Situation in TAPs
TAPs are mostly housed in restored brick buildings that were previously used as hostels. TAPs are much more suitable for living than camps and CAPs. Living conditions there have not been changed since the time when people were first housed there in great haste. The living rooms are very crowded; many people have to sleep on the floor. Families of five or six live in small rooms. People tender to their basic needs in one and the same room: preparing meals, taking shower, doing the laundry, etc. All this contributes to unsanitary conditions. Most TAPs lack sewage, shower rooms and laundries. It should be noted, however, that having recognized the seriousness of this problem, the MA of the CR started to provide vehicles to take people to bathhouses on a weekly basis.
It must be said that the IDPs for whom there was no room in TAPs, often live in conditions that are much worse than these.
However, still harder times are coming now for residents of TAPs. Starting from April this year, a campaign of shutting down TAPs on the territory of the Chechen Republic has been pursued.
On April 19, 2006, the Chairman of the Government Ramzan Kadyrov held a meeting with the head of the Migration Service Asu Dudarkayev and superintendents of TAPs. At the meeting Kadyrov announced his intention to close all temporary accommodation points, since, citing his own words, they are “nests of crime, drug abuse, and prostitution.” The Chairman of the Government said that people have become lazy and do not want to put their homes in order. He also cited the opinion of the military who claim that members of illegal armed groups stay in TAPs for the night.
In fact, TAPs are mostly inhabited by lonely elderly people, including Russian elderly women who have nowhere to go, and by mothers of many children. According to the FMS of Russia, as of the end of 2004, 2,712 children aged one to three and several times more older children lived in TAPs on the territory of the Chechen Republic. Their mothers are preoccupied with everyday problems; they can hardly feed their children.
As for the criminals who might hide in TAPs, for them it would much more difficult to do so there than in private housing settlements. These centers are guarded by the police; they have security staff who must watch the guests. And if militants stay in a TAP for the night – in full view of the authorities and guarded by police – well, then it presents a real opportunity to apprehend them. In most cases we are aware of, when TAP dwellers or their guests were detained, the detainees were not involved with IAGs, but proved to be innocent victims of arbitrary treatment.
By instruction of the Chechen Premier Ramzan Kadyrov, a special commission was set up in the Republic to control compliance with the norms and rules of accommodation of IDPs in temporary accommodation points. Heads of district administrations, heads of ROVDs (District Departments of the Interior Ministry), representatives of the migration service and deputies of parliament were put on the commission. Ramzan Kadyrov took the operations of the special commission under his personal control.
Since TAPs are housed in those few building that have been restored, every governmental official of course has his own plans as to how best use them. This issue was discussed on March 9, 2006, at a meeting Ramzan Kadyrov had with heads of municipal and district administrations. At that meeting the administration head of the Staropromyslovsky District of Grozny Astamirov made a point that the buildings housing TAPs need to be vacated to provide premises for schools, kindergartens and health centers (see Appendix 1).
The campaign to shut down TAPs pursued by the local authorities goes contrary to the efforts by the federal center to ensure payments of pensions and child allowances and build functioning systems of education and healthcare. The funds allocated to restore the ruined housing in Chechnya do not trickle down to the people. Grozny lies in ruins and no jobs are being created.
The social situation of residents of Chechnya and the IDPs who returned home is in effect similar. According to the CR Ministry for Economic Development, there are up to 400,000 unemployed people in the Republic, which makes 65% of the able-bodied population. The program to cut unemployment envisaged creation of 20,000 new jobs in 2005; however, the target was not met. The main reason for the program’s failure was the lack of money for restoration of industrial facilities and putting them into operation.
The overall state of the health care system does not allow to arrange for proper provision of services to IDPs. Medical institutions experience shortages of medicines and equipment.
On April 18, 2006, Republican Maternity Home No.2 was officially inaugurated in the city of Grozny. It had been ruined in hostilities in 2000 and was rebuilt in the course of over two years under a federal targeted program. The CR President Alu Alkhanov spoke at the inauguration ceremony of the center. According to him, a few dozens of other such facilities are planned to be put into operation before the end of the year: hospitals, schools, maternity homes, industrial facilities, etc.
