment. Without a referendum there would be no possibility of free elections and therefore no possibility of establishing a free government. He said that this was not an easy decision. The European People’s Party had concluded that a referendum should go ahead. He hoped that this would provide a glimmer of hope to some of Chechnya’s population. If the referendum was not held, there would never be free elections in Chechnya.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you. I call Mr Sultygov, the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation to the Chechen Republic.

            Mr SULTYGOV (Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation to the Chechen Republic) said that it was an important day; the major question was how to move towards a reconstructed Chechnya. There must first be full respect for the standards of law, for the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation and for the rights of the Russian Federation to determine its own fate. They had chosen a referendum because the arrangements after the first Chechen war led to sham elections in 1997. It was not right now to tell the Chechen people that they had no right to self-determination.

            The Russian Federation was in favour of speeding up the political process. All the necessary documents had been presented in December 2002. On 19 December, the text of the draft constitution and law were published in the newspapers. All in Chechnya should be able to read these by February, well before the referendum date. Some 50 000 texts had just been distributed and there were about 540 000 citizens in the electorate. Following a referendum, it would be possible to move on to appointing judicial authorities and go on from there. Candidates would come from the opposition as well, including people still bearing arms today. He was convinced that the Chechen authorities would do all that they could to ensure that the people participated. Two hundred organisations would be represented. He had met fourteen representatives of the Chechen parliament who had expressed their support.

            The moment of truth had come. It was necessary to demonstrate determination to establish the rule of law or the extremists would get the message that it was all right for them to carry on. The referendum should take place; otherwise there would be shame and bitterness. The Russian authorities would do all in their power to make sure of the security of the citizens in the run-up to the referendum.  He would push to have all alleged breaches of human rights investigated, but if the referendum had to go ahead without the support of the Assembly, it would leave a bitter taste.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you. I call Mr Solé Tura.

            Mr SOLÉ TURA (Spain) said that he had listened to the previous speaker saying that it was already decided that the referendum should be held. The matter should have been approached in a different manner. The Assembly could not be spoken to in those terms. The Assembly said it was not appropriate, not time to hold the referendum and Mr Sultygov said it would be held.  It was difficult to establish the political centre of Chechnya. It was important for the referendum to be held in a calm manner in the right climate. The referendum should not go ahead. A referendum under conditions which were not right would not serve a useful purpose.

            THE PRESIDENT. – I now call Mr Naumov.

            Mr NAUMOV (Russian Federation) said that attempts to establish normal life were being complicated. The tactics of the troops needed to be changed but some fighters were trying to undermine the political process. A political settlement was the only solution, and that was why a special programme for the economy had been introduced in Chechnya.

A new constitution was necessary but he did not agree with the time frame. Major terrorist acts made it difficult to hold a referendum. There were other problems with the date of 23 March – in particular, not all sides were behind it. A phased political settlement was needed to include all parties, including those fighters who wanted peace. He supported paragraph 6 of the draft resolution recommending that the referendum should be postponed until the proper conditions were in place.

            THE PRESIDENT. – I call Mrs Zwerver to speak on behalf of the Socialist Group.

            Mrs ZWERVER (Netherlands). – Let me begin with a quote from Mr Bindig’s excellent report. He says “A climate of impunity…reigns in the Chechen Republic which makes normal life in the Republic impossible.”

            It is true that the situation in Chechnya is not normal. It is the only place in Europe where civilians continue to be abducted, beaten, tortured, raped, murdered or disappear. That happens every day. It is a shame that the Russian authorities are not serious when it comes to punishing those who are responsible for such serious human rights violations. It is a shame that Colonel Budanov, who raped and murdered a young Chechen girl – that was proved – was not convicted for his crimes, on the ground of “temporary insanity”. What happens in Chechnya nowadays looks more like permanent insanity, especially in the case of Russia and its troops.

            In a climate like that, it is impossible to hold a fair referendum. It is actually far too early to speak about a referendum at all. Russia must be required to comply with the Council of Europe resolutions, show respect for human rights, establish a meaningful accountability process in the context of investigations of abuses, and let UN human rights monitors start negotiations with President Maskhadov, stop the forced return of refugees, allow free access to the independent mass media and provide safe access to Chechnya for humanitarian organisations. Arjan Erkel, head of the mission of Médecins sans Frontičres, is still in the hands of his kidnappers after more than six months. It is not safe for international organisations to work in Chechnya.

            Only a complete demilitarisation can stabilise the situation in Chechnya. It is not possible to talk about peace at gunpoint.

            We, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, must act on our own reports. Russia did not meet our demands. It is time that we evaluated our recommendations of past years and drew clear conclusions. Every time, we conclude that there is no improvement in the situation and that a political solution should be found. We talk nicely about human rights and how they should be observed, but we do not want to put any sanction against Russia on paper. In a way, we become guilty ourselves: we hide behind beautiful words like “human rights”, but it seems that they do not apply to Chechen citizens.

The situation in Chechnya has not changed, and I believe that it is high time that Russia was the object of effective sanctions. The suspension of voting rights is such a sanction. If we, as a Council of Europe, do not dare to take such steps, we will go on discussing and evaluating prospects for political solutions for years without bringing peace to the region. It is becoming like waiting for Godot, who never came.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you. I call next Mr Hancock.

            Mr HANCOCK (United Kingdom). – Most of us in the Hemicycle will have experienced the horrors of Chechnya through the eyes and the words of the journalists who have been there or through the snapshot presentations that we have heard from our colleagues. Today, we once again have had the opportunity to hear the thoughts of our members who have visited the region and who have seen the horrors at first hand before reflecting on them.

            I have known Frank Judd for some time and I grew up admiring him. We have had experience of the same city for thirty-five years, and I hope that we are close friends. I admire his work enormously, but I was disappointed with the report, Frank. You have been to the region and seen what is happening so many times that you are probably eligible to vote in the referendum when many others will not have that opportunity. I was disappointed with the report because it did not insist on the postponement of a referendum. You asked for a postponement, but we should have insisted on one. Are we suggesting that a referendum should be held but that if it fails, we will be able to hold it again? Who is dreaming that fool’s dream?

            Our colleagues from Russia have told us that they will hold a referendum and that they will force a constitution through in one way or another. That is not a recipe for a future in which people will be able to work together. Of course, we all aspire to the goals expressed by Mr Sultygov, who spoke on behalf of the Russian President. We want there to be the rule of law. However, I was recently in Russia and I was surprised by the way in which the Council of Europe is being used by the Russian media to suggest that things have changed substantially in Grozny and in Chechnya. We are being used to suggest that the schools are now being filled, that the houses are being rebuilt and that jobs are available. However, when we read the reports and the definitive statements, we realise that that is not true.

            The big steps have not been taken and the ground has not been prepared for a referendum. In one amendment, our Russian colleagues have asked us not to support the postponement of the referendum, although they concede that there might be some slight delay. However, they ask us to delete some of the words in the existing rules so that they refer to people who are resident in the area but not to the displaced citizens of Chechnya. It is beyond satire to suggest that soldiers who are fighting in the region on behalf of the Russian Government should be able to vote, but that the people who have been displaced, because of the horrors that have taken place, should be denied a vote. What is our role in that?

