Russlands brudd på menneskerettighetene i Tsjetsjenia er så grove og mange at de utgjør forbrytelser mot menneskeheten, slår Human Rights Watch fast i en ny rapport.

Russia’s record in quelling the revolt in Chechnya is a crime against humanity, and the European Union’s reluctance to criticise it is «unconscionable», a human rights campaigning group has alleged.

Human Rights Watch says in a report issued on Monday that «enforced disappearances» in which people are taken into unofficial custody by state agents have «reached the level of a crime against humanity».

The report describes 43 disappearances that occurred in 2004, 2_kommentarly carried out by pro-Moscow Chechen forces, and cites claims that there have been between 3,000 and 5,000 disappearances in the conflict since 1999.

«To look the other way while crimes against humanity are being committed is unconscionable,» said Rachel Denber of Human Rights Watch’s Europe and Central Asia Division.

The leaders of the EU’s biggest countries notably France and Germany are taking pains not to isolate Mr Putin from the west, in contrast with the line taken by President George W. Bush, who criticised Moscow’s behaviour sharply during a visit to Europe last month. / World / Europe – Russia’s human rights record under fire

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