However, the medical services provided at maternity homes come at a cost. In an interview to the Caucasian Knot Internet media’s correspondent a Chechen woman described the operations of maternity homes in Chechnya using the following words:
“Here you have to pay for everything. You have to pay for the bed, pay for injections, pay for examination. You pay separately to the aid-woman, to the doctor, to the nurse, and this runs into something around three-and-a-half to five thousand rubles (105-155 euros). If you do not pay, no one will give attention either to the mother or a newborn baby.”
The IDPs, like most other residents of Chechnya, simply do not have that amount of money. And in the mean time, the birth rate in the Chechen Republic is higher as compared to other regions; it stands at 40 to 45 thousand babies per year. This figure was cited by the CR President Alu Alkhanov at the inauguration ceremony of the maternity home.
Because of the lack of medical assistance, unsatisfactory living conditions, and consequences of stress, children and adults often fall ill. Civic Assistance Committee for two years now has run a program of medical assistance for sick people of the Chechen Republic, with support from the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid Office. Assistance is provided to patients on the ground: medicines are supplied, medical examinations are paid for and medical consultations are arranged. Serious patients who need treatment in centers outside the region are provided with help as regards arranging for treatment in Moscow and other cities and towns of Russia, as well as payment of expenses for travel, medicines and medical examinations. Over the entire period of the program’s existence, approximately 5,000 patients have received medical assistance, with many of them hospitalized in Moscow’s hospitals.
This program will be extended for another period of ten months; it is very relevant, however, it does not solve the problem of inadequate medical services for residents of Chechnya.
Children of IDPs often do not attend school; in some cases parents cannot adequately prepare children for classes because of the lack of money; others to not attend school because they have fallen badly behind in classes; still others are not allowed by their parents to attend remotely located schools for safety reasons. Schools which enroll children of IDPs are overcrowded and experience shortages of school textbooks.
Medical, food, social and legal assistance for IDPs are best organized in those areas where international and non-governmental organizations are active.
One of the leading foreign humanitarian organizations operating in the North Caucasus is the Danish Refugee Council. It has been active in the North Caucasus for seven years now, providing humanitarian assistance to 250,000 people, primarily to those living in Chechnya. In early February this year, its operations came under the threat of closure.
On February 6, Ramzan Kadyrov, who was at the time the acting Head of Government of the Chechen Republic, said that because of the scandal over the Prophet Muhammad cartoons published in Denmark, Danish organizations would no longer be granted entry to Chechnya. Khalid Vaikhanov, CR Vice-Premier in charge of social matters, sent an official notification to that effect to Stephen Tull, head of the mission of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Russian Federation.
Following that, the Danish Refugee Council temporarily curtailed its activities in Chechnya pending receipt of an official clarification from the Russian authorities concerning its future operations.
Kadyrov’s statement got a negative reaction from the federal authorities. Apparently, Kadyrov exceeded his authority by taking such decision. During his visit to Chechnya, the Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner Álvaro Gil-Robles urged to let the Danish Refugee Council work in the Republic.
Eventually, on March 7, 2006, after a month’s interruption, the Danish Refugee Council restarted its activities in full.
On July 13, 2006, Koryun Alaverdyan, United Nations World Food Program’s (WFP) Deputy Country Director in the Russian Federation, said that there was only three month’s supply of food left for Chechen refugees and displaced persons.
The United Nations News Service has noted that the WFP needs 22 million dollars to feed about 250,000 Chechens, who in the aftermath of the military conflict had to leave their homes or simply had no means to sustain their lives. However, the UN Program’s officials have managed to collect only 28% of the required funds.
The WFP has been experiencing financial difficulties in Chechnya since early 2006. Because of the lack of funds, the WFP had to confine itself to provision of the needy only with wheat flour; while earlier other foodstuffs had been distributed under the Program as well, including cereals, vegetable oil, sugar and salt.
Out of the total number of IDPs living in TAPs on the territory of the Chechen Republic, i.e. of 39,000 people, only 3,600 persons have applied for compensations. Of them the housing of only 2,500 people has been put on the lists of destroyed property, which is a prerequisite to qualify for payment of the compensation. And only 977 families so far have received the compensation.