            I was dreadfully sorry to hear part of David Atkinson’s speech. I have a lot of time for him, because he knows Russia very well. Like me, he has spoken in this Chamber as a great supporter of Russia, but his words were not about the hope that might exist. There will be no hope if we get it wrong. For goodness’ sake, we cannot contemplate agreeing to a referendum when there is every chance that it will not produce what we want. There will be no hope and the horrors will continue. More people will die and we will have another debate or another three debates on the issue, with Frank Judd presenting more reports to us. However, at the end of the day, we will not have moved the argument forward.

            We must resist the amendments and toughen up Frank’s report. I hope that the Chamber will accept my suggestion, which is that we should insist on a postponement. Failure to comply with that will seriously undermine Russia’s right to be in this arena.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you, Mr. Hancock. I now call Mr Zavgayev.

            Mr ZAVGAYEV (Russian Federation) believed that Lord Judd’s approach to the referendum could play into the hands of those against democracy. He wished to highlight the fact that Lord Judd had not visited the region in Chechnya where his brother had been killed. He did not understand Lord Judd’s approach to those who were terrorising the Chechen people. He was grateful that the report had concluded that progress was being made in social, economic and political spheres. He recognised that there were major problems, in housing and other areas, which were being tackled. The majority of the population was supportive of reconciliation and a draft constitution had been produced in consultation with all social groups. Without democracy in Chechnya there would be no long term solution to the conflict. The Russian Federation called on the Council of Europe to allow Chechnya the right to determine its own future.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you, Mr Zavgayev. I now call Mr Martínez Casań.

            Mr MARTÍNEZ CASAŃ (Spain) said that it was now time to find a solution to the problems in Chechnya, a solution that would provide the Chechen people with the means to live with dignity and normality. The conditions were not perfect for a referendum but they rarely were. He asked if not now, when? The referendum would pave the way to peace.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you Mr Martínez-Casań. I call Mr Etherington.

            Mr ETHERINGTON (United Kingdom). – For more than three years, we have debated this issue at every session. I do not want to dwell too much on the past, but we need to know where we stand so that we have some perspective in the debate. I am concerned when I hear an eminent colleague such as Rudolf Bindig stating that state terrorism still occurs in Chechnya. That really concerns me, especially when people are advocating that a referendum be held within eight weeks. The situation does not sound very stable. I remind colleagues that we keep being told that there has been a slight improvement, but we are still not satisfied. The reality is more stark than that.

            The Assembly tried to take action against the Russian state – not very strong action, but the strongest we could take – by removing credentials. We were severely undermined because the Committee of Ministers would not give us any backing. That is the background. When it was realised that we were getting no support, a new tactic was tried, which was to work with the Russian Federation. I am not sure that that has been much of a success, even at this stage. I accept that there have been some improvements, but whether they go far enough for us to accept that Russia is complying with the requirements under the Council of Europe’s Constitution is open to severe doubt.

            I accept that the Russian state has every right to do all that it can to stamp out terrorism of its citizens, but I have never accepted that any state belonging to the Council of Europe has the right to use terrorism itself, no matter what the circumstances. However, it seems that that has continued. We have heard from our colleague from Holland about the disgusting failure to press charges against an army general. That is not satisfactory. We are discussing stability, but do we have any guarantee that this referendum, if it goes ahead, will be accepted by the so-called rebels or the so-called terrorists? Have we got any guarantee that it will lead to any improvement?

            Frank Judd was never in favour of action against Russia: he has always wanted to work with the Russians to try to improve the situation. That is admirable, and it deserves some response, but I am not sure that we have a good response. I am encouraged by the fact that there is a difference of opinion between Russian parliamentarians – that is healthy – but whether that extends to what is happening on the ground in Chechnya is another matter. I urge you to support Lord Judd, because he is a friend of Russia and he has tried to do all he can to help. By undermining what he is doing, you will undermine yourselves. That is the reality.

            If President Putin says that he wants the co-operation of the Council of Europe, why does he not bring forward the proposals for a referendum?

            THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you, Mr Etherington. I call Mr Yáńez-Barnuevo.

            Mr YÁŃEZ-BARNUEVO (Spain) said that in the debate there had been criticism of  the Russian approach to terrorism. There had been harsher criticism of terrorism conducted by some elements on the Chechen side. It was necessary to establish whether it was timely to have a referendum in March. He believed it was necessary to support some kind of consultation. It might be possible through the mediation of the Assembly to achieve better conditions for the referendum to take place. Those familiar with the referendum and the constitution had told him that they did approach basic standards of appropriateness. He echoed his colleague in supporting the amendments designed to make a referendum more viable.

            THE PRESIDENT. – I call Mrs Severinsen from Denmark.

            Mrs SEVERINSEN (Denmark). – Thank you, Mr President. First, let me praise the enormous work of Lord Judd, and his dedicated way of convincing everybody of the necessity of finding a peaceful solution to this tragic conflict. I also want to stress that this report is the result of a splendid effort, made together with Mr Bindig and Mr Iwiński. Their work is the main reason why the Chechen question has not been forgotten on the world scene because, here in the Council of Europe at least, the issue is put on the agenda again and again.

            Lord Judd emphasises in his report the importance of the participation in negotiations of the political element among the Chechen people, in order to reach an acceptable political outcome. The Chechen people must contribute to the negotiations on the future of the Chechen Republic. I am particularly concerned about the forthcoming referendum on 23 March. The draft for a new constitution has been elaborated only in close co-operation between Moscow and the present Chechen administration, without the participation of the earlier elected representatives. In this context, it is important to note that the referendum has not been debated among the Chechens and that those who represent the Mashadov side are strongly against holding a referendum in the present circumstances. I understand their objections.

            The fact that many refugees still reside outside the Chechen Republic and that 80 000 law enforcement troops are stationed in the republic will make a fair election impossible. I therefore strongly support paragraph 6 of the resolution. Before the referendum takes place, there must be a solution to ensure that the listed conditions are met. There is now a lack of public security, a lack of a transparent voters’ list, no respect of freedom of association of political parties, no democratic debate, no independent media and no transparency in the referendum process. I am not sure that these conditions can be met in the next one and a half months.

            I hope that today’s debate will convince the Russians to engage in an open and free debate on the referendum. Now is the time to use this opportunity and to commit to the values of the Council of Europe. If we do not ensure that the referendum is free and fair, the Chechens will have no ownership of the new constitution. We run the risk of weakening the political wing in Chechnya – those who want a truly peaceful political solution and who want to negotiate.

            I urge our Russian colleagues to listen to what is being said today in the Assembly – I know that some of you do. As Lord Judd said, do not create more bitterness and more resistance.

            THE PRESIDENT. – I call Mr Rogozin from the Russian Federation.

            Mr ROGOZIN (Russian Federation) asked whether the Assembly had only heard from terrorists as to what the situation was like in Chechnya. Lord Judd had previously seen life returning to normal in Grozny.

            The Assembly had said that all Chechens should vote but there were many other ethnic groups in Chechnya. Chechnya was only one of eighty nine constituent areas of the Russian Federation.

            Criminal investigations were taking place but one reason for the lack of progress was the murder of Russian law enforcers.

            The Russian Federation had published a constitution for Chechnya out of consideration for the views of the Council of Europe. They welcomed suggestions from the Venice Commission.

            He asked the Assembly to show him one example of a refugee who had been forced back to Chechnya.

            A referendum was not an end in itself, but the beginning of a political process. He asked the Council of Europe to work with them and send observers. The Russian Federation wanted peace in Chechnya and needed to transfer power to the Chechen people.

            THE PRESIDENT. – I call Mr Neguta from Moldova.

