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Switzerland joins international community to demand Chechnya inquiry

Switzerland has urged Moscow to open an independent inquiry into alleged atrocities in Chechnya. The Swiss ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, François Nordmann, added his voice to international condemnation of Russia.

Switzerland has urged Moscow to open an independent inquiry into alleged atrocities in the breakaway republic of Chechnya. The Swiss ambassador, François Nordmann, told the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva, "It is the responsibilty first and foremost of the Russian authorities to clear the accusations made against it and to bring those responsible to justice."

Nordmann said the inquiry panel should include international experts, adding that, "An international component is in our eyes, an important factor for giving investigation efforts credibility."

Switzerland's demand echoes calls by the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Mary Robinson, and by President Clinton, for Moscow to hold an impartial inquiry into accusations of mass murder and torture in Chechnya. Robinson condemned the human rights situation in Chechnya last week, after returning from a fact-finding mission in the republic.

Moscow has reacted coolly to the calls for an inquiry, insisting that while it has no problem with opening an inquiry, there is nothing to investigate.

swissinfo and agencies




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