To vacate space at TAPs families which receive the compensation are struck off the registers for food allowances and are mandated to move out of TAPs within a short period of time. Arguments of the IDPs that they need time to restore their housing, fall on deaf ears with officers of migration agencies. To get a stock of rooms in TAPs, inspections are also carried out to look into the condition of housing inhabited by IDPs before the start of the hostilities.
The CR Cabinet Committee for IDPs announced that it had inspected 3,287 addresses and drawn up 1,098 reports on housing that was inspected and found suitable for living. However, the checks made by members of NGOs revealed that before they left Chechnya, many IDPs lived in rooms left by other people or at their relatives’ homes, i.e. they do not own the homes located at the specified addresses, while their own homes had been destroyed back in the first wave of hostilities, in 1994–96. Therefore, they have nothing to restore and nowhere to move. Besides, there are doubts as to whether those inspections were carried out in good faith. For instance, a family hostel in the Mayakovskogo settlement (the city of Grozny), wiped from the face of the earth during the hostilities and with a mosque already erected on the site where it once, was also included in the list of housing suitable for living.
It should be noted that after a series of meetings between angered inhabitants of TAPs and governmental officials and interventions of members of human rights organizations, eviction from TAPs of dwellers who received the compensation was suspended.
Simultaneously, people who have filed applications for compensations are struck off the registers for food allowances at TAPs. The order to this effect has been given to the head of the CR MA by the leadership of FMS of Russia. This results in IDPs, deprived of support, borrowing money against their compensations. When they are eventually paid the compensation, the IDPs have to spend it on repaying their debts and sustaining their everyday lives. And the issue of resettlement still remains unsolved.
Resolution of the Government of the RF No.404 of July 4, 2003 set the amount of payment to be made in Chechnya in compensation for lost housing and property at 350,000 rubles (approximately 10,000 Euros) per family per one completely destroyed structure. No compensatory payments are payable for housing which has been found restorable. Payments are made very slowly, with periodic interruptions for a long period of time. Besides, the CR leadership openly admits that people in Chechnya have to repay 30% to 50% of the compensation’s amount as a bribe to have it awarded, which is also noted in Mr. Gil-Robles’ report.
All in all, 39,000 families have been paid compensations, which corresponds to 14 billion rubles allocated to these purposes in the federal budget.
Safety in TAPs
Nominally the residents of TAPs are granted better security than other residents of Chechnya, since they are provided with security guards. To provide security for IDPs two to three guards from the MVD contract security are deployed in every TAP building for a 24-hour duty. However, many TAPs have been subjected to armed attacks, with guards been unable to call for reinforcement because they did not have radio sets. Besides, they were unable to repel the attacks independently. Following a number of incidents where weapons were seized from TAP guards by armed individuals, the MVD leadership decided against giving weapons to them altogether. The leadership of the migration service under the pretext of inexpediency of keeping “inadequate guards” intends to decline the services of contract security and maintain law and order on the premises of TAPs with the help of IDPs themselves. It believes that the money to be saved in this way (services of a contract security guard cost 22,000 rubles a month) would be more appropriately used to cater to other needs of IDPs.
The fact that unarmed guards are not capable of protecting dwellers of TAPs is testified by a recent incident at Okruzhnaya TAP in Grozny.
On April 12, 2006, at 12:30 in the afternoon, officers from local security agencies arrived by a metal grey BMW at TAP on Okruzhnaya Street of the city of Grozny. The guards were afraid to stop the car, seeing that there were three armed men in camouflage uniforms in it, apparently, officers from some local security agency.
The car drove up to house No.95, where the Tazbayev family lives.
In the house were the head of the family Kheda Ozdiyeva, her son Lecha Tazbayev (born 1986), her daughter-in-law Runa Tazbayeva and daughter Milana Tazbayeva.
The armed men did not introduce themselves, went through the door without knocking and upon seeing Lecha, who was lying on the bed, one of the visitors asked his name and after a response said, “It’s you that we need.” The mother positioned herself in the doorway and said that she would not let her son be taken anywhere. She was told that they just wanted to ask him a thing or two, nothing more. Kheda let them into the house. They put Lecha in circle and led him to the street. The mother grabbed the car’s door handle and started to call neighbors out for help. When people started coming, one of the troops hit her on the arm with the butt of a submachine gun and threw her aside. Kheda fell on the stairs. The car drove away from the courtyard, narrowly hitting a woman who was walking in. Meanwhile, Lecha’s sister, Milana, ran to call for help from contract security guards, who guard the TAP, but, upon seeing her brother being driven away she fell unconscious.