            Mr NEGUTA (Moldova) said that it was important to remember the

dynamics of the situation. There had been international terrorism and violation of human rights. Then the events of 11 September 2001 had affected the Chechen issue.

            The decision to hold a referendum on 23 March had created divisions. Some stressed the importance of a referendum, others said it was not possible to hold it. He questioned whether it was realistic to discuss withdrawing the military from Chechnya and getting rid of the curfew. Some people wanted a referendum while others did not. There had never been this level of scrutiny of another Council of Europe member. If the Assembly voted for paragraph 6 of the draft resolution it would be making the proper contribution.

            THE PRESIDENT. – I call Mrs Carroll.

            Mrs CARROLL (Observer from Canada). – This is the third time that I have had the privilege to participate in a debate in this Assembly on the conflict in Chechnya, having done so in April 2000 and again last year during a debate on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. What is distressing is that some of the fundamental factors of impunity and violations of human rights against the civilian population, which have been fuelling the conflict, have not been resolved despite occasional signs of progress.

            Without justice being done, it will not be possible to achieve lasting peace. Acts of terrorism such as have taken place in recent months must of course be unreservedly condemned, but as the current and former Presidents of this Assembly have repeatedly pleaded, we must not allow human rights to be a casualty of the fight against terrorism. Actions that victimise civilian populations, that fail to meet obligations under Council of Europe standards, or that fail the test of democratic legitimacy may be counter-productive, increasing rather than reducing the threat of future terrorism.

            Much of the debate in the present circumstances has revolved around the problems of proceeding with the proposed constitutional referendum scheduled for 23 March. If that takes place under unsatisfactory conditions, it could aggravate the ongoing conflict instead of promoting the long-term political solution that is desperately needed.

            Of course it is essential that the Chechen people be given the means that will allow them to choose their own properly constituted government without having a solution imposed on them. Military occupation must eventually give way to some agreed form of political normalisation, but how can that happen unless the preconditions, as outlined in the Political Affairs Committee report, are met in good faith?

            The former head of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe assistance group in Chechnya has taken the same view as Lord Judd that holding a referendum in the next few months would be premature. Moreover, it is very disturbing in that regard that the mandate of the OSCE mission, as limited as it was, ended at the end of last year because the Russian authorities would not agree to its renewal.

            I was surprised that the OSCE Assembly president, Bruce George, made no mention of that recent action here in the Assembly on Monday, but where were the outcries from governments when the OSCE was expelled? This Assembly should call on the Russian Government to agree on a new mandate for the OSCE assistance group in Chechnya, which includes human rights monitoring.

            The withdrawal of the OSCE places even more onus on the Council of Europe as the sole international body remaining actively engaged and, possibly, more aggressive initiatives from the Council of Europe may imperil our status. I understand that the mandate for our technical experts was extended only for six months and not the expected one year, but as I said in the committee yesterday, this war is frequently described in the Canadian media as a “forgotten war”, overshadowed by strategic considerations between a current and a former power, and in which, on the whole, western governments, including the European governments represented on the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, have remained relatively passive.

            I am a mother. I have a tall, beautiful 28-year-old son. If I were a Russian mother and his body were returned to me in a body bag, I would be inconsolable. I am a woman. If I were a Chechen woman and I found the body of my husband or lover mutilated on the streets of Grozny, my anger would be unquenchable.

            There will always be another international crisis to distract us from this ongoing conflagration if we allow it to do so. Today it is Iraq. Tomorrow, perhaps, it will be North Korea, but the horrors of Chechnya continue.

            Lord Judd’s work is commendable. I believe that he is committed to his tasks. It is a vital task because, as I have said, only the Council of Europe has any entrée into the quagmire of Chechnya. He has called on the Committee of Ministers to take urgent steps to bring the report’s recommendations to the Government of the Russian Federation and to press for action. In that regard, I strongly support his recommendations.

            THE PRESIDENT. – The next speaker is Mr Olekas.

            Mr OLEKAS (Lithuania). – I congratulate the Rapporteur, Lord Judd, on the work that he has done on preparing the draft resolution on this sensitive issue. As a parliamentarian of a neighbouring country of Russia, Lithuania, I wish Russia and its people all the best, but the question today is about peace or war, the role of the referendum and how it should be organised.

            Mr Rogozin asked where we get the information about Chechnya. I got that information from the official statement from the Russian Duma, signed by Mr Rogozin and shown to all members of parliament. That statement says: “The State Duma supports the new initiatives of the President of the Russian Federation, Mr Putin, the Administration of the Chechen Republic and several political parties and other public associations to hold a referendum on the draft Constitution of the Chechen Republic.

            It was an initiative of the President of the Russian Federation. I think that that is the answer to the question of who tried to organise the referendum. The task of the Russian Government is to hold the referendum in March on the status of Chechnya as a part of Russia. It is written in the official text of the draft constitution.

            The popular vote against the existing constitution of the Chechens was recognised by the Russian Federation in 1997. I think you all remember the election of the President of the Chechen republic and the parliament on 27 January 1997. It was observed by the OSCE and recognised by the Russian Federation. The then Russian President, Boris Yeltsin, and the then Prime Minister Chernomyrdin sent a telegram of congratulation.

            That was in 1997, but what do we have now? We have the push on the new constitution and the new referendum. We have criticised colleagues from Azerbaijan for setting out in a referendum too many amendments. As a result, there is the old constitution plus some new laws. We need an answer from the Venice Commission.

            What is the situation in Chechnya now? President Putin has announced that 30 000 people were killed in the Chechen war. The director of the Russian Federal Security Service, Nikolaj Patrushev, said in December 2002 that more than 1 800 cleansing operations were carried out in Chechnya. That is five operations a day. During the operations the army, under the SFB, took part in mass arrests and other activities.

            Before the referendum we need a state of national rapprochement. It is reasonable to announce a truce and unconditionally to start negotiations with the legitimately elected former Chechen Government, thus demonstrating respect for law despite hostility and confrontation.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you, Mr Olekas. I call Mr Ateş from Turkey.

            MR ATEŞ (Turkey). – First, I thank the rapporteurs for the good work that they have done.

            The tragic situation and current level of tension in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation continues to be a concern for us all. Stability in the Caucasus region is closely related to the Chechen issue. Maintenance of peace and security in the wider Caucasus region has a direct impact on the stability and welfare of our region. I believe that a political settlement is the only viable solution for a durable peace and security in the region.

            The parameters of a political settlement were laid down in the Final Declaration adopted by OSCE at the Istanbul Summit in 1999. I believe that dialogue between the two sides could be the only way to bring about a lasting solution to the issue. However, I and many others are concerned with the deadlock in the political dialogue process. At the same time, we are deeply concerned about the plight of Chechen refugees in the entire region as relief efforts, both local and international, remain inadequate. I cannot but share the concerns of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Council of Europe about the closure of the displaced person’s camps and involuntary displacement of their inhabitants to Chechnya.

            I believe that a heavy responsibility rests on the shoulders of the Council of Europe. As one of the main European institutions standing for the protection of human rights, as well as democracy and the supremacy of the rule of law, I very much welcome and appreciate the work and efforts of the Council’s experts who are working at the office of the Special Representative of the Russian President. Indeed, following the cessation of activities of the OSCE office in Znamenskoye, as of 31 December 2002. the Council is the only western institution dealing with the human rights and rule of law aspect of the situation in Chechnya.

