07MOSCOW520, GOR PICKS AND CHOOSES ITS HUMAN RIGHTS FORA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MOSCOW520 2007-02-06 15:50 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO9561
RR RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0520/01 0371550
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 061550Z FEB 07
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7231
INFO RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 000520 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/05/2017 
TAGS: PHUM PGOV RS
SUBJECT: GOR PICKS AND CHOOSES ITS HUMAN RIGHTS FORA 
 
Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Daniel A. Russell. 
Reasons 1.4 (b and d). 
 
1.  (C) SUMMARY:  The recent fact-finding trip by three noted 
human rights lawyers to Moscow was largely ignored by GOR 
officials, in keeping with Russia's long-standing policy to 
prevent "internationalization" of Chechnya.  Russian 
officials have evinced greater interest in bringing together 
human rights activists with Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan 
Kadyrov in late February.  Human rights advocates are torn 
between obligations to the Council of Europe and the prospect 
of lending any credibility to Kadyrov, whom most consider a 
criminal, at a minimum.  END SUMMARY. 
 
HEARINGS IN MOSCOW 
------------------ 
 
2.  (C) The International Commission of Jurists sponsored a 
two-day hearing on Russia's counter-terrorism policies and 
human rights, one of several hearings that it and its Eminent 
Panel of Jurists have conducted worldwide.   Chaired by 
former UN Human Rights Commissioner and Irish President Mary 
Robinson, the panel also included Hina Jilani, the UNSYG 
Representative for Human Rights Defenders, and Stefan 
Trechsel, a judge on the International Criminal Tribunal for 
Yugoslavia and former president of the European Commission on 
Human Rights.  Memorial, Human Rights Watch, the Demos 
Center, Civic Assistance, Amnesty International and other 
Russian flagship human rights organizations, as well as 
victims of human rights abuses, testified on Russia's conduct 
of the conflict in the North Caucasus and law enforcement 
actions against alleged Islamic extremists. 
 
3.  (C) While there was little new in the activists' 
testimony about human rights abuses in the North Caucasus or 
in aggressive action against purported members of 
Hizb-ut-Tahrir, or against the Russian-Chechen Friendship 
Society and other NGOs, GOR officials chose not to testify. 
Robinson and her colleagues did not get requested meetings 
with officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Federal 
Security Service, Office of the Procurator General or 
Ministry of Internal Affairs.  They did meet with Human 
Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin, Ella Pamfilova, chair of the 
Presidential Commission on the Development of Civil Society 
Institutions and Human Rights, and an official at the 
Ministry of Justice. 
 
4.  (C) Robinson had appealed to Western embassy 
representatives during a reception in the panel's honor to 
encourage GOR officials to meet with her and her colleagues 
and made repeated references to the panel's interest in 
getting "both sides" during its hearings.  Robinson told us 
that the panel had received excellent cooperation from other 
governments, including the U.S.  Frustrated, the panel left 
Moscow a day early because it had no meetings.  Russian NGO 
contacts said the panelists had complained about the GOR's 
lack of cooperation, and they had sharpened their remarks 
during a final press conference.  A statement released at the 
press conference said that Russia's counterterrorist policies 
have led to a suppression of human rights. 
 
5.  (C) Demos Center's Tanya Lokshina attributed the GOR's 
reticence to Trechsel's presence on the panel because of GOR 
sensitivities over the Hague Tribunal and allegations by some 
that war crimes had been committed in Chechnya.   Lokshina 
thought that the GOR had needlessly hurt its reputation by 
refusing to testify and largely ignoring the panel, almost 
compelling the panel to release a critical statement. 
 
A ROUNDTABLE IN GROZNY 
---------------------- 
 
6.  (C) Conversely, the GOR is eager to host Council of 
Europe (COE) representatives and human rights groups for a 
roundtable in Grozny at the end of February.  Lokshina told 
us she had been approached by a Presidential Administration 
official in December seeking her participation and promising 
Kadyrov would appear to hear criticism and specific instances 
of abuse in Chechnya.  She said human rights NGOs were 
debating how to respond.  They were caught between the 
involvement of the COE, which many of them consider to be one 
of the few potential positive influences on GOR behavior, and 
their reluctance to lend Kadyrov any credibility.  No one was 
naive enough to think the roundtable would lead to any 
substantive improvement in the human rights situation or 
investigation of specific cases, Lokshina said. 
 
7.  (C) Human Rights Watch Country Director Allison Gill said 
human rights groups agreed that activists based in Chechnya 
should not be involved, for their own protection.  Beyond 
that, groups were split between vehement opposition to 
participating and those who wanted to attempt to negotiate 
 
MOSCOW 00000520  002 OF 002 
 
 
their participation.  Lokshina said that groups would try to 
delay the roundtable to have more time to come to a consensus 
on a response. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
8.  (C)  The GOR has always resisted any 
"internationalization" of Chechnya, especially anything even 
remotely tied to an international tribunal.  It is no 
surprise that Robi
nson and her colleagues were not well 
received by the GOR.  Conversely, the GOR has historically 
been more receptive to the COE.  Although the COE has 
criticized GOR conduct and discussions have been contentious, 
the GOR sees the council as at least more amenable to GOR 
positions.  There is an additional element that factors into 
the GOR's different approaches to these fora: the ongoing 
Kremlin efforts to polish Kadyrov's image.  Having Kadyrov 
sit down with human right activists in a COE forum would 
bolster Russia's claims to the international community that 
it takes human rights abuses seriously, while also seeking to 
present a kinder, gentler Kadyrov. 
BURNS

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