Relatives and neighbors of the abducted boy petitioned police agencies and the prosecutor’s office, but to no avail, no one anywhere was able or willing to give information on the whereabouts of Lecha Tazbayev.
On the following day, April 13, about 200 residents of the TAP blocked a highway. People demanded the guy to be brought back and their children be left alone. Minister Asu Dudarkayev, head of the CR FMSD, arrived to meet the protesters. According to residents of the TAP, he spoke by telephone to Alu Alkhanov and told him about what had happened. Following the conversation, Dudarkayev asked the people to unblock the highway and promised to be back in two hours together with Lecha. The people unblocked the highway, but did not disperse. Late at night Dudarkayev returned and said that he failed to find Lecha. The following morning the people again shut off the road and dispersed only after they were told that Lecha was at the Kurchaloi District ROVD. His mother went there together with a lawyer. They managed to see Lecha, who told them that he had been beaten into signing a confession to a number of crimes, including participation in the assault on the Kurchaloi ROVD the previous year, to which in fact he had nothing to do at all.
On that same day, following his meeting with Mother, Lecha was moved to the Vvedeno ROVD in the area of his place of residence. There he was kept for another two days. Meanwhile, information about his detention was conveyed to human rights organizations, which made relevant inquiries. In addition, Lecha’s relatives found a contact in the higher circles, who helped to have charges against Lecha dropped, except for those under Article 208 (participation in an IAG). Now he is at home, released on his own recognizance. Court proceedings are due to start shortly.
Security agencies under different departments continue to conduct the so-called passport checks in TAPs, which turn into lootings and captures of their occupants. Such checks are usually made in the night or at dawn and are conducted in a manner humiliating for the dwellers.
An illustrative incident happened on July 28-29, 2005, to Ilias Azimov, who was driven away from the TAP located at 4 Koltsova Street. A crime was already “prepared” for him, to which he had to confess. The detention of Azimov was accompanied with rudeness towards residents of the TAP and beatings of his relatives: the mother and sister. Only urgent intervention on the part of participants in the conference themed “Empowering Law-Enforcement Agencies in the Area of Human Rights Protection in the Chechen Republic,” held at the time of the incident, saved Ilias Azimov from torture, conviction for a crime he never committed and a long prison-sentence (see Appendix 2).
Such incidents are not rare. And following Kadyrov’s statement that TAPs are breeding grounds of “crime, drug abuse, and prostitution,” the authorities got an extra incentive to “illustrate” those charges.
On April 20, 2006, at 5:30 a.m., a passport check was conducted in the temporary accommodation point 1 Koltsova located at the address: Mayakovskogo settlement, the Staropromyslovsky district, Grozny. The said operation, as the TAP administration managed to learn, was carried out by personnel of the commandant's office and police department of the Staropromyslovsky District. Neither the TAP superintendent nor the Federal Migration Service Directorate for the Chechen Republic had been informed about the planned check. During the check neither the prosecutor’s office official, nor officials from the district administration were present at the scene, who would otherwise have controlled the legality of actions by the military and the police officers.
During the illegal operation, two women were detained: a resident of the TAP Zulfiya Makhmudovna Avtorkhanova (born 1974), and her cousin Malka Sakhianovna Lorsanova (born 1975), who was visiting her. They both work as plasterers at a construction site. They were taken to the Staropromyslovsky District OVD (Interior Ministry Department).
Malka Lorsanova was detained during the passport check because she did not have her passport on her. She left it with her mother, who lives in the village of Podgornoye, Nadterechny District, to have her file documents to the employment service bureau. The passport of her cousin, Zulfiya Avtorkhanova, was taken as a pledge and a search was conducted in her room. No illegal items were found in the search. Shortly after that, they decided to conduct a repeat search. Zulfiya was not present during it, as she was taking her child to a neighbor.
The repeat search was conducted by four men, one of them with a camcorder. No attesting witnesses were invited. Zulfiya came back in 20 minutes. The police officers said to her, “Look what we’ve found at your place.” And they pointed to matchboxes laid across the table. The woman asked them perplexedly about what it was, to which they responded, “grass.” Zulfiya said she did not know what it was — it was not hers. The police officers said in threatening tone: “People like you should be jailed and should serve long sentences.”