            Continuation of this mission is essential if we are to prepare ground that is conducive to a political settlement. Therefore, I would like strongly to call upon the Russian authorities to continue and accelerate co-operation with the Council’s experts. Providing the necessary conditions to hold a referendum, with good timing, on the draft constitution would be an important move to that end. Steps taken by the federal authorities to protect human rights in the region would also prove Russia’s readiness to reach a political solution to the problem.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you, Mr Ateş. I call Mrs Nabholz-Haidegger.

            Mrs NABHOLZ-HAIDEGGER (Switzerland) said that the Council of Europe was the only Assembly which had a major responsibility in deciding whether to proceed with the referendum. Her country believed that referendums were an instrument of peace. However, she did not believe that a referendum would be useful at this time. The ultimate success of a referendum would depend on the efforts made to stabilise the region before such a vote took place.

            If the conditions for a referendum were not considered to be fair and free, it would suggest that any consequent election would not be democratic. She believed, following her visit to the region, that a referendum at this time would only provide a further source of conflict.

            THE PRESIDENT. – I call Mr Slutsky.

            Mr SLUTSKY (Russian Federation) said that the Assembly had been the major partner of the Russian Federation. A great deal had been achieved, for example, in solving humanitarian issues. This was much better than the situation which had existed in some other states in the aftermath of war. Lord Judd had called for a rapid political solution. He had agreed with Lord Judd in the past but he could not do so today.  He could not agree that it was right to postpone the referendum. He hoped for understanding of this approach.

            People had been coming back to their rebuilt hospitals and schools. People knew about the texts and needed the referendum. 300 proposed amendments to the constitution had already been received. This showed the people’s desire to be involved. It was a bottom-up approach. The President, Mr Putin, would not ban the referendum. He would not reverse the political process which had been started.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you. I call Ms Tevdoradze. She is not in the Chamber. I therefore call Mr Gross.

            Mr GROSS (Switzerland) said he understood what the previous speakers wanted but blue-eyed optimism was not possible. It was necessary to understand the basis of the referendum. The price was deep-seated, lengthy discussion which had not been possible. It was possible to come too early to the political process, with the result that the losers would not accept their loss, as well as too late.

            An illustration of this was East Timor where a referendum had been held far too soon, and the militia had been ready to start war if they lost the referendum. They would not accept their loss. That was a dreadful lesson from history. That was why Lord Judd’s report was right.

            THE PRESIDENT. – I call Mrs Yarygina.

            Ms YARYGINA (Russian Federation) said that, speaking late in the debate she had the privilege of responding to the foregoing speeches. She was disappointed at the outcome of the debate. She felt helpless. No constructive suggestions had been made for the criteria to be met before holding a referendum. The debate had been academic and had not defined standards.

            Chechnya was in an odd situation. Ten or fifteen years ago Russia did not understand the words liberalisation and democracy; but progress had been made. The initiative for a referendum had come from the grass roots and the government could not ignore this. Indeed when she had met Lord Judd in Moscow he had been introduced to young Chechen students who wanted to return to Chechnya to set up a democratic political system.

            THE PRESIDENT. - Thank you. I now call Ms Ragnarsdóttir.

            Ms RAGNARSDÓTTIR (Iceland). – As always, my good friend, Lord Judd, has prepared an insightful report that highlights the main developments, concerns, challenges and prospects facing the region. I thank him.

            I fully concur with the rapporteur that it is highly important to strive to get the political elements among the fighters back into the political process and to draw lessons from the processes in other troubled regions. The end justifies the means. If we continue to do our utmost to institutionalise the conflict and to move it into the political arena, we will have come a long way by marginalizing the radical elements. In Chechnya, there are no wars to be won. Peace must be won. That is why the Assembly’s recommendations, such as the one before us, are as valid as ever.

            I have grave concerns. The main issue before us is the proposed referendum in March. Let me make it clear that I am against the referendum being held in March. It must be postponed. Let me explain why. As long as the Chechens in and around Chechnya are too afraid to report to the office of the Council of Europe in Grozny, the referendum must be postponed. As long as the Council of Europe’s good offices are being undermined, any referendum will be too early. As long as displaced people cannot be guaranteed the basic right to vote in an open and transparent manner in free and monitored elections, any referendum will be too early.

            If the Council of Europe endorses a March referendum in these circumstances, I fear that the Organisation’s image will go down the drain. Is the Council of Europe to be in the pocket of one of its member states, so that it acts as that country’s resistance to other organisations? Are we to walk blindfolded towards our own demise? Russia has to be able to stomach criticism. A game of political deterrence does not work in its favour in this Assembly, and I am sorry to say that to my good Russian friends.

            Judging by the fact that our constituents worry about the dilution of the Council of Europe’s basic principles and that the EU has taken over those principles, I am led to the conclusion that, if we endorse the March referendum, we will add irreversibly to their grave concerns. If the leaders of the political groups support Russia’s demands, they will not be working for the betterment of the Assembly.

            This is a grave matter for the future of Chechnya, for the future of Russia and for the future of this forum. I hope that we are lucky enough to take the right decision.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you. The last speaker is Ms Auken.

            Ms AUKEN (Denmark). – Thank you, Mr President. I also want to thank the three rapporteurs for their work. They have made the position clear and no one in the debate has presented another picture of what is happening in Chechnya. Against that background, I cannot understand how anyone in the Council could support the plan for a referendum now.

            Can you imagine that the opponents of the proposed constitution will have a fair chance to campaign? People cannot even move freely, and the Russian authorities–and even some of our Russian colleagues here today–call every Chechen who is against their plans a terrorist. We experienced that in Copenhagen in November when Russia declared Akhmed Zakayev, who is mentioned in Lord Judd’s report, to be a terrorist. It insisted on his extradition to Russia. He was imprisoned on the basis of those serious accusations and Russia assured Denmark that it had clear evidence of his guilt. After a month, Denmark received some papers that confirmed absolutely nothing, so Mr Zakayev was released immediately. He is now in the United Kingdom, and the same thing is happening again.

            Can you imagine Mr Zakayev participating in the public discussions before the referendum? We are not talking about a perfect referendum, and I agree with my colleague from my political group, Mr Chaklein, that it would be harsh to insist on it taking place in the best possible conditions. We are so far from achieving such conditions that even to use the words “free and fair” is nonsense. Many Chechen people will be kept away from this process.

            We must follow the proposals of the rapporteurs if we are to maintain any credibility. The referendum is a long way from upholding our values. Lord Judd was right when he said that it will be open to abuse by extremists. I hope that we will stand up for our values and maintain our credibility.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you Mrs Auken.

            That concludes the list of speakers. May I ask members to turn off their mobile phones in the Chamber? I invite Mr Sultygov to reply to the debate. You have four minutes.

   Mr SULTYGOV (Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation) said that a lot of unfounded points had been made, for example on the draft constitution and the referendum. There needed to be a political process. The essence of the crisis was confrontation following the disruption of the constitutional process some years ago. He said that he would like to see a referendum held under the timetable set by the initiative group. It was necessary to respect citizens’ rights. There was no chance of fulfilling their hopes if they were denied this choice. The argument that a referendum could only follow genuine public debate was used by extremists who were anti-democratic. Elected politicians were required to uphold rights and pursue the constitutional settlement. This process was already under way. Some people resorted to arms. They could be won-over only through a peace agreement. There was no other choice available. To postpone the referendum would be to capitulate to extremists who wished to deny people the right to express their political opinion, and responsibility for any bloodshed which might follow would not be theirs alone. The Council of Europe existed to defend lofty values and therefore a referendum should not be delayed.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you Mr Sultygov.

