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23.07.2009

Russian MFA: UN experts cannot investigate Natalya Estemirova’s murder

   

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that Russian legislation does not allow for an investigation into the murder of Chechen human rights defender Natalya Estemirova under the auspices of the UN.

As reported here, seven UN human rights experts addressed an open letter to Moscow in which they pointed out the inability of the authorities over recent years to organize effective and unbiased investigations into the murders of human rights defenders.

The statement from Russia’s MFA stresses that the letter did not offer a fully-fledged investigation by the UN which it claims would anyway contravene Russian legislation, but only to take part in an investigation.

The statement reads that the experts, if they wish, can help the Russian law enforcement agencies in their investigation by providing, in accordance with Russian procedural legislation, any specific information about the crime that they may have.

The UN co-rapporteurs inform the Human Rights Council about violations in particular regions. Russia can effectively block any decisions by the Human Rights Council which it doesn’t like by relying on the support of a number of Muslim and African countries, and probably for this reason the UN experts made a direct appeal to the Russian authorities.

Russia’s President Medvedev has condemned the murder of Natalya Estemirova however called attempts to link the authorities in Chechnya headed by Ramzan Kadyrov with the murder “primitive and unacceptable”. As reported here, several human rights defenders have stated that Kadyrov bears at least political responsibility.

From information at the BBC Russian Service

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