The police officers were reported by the TAP inhabitants to have invited semiliterate elderly women to sign the protocol already after the matchboxes were put on the table.
Zulfiya Avtorkhanova and Malka Lorsanova were taken to the Staropromyslovsky District OVD. Residents of the TAP gathered near the ROVD building; mothers of the detainees arrived. Zulfiya’s mother, who entered the ROVD building to petition for her daughter, was thrown out into the street with insults and punches.
The detained girls were released on their own recognizance.
In addition to passport checks, special operations are also conducted in TAPs. As in the past, when sweeping harsh zachistkas [mop-up operations] were conducted, powerful military hardware and significant numbers of troops are used for that. People who are driven away for interrogations are often held in unofficial detention centers, where they are subjected to most brutal torture.
On September 14, 2005, early in the morning, Adam Albekovich Dadayev (born 1986) was driven away from the TAP located at 24 Tchaikovskogo Street, by troops of the CR OMON.
Adam Dadayev was going to go to work; he works as a builder's laborer at a construction site. He was not able to leave the territory of the TAP, as it was closed off by OMON troops. Dadayev was apprehended in the courtyard. OMON troops were bursting into rooms, brandishing weapons. Doors were broken in two rooms. A search was conducted in the Dadayev room, though no search warrant was presented, no attesting witnesses invited and no protocol drafted. No illegal items were found in the search. The OMON troops did not inform Adam Dadayev’s mother about the detention of her son.
Staff of Memorial HRC managed to establish that he was taken to the OMON department and from there transferred to the criminal investigation department at the CR MVD. On September 15, Adam Dadayev was released. For more than 24 hours he was held at the CR OMON department. He was brutally beaten and tortured by electric shock. Dadayev was charged with burying weapons at the construction site where he worked.
In April 2000, as a 13-year-old teenager, Adam Dadayev, who lived at the time in the village of Zumsoi, Itum-Kalinsky District, was badly wounded when an aerial bomb hit their home. Adam suffered multiple fragment wounds all over his body. He went through several operations, however, the doctors failed to remove a nine-millimeter fragment from his head. As a result, Adam’s sight deteriorated drastically.
After the torture he was subjected to, Adam Dadayev needs serious treatment.
Crimes against Civilians
It should be noted that even with unarmed guards residents on the premises of a TAP are nevertheless much safer than outside of the settlement, where they can be abducted and killed.
On September 21, 2005, in the area of the bus station of the city of Grozny, unknown armed men abducted Artur Abdulayevich Abdurzakov, aged 28, and Malika Akayeva, aged 26, who lived in the TAP at 24 Tchaikovskogo Street. According to Malika Akayeva’s mother, on that day her daughter and Artur Abdurzakov talked over the telephone and agreed to meet near the bus station: some things needed to be transported. She managed to learn the circumstances of the abduction from witnesses to the incident. When Artur drove up to the meeting point, unknown men on three cars blocked his vehicle. Malika stood up for him. Then the unknown took Malika as well.
On the following day, the dead bodies of Abdurzakov and Akayeva were found near the settlement of Chernorechie of the city of Grozny. Their bodies had multiple gunshot wounds, the character of which suggested that they had been shot at point-blank with automatic weapons. The Zavodskoy District Prosecutor’s Office opened a criminal case into this incident, which is unlikely to be solved.
Crimes by the military against civilians continue. Servicemen of the federal forces commit wanton killings of civilians. Usually crimes are carried out in a state of alcohol intoxication. Below is an illustrative incident, which triggered a wide response in the Republic.
On November 16, 2005, at 7:00 p.m., in the city of Grozny, at Tukhachevskogo Prospekt, federal troops opened fire on three cars with local residents. As a result, three persons were killed: Dzhambulat Dushayev, aged 35, a resident of the village of Staraya Sunzha; Yusup Usmanov (born 1973), a resident of the village of Tsotsin-Yurt; and Khusain Akhmadov, a resident of the village of Bachi-Yurt. Another resident of the village of Staraya Sunzha, Movsar Adamovich Munayev (born 1983), sustained serious gunshot wounds and was hospitalized.