            I call Lord Judd to reply to the debate. You have four minutes, which may be shared with the rapporteurs of the other committees.

            Lord JUDD (United Kingdom). – I express my appreciation to everyone who has spoken in the debate. I am been particularly impressed by the conviction, passion and determination with which people have spoken. I thank you all. I should like to thank in particular our courageous colleagues from Russia who have come out openly in support of my position.

            Inevitably, much reference has been made to the constitution. Silent voices would have us believe that we need not worry because the constitution can be amended. I am surprised at some of the people who have used that argument. Who has been involved in drafting the constitution? There has been much good will and determination, and many people have done a lot of hard work, but they are not a representative cross-section of the Chechen people.

            Who can amend the constitution? Only the people who are elected under the constitution can amend it, so it is a closed argument. In its first clause, the constitution emphasises unity with Russia. That may well be necessary and right, and I personally believe that the solution has to be found within the Russian Federation, but to say that in a constitution that is put to the people, who have to say yes or no, before there has been a political debate in which a consensus and commitment have been built up, is highly counter-productive and very dangerous.

            One of our Russian colleagues said that we should not strengthen the hand of those who want a settlement, and I absolutely agree with that. That is why I am arguing what I am arguing. There are extremists out there who do not want a political settlement. If there is disillusion and increased bitterness and frustration, we will be playing straight into their hands.

            No, friends, I was wondering whether I should do this, but I have to revert to my own religion and my own convictions. I do not think that it was an accident that in my own religion, Christ used the words “Blessed are the peacemakers”. Keeping the peace is not a technique; building peace is the challenge. We are trying to produce the answer before we have built the peace. We have to win back into the process some of those who are fighting, even if we believe that they are wrong to be fighting, but who are fighting because they have a real political purpose. We must not drive them into the arms of the cynical extremists who say, “There you are – we are the only people who matter.”

            My good friends, Bill Etherington and Mrs Zwerver, have rightly emphasised the course that I have taken, which was to work with the Russians. Hearing our Russian colleagues who have spoken in support of my proposals is at least some vindication of that approach. I understand their frustration. When I read in the Russian press of senior members of the Russian delegation who do not support my position saying that if my proposals go through I shall never be allowed to set foot in Chechnya again, there are moments when I wonder what is the point of trying to co-operate. There are other members of the delegation with whom I have had reasonable discussions during the week and, even if we have not agreed, we have understood one other. No, friends, we have got to keep to our course, and the certainty is that we must build the political context.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you, Lord Judd. Does the Chairperson of the Political Affairs Committee wish to speak?

            Mr JAKIČ (Slovenia). – Lord Judd is one of our best known rapporteurs. He is known to be honest, correct, tough, sharp, precise and fully committed to the task. He is making the Council of Europe’s job and its goals visible all around Europe. He is trying to fight those who are still convinced that war in Chechnya is the only solution. That applies to people on both sides. I thank Lord Judd for speaking on my behalf. He is right to be critical of committees, and to call on us to stand up and fight with him for a peaceful political solution in Chechnya. We feel very comfortable in his shadow, when creating the joint working group of the Assembly and the Duma. Instead of trying to achieve a political solution in parallel with the joint working group, we stopped doing our job and waited. That, and the fact that the joint working group stopped work, led the Political Affairs Committee to insist on bringing the discussion on Chechnya back to respective committees of this House and back to this Hemicycle.

            The Political Affairs Committee discussed and agreed on a draft of the report and made decisions on 21 amendments – some with a tiny majority. But the message from the vast majority of committee members is that if the conditions written in the resolution are not fulfilled, whenever the referendum takes place, that will lead to more violence and damage, to the gap between people growing wider, and to more suffering of the civilian population.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you Mr Jakič.

            The debate is closed.

            The Political Affairs Committee has presented a draft resolution to which nineteen amendments have been tabled. They will be taken in the order set out in the notice paper. The Committee has also tabled a draft recommendation and a draft order, to each of which one amendment has been tabled.

            We now come to Amendment No. 11, tabled by parliamentarians Ouzký, Slutsky, Rogozin, Yarygina, Fedorov, Sudarenkov and Nĕmcová, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 1, replace the word “negotiation” with the words:

            “national reconciliation”.

            I call Mr Ouzký to support Amendment No. 11.

            Mr OUZKÝ (Czech Republic) said that this amendment would attempt to include not only the process of negotiation but the result of the process, that was, national reconciliation.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

            I call Mr Muratović to speak against the amendment.

            Mr MURATOVIĆ (Bosnia and Herzegovina) said that he wanted an exhaustive definition of the phrase “national reconciliation”. He did not believe that it was appropriate to use the phrase in an amendment.

            THE PRESIDENT. –  What is the opinion of the committee?

            Mr JAKIČ (Slovenia). – The committee voted against the amendment.

            THE PRESIDENT. – The voting is open.

            Amendment No. 11 is rejected.

            We come to Amendment No. 1, tabled by parliamentarian Bindig, on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, which is, in the draft resolution, after paragraph 4, insert the following paragraph:

            “The Russian authorities seem unable to stop grave human rights violations in Chechnya. In view of the fact that some investigations of the most high-profile cases of mass killings and disappearances have now been proceeding for more than three years without tangible results, the Assembly can only conclude that the prosecuting bodies are either unwilling or unable to find and bring to justice the guilty parties. The Assembly deplores the climate of impunity which consequently reigns in the Chechen Republic and which makes normal life in the Republic impossible.”

            I call Mr Bindig to support the amendment.

            Mr BINDIG (Germany) said that in Chechnya there had been many serious offences. He noted that it had not been possible to bring the guilty to justice. He wished in the amendment to condemn the situation.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

            I call Mr Rogozin to speak against the amendment.

            Mr ROGOZIN (Russian Federation) said that the amendment was a clear condemnation of the Russian Federation. He reminded the Assembly of the many military prosecutors who had been kidnapped, terrorised and murdered while conducting investigations into such crimes. He said the amendment suggested that those who were murdered had been ineffective in their work.

            THE PRESIDENT. – What is the opinion of the committee?

            Mr JAKIČ (Slovenia). – The committee followed the arguments of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, so we voted in favour.

            THE PRESIDENT. – The voting is open.

            Amendment No. 1 is adopted.

            THE PRESIDENT. – We come to Amendment No. 2, tabled by parliamentarian Bindig, on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 5.b, after the words “military operations”, insert the words:

“, that Order No 46 is fully respected during operations to check citizen’s registration,” .

            I call Mr Bindig to support Amendment No. 2.

            Mr BINDIG (Germany) said that there were two orders which were particularly important in the region, Order 80 and also Order 46, which dealt with checking of identities in Chechnya. They should both be mentioned in the draft resolution.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?…

            That is not the case.

            What is the opinion of the committee?

            Mr JAKIĆ (Slovenia). – No one spoke against the amendment. We voted in favour.

            THE PRESIDENT. – The voting is open.

            Amendment No. 2 is adopted.

            We now come toAmendment No. 3, tabled by parliamentarian Bindig, on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, which is,in the draft resolution, paragraph 5.d, after the words “Council of Europe”, add the following words:

“, and apply all Russian constitutional guarantees to those arrested, wherever they are arrested and detained”.

            I call Mr Bindig to support Amendment No. 3.

