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Friday, 3 May, 2002, 09:39 GMT 10:39 UK
Chechnya: 'West must do more'
Tim Sebastian with Lord Judd,  the Council of Europe's rapporteur on Chechnya
The West must do more to ease the "nightmare" humanitarian crisis in Chechnya.

The warning comes from the UK's Lord Judd, who heads the European team investigating alleged human rights abuses in the breakaway republic.

  Click here to watch the full programme  

Lord Judd, who has been in Moscow for informal talks between Russia and Chechnya added that there was still not enough being done by the Kremlin to look into complaints of atrocities.

Bloody conflict

Lord Judd, the Council of Europe's rapporteur on Chechnya, told Tim Sebastian in an interview for the BBC's HARDtalk programme: "We are demanding that there should be more humanitarian assistance in the short term.

"We are demanding that there should be more support for the human rights work that is beginning.

"Nobody is pretending that the situation isn't a nightmare."


What I saw horrified me

Lord Judd
Russia has been involved in a long and bloody conflict with Chechnya since it declared independence in 1991.

In March this year the commander of the Russian forces in Chechnya signed a decree to end the abuse by soldiers against Chechen civilians.

But said Lord Judd: "I am exasperated by the way in which they've failed to investigate and pursue the abuses which have taken place and the way in which the army still on occasion takes indiscriminate and disproportionate action."

Horrified

Lord Judd said that the solution to the conflict between Chechnya and Russia must be a political one - and defended his decision not to support tougher sanctions.

"We can't impose a solution from the outside. The solution has be found by Russia and the Chechens. We must be working with people who are in the Russian political system to build up that demand for change."

Lord Judd went on to say that he had been "very disappointed" when in April 2000 Tony Blair had attended the opera in St Petersburg with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

At the same time, Lord Judd became one of the first politicians outside Russia to visit the Chechen capital Grozny - which had been the location of some of the most bloody fighting between Russia and the Chechen rebels.

He said: "What I saw horrified me. Here was the systematic destruction of a city in Europe in a country which claimed membership of the Council of Europe. I was appalled.

He added: "I was very disappointed because I was trying to start this as a serious business and there was Tony at the Opera in St Petersburg. It was not a good moment."

You can watch the HARDtalk interview in full at the following times:

BBC News 24 (times shown in GMT)
2 May 0430, repeated 2230

BBC World (times shown in GMT)
2 May 0430, repeated 1130, 1630, 1930, 0030

See also:

04 Mar 02 | Europe
Chechnya's friendly-fire mystery
06 Sep 01 | Europe
Chechnya's decade of disaster
11 Mar 00 | Europe
Blair calls for Chechnya probe
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