The accounts from witnesses suggest that the military, numbering up to 12 troops, who spoke Russian, approached Tukhachevskogo Prospekt from the direction of the village of Khankala. They waved down a Gazel truck, loaded with recyclable materials, forced the driver and two passengers out of the car, made them lie face down on the ground and took their documents away. Then the military started beating those people.
The Dushayev cousins, Dzhambulat and Ruslan, residents of the village of Staraya Sunzha, were sitting in a Volga car parked at the side of the road. The troops noticed them, approached the Volga and holding them at a gun-point ordered the Dushayevs out of the car. They forced them to lie down on the ground beside the three previously detained people and started beating them, too.
At the same time the troops stopped a GAZ-53 car, from which they pulled out another two civilians. The military did not in any way explain their actions; according to witnesses, they were drunk.
Ruslan Dushayev, Movsar Munayev and another two people, who were from the GAZ-53 car, managed to escape. The troops started firing at the escaping men, shooting to kill. Munayev got seriously wounded as a result.
Officers from the settlement police precinct of the Grozny Rural District ROVD very promptly arrived at the scene. Upon seeing them approaching, the military hurried to leave.
Three dead bodies were discovered during inspection of the scene. Dzhambulat Dushayev was killed by a shot to his head. Before his death he tried to protect his face with his hand and the bullet went right through his fingers. It was impossible to identify another two dead men in a visual inspection, as their faces were mutilated by gunshot wounds and by hitting with blunt objects. They were identified later on. Police officers counted nine knife and stab wounds on the back of one of the victims.
In the morning almost the entire leadership of the Republic arrived at the scene. The incident was reported to the CR President Alu Alkhanov.
Three servicemen were detained as suspects in this murder. In April 2006, one of them, contract soldier A.Yu. Krivoshonok, was sentenced for the murder of three civilians to 18 years in prison. The contract soldier claimed that he had killed the men because of their “defiant behavior.” The court ordered the military unit, where the convicted man served, to pay the families of the killed men 200,000 rubles — 600,000 rubles in total.
The second detainee, contract soldier Pavel Zinchuk, who wounded M. Munayev in the leg and opened fire with a submachine gun at two cars, was sentenced on May 16, by the Grozny military garrison court to seven years imprisonment.
There is still another defendant in the case — the leader of the reconnaissance team Anatoly Pyatnitsky. His case is also being heard by the Grozny military garrison court.
An unbelievable hideous incident happened during the election to the Chechen Republic’s Parliament: a Russian serviceman guarding a polling station shot the local administration’s head.
At about 4:00 a.m. on November 28, 2005, in the village of Nokhchi-Keloi, the Shatoi District, the head of the Pamyatoi village administration Sultan Admanovich Demilkhanov (born 1966) was killed at a polling station by a Russian serviceman. According to Ruslan, the brother of the killed man, at around 2:00 a.m., Sultan together with his two body guards went to the village of Nokhchi-Keloi to fetch election protocols and take them to the Shatoi District Election Commission. The serviceman opened fire when the car had already pulled up near the school housing the polling station and the guards who got out of it were heading towards the building. The three bullets that were fired hit the car; Sultan, who was sitting inside the car, was wounded in the hip. According to the body guards, the serviceman did not make any warning before opening fire.
Demilkhanov died from loss of blood. It was impossible to provide first aid to the wounded person, as the nearest medical station was an hour’s drive away from the scene of the incident.
The serviceman of the Shatoi District Commandant's Office Dmitry Arnautov, who committed the murder, was a member of a joint team of the military and police officers, deployed in the school to guard the polling station. A criminal case has been opened into the incident under the article “willful killing.”
Artillery bombardments of villages happening, as the military claim, because of miscalculations, continue. Six persons were wounded as a result of the shelling of the village of Starye Atagi.
At 3:00 a.m. on September 9, 2005, the village of Starye Atagi in the Grozny Rural District was subjected to shelling. Six local residents sustained wounds of varying severity. Three houses were damaged: two on Zelyonaya Street and one on Podgornaya Street. Several cattle were killed. Local residents claim that 12 shells were fired at the village, four of which exploded in the yard of the Yusupov family’s property at Zelyonaya Street.