            Mr BINDIG (Germany) said that this called for Russian constitutional guarantees to apply to those who were arrested.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

            That is not the case.

            What is the opinion of the committee?

            Mr JAKIĆ (Slovenia). – It is in favour.

            THE PRESIDENT. – The voting is open.

            Amendment No. 3 is adopted.

            We now come to Amendment No. 4, tabled by parliamentarian Bindig, on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, which is,in the draft resolution, after paragraph 5.f, insert the following sub-paragraph:

“that the 1998 Russian Federal Law on the Suppression of Terrorism be amended to reflect the expert recommendations made in Assembly Document No. 9634 in order to achieve the Law’s conformity with Council of Europe standards;“.

            I call Mr Bindig to support Amendment No. 4.

            Mr BINDIG (Germany) said that the Committee of Ministers had set up an expert group which had made recommendations for additions to the Russian federal law on suppression of terrorism. These recommendations should now be incorporated in that law.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

            I call Mr Slutsky to speak against the amendment.

            Mr SLUTSKY (Russian Federation) said it was not advisable to overload his government with recommendations made some time previously. It was not necessary to mention documents already referred to.

            THE PRESIDENT. – What is the opinion of the committee?

            Mr JAKIĆ (Slovenia). – We followed the arguments of Mr Bindig, and we voted in favour.

            THE PRESIDENT. – The voting is open.

            Amendment No. 4 is adopted.

            We now come to Amendment No. 5, tabled by parliamentarian Bindig, on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, which is, in the draft resolution, after paragraph 5, insert the following paragraph:

            “The Assembly requests the Russian authorities to provide it with an updated and detailed list of all criminal investigations by military and civilian law enforcement agencies into crimes against the civilian population by servicemen and members of all police and special forces and also into crimes committed by Chechen fighters against the civilian population, the local Chechen administration and the federal forces in the Chechen Republic. In addition to statistical data, this list should contain details of the nature of the crimes committed and the current status of the investigation and/or indictments and convictions.”

            I call Mr Bindig to support Amendment No. 5.

            Mr BINDIG (Germany) said that there was information about criminal investigations undertaken by the Russian authorities’ prosecutor’s office, but this information often contained only figures without specifying the nature of the crimes. This should be rectified.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

            I call Mr Chaklein to speak against the amendment.

            Mr CHAKLEIN (Russian Federation) said he would add to Mr Bindig’s information. What was being talked about was information to be given as to the current state of investigations under way. He suggested that members should just try to get their own authorities to do that.

            THE PRESIDENT. – What is the opinion of the committee?

            Mr JAKIĆ (Slovenia). – It is in favour.

            THE PRESIDENT. – The voting is open.

            Amendment No. 5 is adopted.

            We now come to Amendment No. 12, tabled by parliamentarians Slutsky, Ouzký, Rogozin, Yarygina, Fedorov, Sudarenkov, and Nĕmcová, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 6, replace the second and third sentences with the following text:

            “While recognizing the role of a referendum in deciding the future democratic structure and constitution of the Republic, the Assembly believes that such a referendum could achieve its objective provided that the competent Russian federal and Chechen authorities ensure the following necessary conditions:”

            If Amendment No. 12 is agreed to, Amendments Nos. 13, 15, 20 and 10 will fall. If Amendment No. 13 is agreed to, Amendments Nos. 15, 20, and 10 will fall. If Amendment No. 15 is agreed to, Amendments Nos. 20 and 10 will fall.

            I call Mr Rogozin to support Amendment No. 12.

            Mr ROGOZIN (Russian Federation) said that Lord Judd had commented about whether citizens had read the constitution two months before the referendum. He pointed out that the UK did not have one. The conditions proposed to the referendum being held were unreasonable.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

            I call Mr Hancock to speak against the amendment.

            Mr HANCOCK (United Kingdom). – If this amendment were carried, I would wonder if I were in the same room where the debate took place. If ever there were a constant thread running through the debate, it was the presumption that this was the right moment to have a referendum. If this is carried, that is exactly what will happen.

Mr Rogozin asked Lord Judd and the UK delegation whether the British people understand the constitution and went on to say that we do not have one. Most people in the UK realise that we do not have one. We have fudged around it for the past thousand years, not altogether successfully, but we have got on with it. Some of us at least hope that in the near future we will have a written constitution, but I assure Mr Rogozin and the rest of the Russian delegation that we will not have a constitution that is put out in such a way that only half the population get a chance to read it.

            THE PRESIDENT. – What is the opinion of the committee?

            Mr JAKIĆ (Slovenia). – The committee voted against the amendment.

            THE PRESIDENT. – The voting is open.

            Amendment No. 12 is rejected.

            We come next to Amendment No. 13, tabled by parliamentarians Slutsky, Rogozin, Fedorov, Sudarenkov and Yarygina, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 6, replace the words “the Assembly believes that the necessary conditions for holding such a referendum cannot be met by this date. The Assembly, therefore, calls upon the competent authorities to postpone the referendum and to take the essential steps to achieve such conditions, in particular:” with the words:

“the Assembly is concerned that the necessary conditions for holding such a referendum might not be met by this date. The Assembly therefore calls upon the competent authorities to take essential steps to achieve such conditions, in particular:”

            I call Mr Slutsky.

            Mr SLUTSKY (Russian Federation) said that the rapporteur had expressed concerns that the conditions for the referendum would not be met. He called on the authorities to ensure that the conditions were in place and he was against the oral sub-amendment.

            THE PRESIDENT. – I have received an oral sub-amendment from the Political Affairs Committee. It is in line 5 of the amendment, leave out “might not” and insert the words “are unlikely to”. The text of the amendment would then read:

“the Assembly is concerned that the necessary conditions for holding such a referendum are unlikely to be met by this date. The Assembly therefore calls upon the competent authorities to take essential steps to achieve such conditions, in particular:”.

            In my opinion, the oral sub-amendment meets the criteria of Rule 34.6 and can be considered unless ten or more members of the Assembly object.

            I want a member of the committee to support the oral sub-amendment.

            Lord JUDD (United Kingdom). – This is a difficult intervention. I realised that there was a possibility that the substantive amendment might be passed by the committee, which is what happened. I therefore thought it terribly important that nowhere on the record should there be the word “might”. I insisted that the words “unlikely to” should be inserted.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Does anyone wish to speak against the oral sub-amendment?

            Mr HANCOCK (United Kingdom). – I hope to draw a veil over what Frank Judd is trying to achieve, although I understand why he is doing it. The threat of the amendment, as amended, being carried might make the amendment a little more palatable to some, but I think that that would defeat the object of what I would like to see, which is the fall of Amendment No. 13 altogether. I do not want people to be persuaded that to change the wording from “might not” to “unlikely to” would be sufficient to convince the Assembly to vote for the amendment as a whole. That would be a grave error of judgment on the part of the Assembly. I regret that Frank chose to adopt this approach. I hope that the Assembly will object to the oral sub-amendment.

            I ask on a point of order whether I will have the opportunity to oppose Amendment No. 13 after the oral sub-amendment is dealt with.

            THE PRESIDENT. – You will be able to oppose Amendment No. 13.

            What is the opinion of the mover the amendment, Mr Slutsky?

Mr SLUTSKY (Russian Federation) said that the oral sub-amendment was a small compromise which had allowed agreement to be reached in the Political Affairs Committee.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Thank you, Mr Slutsky. Obviously, the committee is in favour of the sub-amendment.