Six persons residing there sustained fragment wounds: Mussa Kharonovich Yusupov (born 1936), Khamila Yusupova (born 1937), Yakha Berdukayeva (born 1953), Aimani Ayupova (born 1977), Elina Yusupova (born 1997), and Adam Yusupov (born 1988).
With the help of the neighbors four wounded people were immediately taken to a local hospital. Elina Yusupova was taken to Municipal Children’s Hospital No.2 and after an operation hospitalized in an intensive care unit; her condition was assessed as very grave. Mussa Yusupov and Khamila Yusupova were in bad condition.
A criminal case was opened under Article 349, Part 1, of the Criminal Code of the RF (“violation of the rules of handling weapons, which has involved infliction of grave damage to human health).
On September 27, 2005, at 3:00 a.m., the village of Dzhalka, the Gudermes District, was subjected to an artillery bombardment. The village and its surroundings were shelled four times at short intervals.
About 10 shells fell within the boundaries of the village. By good fortune, no one was injured. Several houses were damaged. The biggest damage was inflicted to the house of Beksolta Sadiyev, who lives in the center of the village; his cow was wounded.
In the morning of September 27, officers from the Gudermes Commandant's Office arrived to the village. They inspected the site where the shells exploded and paid to the Sadiyevs 17,000 rubles for the damages inflicted to them. The military apologized for the night incident, explaining that the village was shelled by mistake by green inexperienced artillerists. The guns were fired from the territory of the military unit deployed in the town of Gudermes. This was not the first incident where artillery men by mistake shelled the village of Dzhalka, however, none of those responsible has been held accountable.
The danger of mortar shelling is still present even in the center of Grozny.
At 9:00 a.m. on August 24, 2005, in the Staropromyslovsky District of the city of Grozny, a mortar shell hit the home of the Magomadov family, who live at 5 Garazhnaya Street, apartment 2. The shell smashed in the roof and the ceiling in one of the rooms.
By a lucky accident, no one was injured. People who were in the house at the moment – the housewife, Malizha Magomadova, and her little children (aged four, five and eight) — were not injured, as they were sleeping in another room.
An investigation team from law-enforcement agencies worked at the scene of the incident. They confined themselves to questioning the victims and collecting the shell fragments. No criminal case has been opened into the incident and no material damages have been repaired.
The described incidents show that the federal troops, deployed in the Republic to stabilize the situation, are themselves a threat to lives of civilians.
The Story of Residents of the Stanitsa of Borozdinovskaya, who left the village after a “special operation” carried out there on June 4, 2005, has been going on for more than a year now.
At 3:00 p.m. on thó day of the incident, the village was seized by a group of armed men numbering 70 to 80 people, who arrived by armored vehicles and cars. It emerged later that they were servicemen from Vostok [East] battalion, as testified by entry No.535, made at 8:00 p.m. on June 5, 2005, in the CR MVD message log for the Shelkovskaya District (Appendix 3). They burned down four houses, in one of which one man, 77-year old Magomaz Magomazov, was killed, and abducted 11 young men, whose fate is still unknown.
The real reason for the attack by the military was the killing near Borozdinovskaya shortly before that date of a forester, who was a relative of Khamzat Gayerbekov (aka Boroda, “Beard”). The villagers identified the man who led the pogrom as Khamzat-“Boroda,” one of the commanders of Vostok battalion, led by Sulim Yamadayev. Yamadayev’s people, like Kadyrovtsy [troops under command of Ramzan Kadyrov], act unchecked on the territory of Chechnya, administering justice and meting out punishment for the population at their own discretion and disregarding the law.
Despite the obviousness of what happened, subsequently the fact that a special operation was conducted has been denied and the investigation into the abduction of the people, into which a criminal case was opened, has been suspended.
The villagers of the stanitsa of Borozdinovskaya did not put up with the abduction of their relatives. On June 16, they left the stanitsa en masse and set up a camp alongside a federal highway on the outskirts of the city of Kizlyar in the Republic of Dagestan.
At first this evoked some response from the authorities; the Borozdinovskaya villagers were visited by the CR President Alu Alkhanov and the Cabinet Vice-Premier Ramzan Kadyrov; the latter even paid compensations to some of the residents. The Borozdinovskaya residents were promised that an investigation would be conducted and the perpetrators be punished. By the beginning of July, the villagers returned to their homes.
However, the abduction case was stalled and officials forgot about it; so, Borozdinovskaya residents again set up a camp on the territory of Dagestan. There they lived through a harsh winter, when no one, except for Civic Assistance Committee, provided them any help. In February 2006, the Committee brought to the camp supplies of foodstuffs, blankets, mattresses and bed-linen. However, by the end of June, the foodstuffs supplied by the Committee have almost run out and several families have only one sack of flour left to feed on.
People in the camp have to walk a 400-meter distance to bring water by hand. No medical services are provided in the camp. Borozdinovskaya residents are denied services in local hospitals, unless they pay money, because their medical insurance policies have been issued in Chechnya.
Parents would love to send their children to summer camps, but no one was able to help them in this matter.
Recently there have been increased contacts between the refugees and officials from the Ministry for Nationalities Policy and Information of the Republic of Dagestan, who they say have been instructed by the Republic’s President to solve the issue of settling down the camp’s residents. These contacts have intensified after the incident which happened in the camp on June 4, 2006, on the day of the anniversary of the Borozdinovskaya tragedy. The refugees decided on that day to move to a clearing which is considered to be an administrative-territorial part of Dagestan. As soon as they moved a big tent there, police officers arrived by two buses and by force and persuasion by arguments made them move back. A Deputy Minister of the RD MVD arrived to the camp and gave the refugees a promise to have their problem solved in a matter of days. Refugees are still waiting for him to keep that promise. They are asking for:
– return of the 11 abductees and consideration of the criminal case on its merits;
– payment of compensation for involuntarily abandoned housing in the CR or interest-free loans for construction of housing; and
– provision of land plots for construction of housing somewhere in Dagestan, even if in different locations.
In response to a query about the progress in the investigation of the criminal case into the Borozdinovskaya crime, the Military Prosecutor’s Office of the Joint Group of Forces (OGV) in the North Caucasus sent a response which read that “there is no objective evidence to support the claim that abduction and killings of residents of the stanitsa by the military did take place. However, this lead is being thoroughly investigated.”
Only one commissioned officer was held accountable for “illegal detention of male villagers and illegal search of property” — company commander of Vostok [East] GRU Special Battalion Mukhadi Aziyev. He was charged under Article “Abuse of Authority.” Mukhadi Aziyev received a three-year suspended sentence.
People demand full-scale investigation, which the authorities are reluctant to do; so, part of them still remain in the camp which no one already is willing to notice. The Dagestani authorities are hesitant to help their compatriots, while in Chechnya they say that this all has become thing of the past and the abductors continue serving in the Russian armed forces.
According to information from the Caucasian Knot Web site, posted on July 20, 2005, the Military Prosecutor General's Office “has information that the 11 residents of the stanitsa of Borozdinovskaya abducted on June 4, 2005, for some time were held in Ramzan Kadyrov’s private jail in Tsentoroi. According to investigators from the military prosecutor’s office, they “learned about that from field sources.” “However, we cannot verify this information — we are simply not allowed into the village,” a prosecutor’s office official stressed. “They have their own government there and federal agencies do not enjoy there any decisive authority.”
Information that the Kadyrovs’ ancestral village, Tsentoroi, has an illegal detention center for abductees, who are subjected to torture there, has more than once been reported to human rights organizations from many survivors who have been there. The most high profile, but by no means the only incident, was when relatives of the former president of Chechnya Aslan Maskhadov were held in village.
This was apparently the reason why on May 1, 2006, a mission of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture, which came to Chechnya on an official visit to inspect prisoner detention facilities, was not allowed to enter the Kadyrovs’ ancestral village, Tsentoroi. At the entrance to the village, the mission together with Russian officials accompanying it was stopped by security officers and denied entry.
The delegation was allowed into the village only on the following day, May 2, after a meeting with the CR President Alu Alkhanov. The President apologized for the incident; he said, “I believe there was a misunderstanding. There are no, and cannot be, any locations or settlements on the territory of the Chechen Republic, where the European mission would not be allowed to work.”
III. The Situation of People from Chechnya in the Republic of Ingushetia
IV. The Situation of People from Chechnya in Russia’s Regions
V. Abductions of Civilians in the Military Conflict Zone in the North Caucasus