            The voting is open.

            The oral sub-amendment is adopted.

            Does anyone wish to speak against Amendment No. 13, as amended?

            I call Mr Hancock to speak against the amendment.

            Mr HANCOCK (United Kingdom). – If the report says anything, it says not “unlikely” or “maybe” – it says that we should postpone the referendum. As I said in my earlier contribution, to call off the referendum only a week before would be a difficult political thing to handle. Once the momentum starts within the time scale, I believe that it will be impossible to stop it, and stopping it might have an even worse effect than continuing with it.

            The overwhelming majority of members who contributed to the debate have said that Frank Judd is right reasonably to ask for postponement – not just temporarily to put it off – until the situation may be gauged to be more acceptable. At least we should try to get things right. Let us not be bounced into accepting the amendment. It will do the very opposite of what Frank Judd tried to achieve.

            THE PRESIDENT. – What is the opinion of the committee?

            Mr JAKIČ (Slovenia). – The committee voted in favour.

            THE PRESIDENT. – The voting is open.

            Amendment No. 13, as amended, is adopted.

            As Amendment No. 13 has been adopted, Amendments Nos. 15, 20 and 10 fall.

            We now come to Amendment No. 16, tabled by parliamentarians Yarygina, Ouzký, Slutsky, Rogozin, Federov, Sudarenkov and Němcová, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 6.b, replace the word “citizens” with the word “residents”.

            I call Mr Rogozin to support the amendment.

            Mr ROGOZIN (Russian Federation) said that the amendment distinguished between residents of a region and citizens of a nation. Residents, rather than citizens, would take part in a referendum.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

            I call Mr Muratović to speak against it.

            Mr MURATOVIĆ (Bosnia and Herzegovina). – If we accept the amendment, we will have problems with the terminology. A citizen of a state cannot be a refugee in his own state. If the amendment is accepted, the following words should be added: “including those who resided in Chechnya before the conflict”.

            We have a good deal of experience of this in Bosnia. All those who had lived there before that conflict were enabled to participate in all elections, regardless of what part of the world they lived in.

            THE PRESIDENT. – What is the opinion of the committee?

            Mr JAKIČ (Slovenia). – In favour.

            THE PRESIDENT. – The voting is open.

            Amendment No. 16 is adopted.

            We now come to Amendment No. 18, tabled by parliamentarians Spindelegger, Himmer, Donabauer, Vahtre, Lintner and Pourgourides, which is, in the draft resolution, paragraph 6.b, after the words “Chechen Republic”, add the words:

            “, excluding Russian troops,”.

            I call Mr Spindelegger to support the amendment.

            Mr SPINDELEGGER (Austria) said that the point of the amendment was to determine who was entitled to vote in a referendum. Would Russian troops occupying Chechnya be entitled to vote?

            THE PRESIDENT. – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

            I call Mr Rogozin to speak against the amendment.

            Mr ROGOZIN (Russian Federation) said that he objected to the use of the word “occupying” in this context. Chechnya, until a referendum decided otherwise, was still part of the Russian Federation.

            THE PRESIDENT. – What is the opinion of the committee?

            Mr JAKIČ (Slovenia). – The committee voted against the amendment because it was suggested that the Russian troops might include residents of Chechnya, who should be guaranteed a right to vote.

            THE PRESIDENT. – The voting is open.

            Amendment No. 18 is rejected.

            I call Mr Slutsky to support Amendment No. 17.

            Mr SLUTSKY (Russian Federation) said that he wished to withdraw the amendment.

            THE PRESIDENT.– We now come to Amendment No. 19, tabled by parliamentarians Spindelegger, Himmer, Donabauer, Vahtre, Lintner and Pourgourides, which is, in the draft resolution paragraph 6.b, after the words “Russian Federation”, add the words:

            “, including refugees,”.

            I call Mr Spindelegger to support the amendment.

Mr SPINDELEGGER (Austria) said that the amendment aimed to ensure that refugees would be entitled to vote.

            THE PRESIDENT. – I have received an oral sub-amendment from the Political Affairs Committee, which would add, after “including refugees”, the words “(living in camps)”. In my opinion the oral sub-amendment meets the criteria of Rule 34.6, and can be considered unless ten or more members of the Assembly object. Is there any opposition to its being debated?

            That is not the case.

            I call the representative of the Political Affairs Committee to support the oral sub-amendment.

            Mr JAKIČ (Slovenia). – I want to move the oral sub-amendment formally, but, if you will allow me, Mr President, I want to move another as well. It was discussed by the committee.

            When we speak of refugees, we mean people outside the borders of their country. No Chechen refugees live in camps, because no Chechen lives in a camp in Canada or Slovenia, for instance. We can speak of displaced persons, who are displaced but within a border. I therefore wish to move another oral sub-amendment inserting the words “including displaced persons living in camps”. In fact, to be entirely correct the words should be “including internal displaced persons living in camps”.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Does anyone wish to speak against the oral sub-amendment that I last read out, which says “including internally displaced persons living in camps.”?

            I call Mr Iwiński on a point of order.

            Mr IWIŃSKI (Poland). – On a point of order, Mr President. As I have said in my introduction, there are 64 000 internally displaced persons in Ingushetia and

17 000 of them live in tents. The overwhelming majority live with host families, and we cannot deprive the others of the right to vote.

            THE PRESIDENT. – That is not a point of order, but a point of argument. Let us continue with the vote on the oral sub-amendment.

            The voting is open.

            The oral sub-amendment is adopted.

            Does anyone wish to speak against Amendment No. 19, as amended?

            That is not the case.

            What is the opinion of the committee?

            Mr JAKIČ (Slovenia). – The committee does not have an opinion because Amendment No. 19 has been amended.

            THE PRESIDENT. – The voting is open.

            Amendment No. 19, as amended, is adopted.

            We now come to Amendment No. 8, tabled by parliamentarian Iwiński, on behalf of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography, which is, in the draft resolution, after paragraph 6.b, insert the following sub-paragraph:

“by examining possible ways of making practical arrangements which would enable the Chechen internally displaced persons (IDPs) in neighbouring republics, in particular Ingushetia, to exercise their right to vote,”.

            I call Mr Iwiński to support Amendment No. 8.

            Mr IWIŃSKI (Poland). – We were informed by Mr Seleznyov, the Speaker of the Russian Duma, that it wishes to propose to the government measures that would allow for financing to enable Chechen citizens from outside the republic to return to exercise their right to vote. Such a practical arrangement would give them that opportunity.

            THE PRESIDENT. - Does anyone wish to speak against Amendment No. 8?

            That is not the case.

            What is the opinion of the committee?

            Mr JAKIČ (Slovenia). – In favour.

            THE PRESIDENT. – The voting is open.

            Amendment No. 8 is adopted.

            We come now to Amendment No. 14, tabled by parliamentarians Slutsky, Rogozin, Fedorov, Sudarenkov and Yarygina, which is, in the draft resolution, after paragraph 6.h, add the following sentence:

            “The Assembly intends to carefully monitor the preparations for the referendum and to make an assessment on its conformity with the above-mentioned conditions on the basis of all relevant information.”

            I call Mr Slutsky to support Amendment No. 14.

            Mr SLUTSKY (Russian Federation) said that he wished to withdraw the amendment.

            THE PRESIDENT. – We now come to Amendment No. 21.

            I call Mr Hancock on a point of order.

            Mr HANCOCK (United Kingdom). – On a point of order, Mr President. May I table an oral sub-amendment to my Amendment No. 21? I seek to clarify the position. The oral sub-amendment would insert, after the word “referendum”:

                “If none of the above are carried out, it will lead to an immediate review of the status of Russia within the Council of Europe.”

            That effectively puts right what happened with Amendments Nos. 12 and 13. It would provide the report with some credibility. I hope that members will accept the oral sub-amendment and then the full amendment.

            THE PRESIDENT. – In my opinion, the oral sub-amendment meets the criteria in Rule 31.6, but does anyone wish to speak against the oral sub-amendment being debated? The oral sub-amendment will be considered unless ten or more members object.

            I call Mr Laakso.

            Mr LAAKSO (Finland). – I contest your interpretation. The oral sub-amendment is a new proposal and totally different from Mr Hancock’s original amendment. That is why it does not meet the criteria in our rules. We should not consider the oral sub-amendment.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Do more than ten members object to consideration of the oral sub-amendment?

            Yes, there are more than ten, so we cannot consider the oral sub-amendment.

            We can now come to Amendment No. 21 tabled by parliamentarians Hancock, Bruce, Jařab, Wielowieyski, Kilclooney and Guardans, which is, in the draft resolution, after paragraph 6.h, add the following sentence:

            “Failure to postpone the referendum will lead to an immediate review of the status of Russia within the Council of Europe.”

            I call Mr Hancock to support Amendment No. 21.

            Mr HANCOCK (United Kingdom). – I hope that members will accept that I was trying to be helpful with the sub-amendment, which would have enabled the majority of members to support this amendment. I hope that my failure to get that through will make members realise that if we do not accept this amendment, what we are really saying is that we do not care enough about Chechnya and we are leaving it to luck rather than making a concerted effort. We have changed “might” to “unlikely”. We know from our rapporteur that the leading expert on this issue from the non-Russians has made it quite clear that his preferred option would be a postponement.  If we allow this report to leave here unamended any further, it would do immeasurable harm to the cause of the Council of Europe.

            If we care about human rights and the right of people to choose how they want to govern themselves, we should say that if they are not prepared to postpone the referendum we should seriously consider the future of Russia as a member of this Organisation. I do not want to do that. I was hoping that some of the earlier amendments would have been accepted. I care passionately about what this place was set up to do. If we cannot be true to that, we should at least be true to the people of Chechnya and Russia, and give them the best possible chance of getting some success out of this one opportunity that they have.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

            I call Mr Rogozin to speak against the amendment.

            Mr ROGOZIN (Russian Federation) said that many hands had gone up, but it was good for the head of the delegation to speak. Mr Hancock was their friend but to ask for the delegation to leave the Assembly showed a lack of understanding. They were not offended and would continue to work with their friends.

            THE PRESIDENT. – What is the opinion of the committee?

            Mr JAKIČ (Slovenia). – The committee followed the advice of the rapporteur that it is better to have the talks than to postpone them, so we voted against the amendment.

            THE PRESIDENT. – The voting is open.

            Amendment No. 21 is rejected.

            THE PRESIDENT. – We come now to Amendment No. 9, tabled by parliamentarian Iwiński on behalf of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography, which is, in the draft resolution, after the last sentence of paragraph 8, add the following words:

"At the same time, the Assembly calls upon the Russian authorities to simplify the regulations governing their access and remove any bureaucratic obstacles which may jeopardise their action."

            I call Mr Iwiński to support Amendment No. 9.

            Mr IWIŃSKI (Poland). – We are still getting information that the international humanitarian agencies have difficulties getting access to the territories, mainly because of bureaucratic obstacles. That may jeopardise their actions. That is the substance of the amendment.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

            That is not the case.

            What is the opinion of the committee?

            Mr JAKIČ (Slovenia). – In committee, no one spoke against the amendment, so we voted in favour of it.

            THE PRESIDENT. – The voting is open.

            Amendment No. 9 is adopted.

            We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft resolution contained in Document 9687, as amended.

            The voting is open.

            The draft resolution in Document 9687, as amended, is adopted.

            The Political Affairs Committee has proposed a draft recommendation, contained in Document 9687, to which one amendment has been tabled. This Amendment No. 6.

            We now come to Amendment No. 6, tabled by parliamentarian Bindig, on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, which is, in the draft recommendation, after paragraph 2, insert the following paragraph:

            “The Assembly requests the Committee of Ministers to press for the immediate implementation by the competent authorities of the recent recommendations made by the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights “on certain rights that must be guaranteed during the arrest and detention of persons following “cleansing” operations in the Chechen Republic of the Russian Federation”.”

            I call Mr Bindig to support Amendment No. 6.

            Mr BINDIG (Germany) said that the Commissioner for Human Rights had produced recommendations for the guarantee of certain rights of people imprisoned by the Russian authorities. The recommendations should be respected.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

            I call Mr Slutsky to speak against the amendment.

            Mr SLUTSKY (Russian Federation) said that there was no objection to the amendment in principle if the word “cleansing” – which had finished – was taken out. Its inclusion was offensive to the Russian delegation.

            THE PRESIDENT. – What is the opinion of the committee?

            Mr JAKIČ (Slovenia). – The amendment was presented by Mr Bindig on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights. He quoted the recommendation of the commissioner for human rights. That is why the word “cleansing” is in quotation marks. The committee voted in favour of this amendment.

            THE PRESIDENT. – The voting is open.

            Amendment No. 6 is adopted.

            We will now proceed to vote on the whole of the draft recommendation contained in Document 9687, as amended.

            The voting is open.

            The draft recommendation in Document 9687, as amended, is adopted.

            The Political Affairs Committee also proposes a draft order, contained in Document 9687, to which one amendment has been tabled.

            Amendment No. 7, tabled by parliamentarian Bindig, on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, in the draft order, after paragraph 2, add the following paragraph:

            “The Assembly instructs its Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights to present to it, at its next part-session, a report on the human rights situation in the Chechen Republic. This report should be based on information made available by the competent authorities, international organisations, NGOs and journalists, and should, inter alia, treat individual cases of particular concern.”

            I call Mr Bindig to support Amendment No. 7 on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights.

            Mr BINDIG (Germany) said that information about human rights violations existed and the cases should be collated and a separate report produced.

            THE PRESIDENT. – Does anyone wish to speak against the amendment?

            I call Mr Rogozin to speak against the amendment.

            Mr ROGOZIN (Russian Federation) said that it was difficult to speak against Mr Bindig, but the Assembly could speak about nothing but Chechnya. This amendment would mean that all the committees in the Assembly were reporting about Chechnya. Why did the Assembly not move to Chechnya?

            THE PRESIDENT. – What is the opinion of the committee?

            Mr JAKIČ (Slovenia). – The committee voted in favour of the proposed amendment.

            THE PRESIDENT. – The voting is open.

            Amendment No. 7 is adopted.

            We will now proceed to vote on the draft order contained in Document 9687, as amended.

            Lord JUDD (United Kingdom). – Is it possible to speak?

            THE PRESIDENT. – No.

            The voting is open.

            The draft order contained in Document 9687, as amended, is adopted.



Source: Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

(T)

SEARCH
  

[advanced search]

 © 2000-2018 Prague Watchdog  (see Reprint info).
The views expressed on this web site are the authors' own, and don't necessarily reflect the views of Prague Watchdog,
which aims to present a wide spectrum of opinion and analysis relating to events in the North Caucasus.
Advertisement