Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Monitors Leave Chechnya As Police Display Corpses

ALKHAN-YURT, Chechnya — Russian officials showed off the bodies of four alleged rebels Wednesday to demonstrate success in their battle with separatists in Chechnya, according to news reports, while European human rights monitors wrapped up a trip to the troubled region.

Lord Judd, chief of a delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, returned to Moscow after a two-day trip to Chechnya and was scheduled to address members of the State Duma.

He said that he had seen some improvements since he started monitoring the situation a year ago: Civil courts were beginning to operate again, the number of military checkpoints had decreased, mixed teams including Chechen policemen were stationed at the checkpoints, and the military presence has begun to be reduced.

"But there are still a lot of cases of disappearance, of harassment, and allegations of ill-treatment, there is still no indication whatsoever of anything coming before either the civil courts or the military courts on the mass killings, the well-documented mass killings, or on the disappearance of the former speaker of the Chechen parliament [Ruslan Alikhadzhiyev]," Judd said.

Judd said there could be no lasting solution to the conflict unless "accountable democracy" was established, with Chechens electing their own leaders.

The Parliamentary Assembly suspended Russia's voting rights last spring after determining that the army had committed human rights abuses in Chechnya.

On Wednesday, police in Grozny displayed four bodies and weapons including an assault rifle and flame-thrower they said were found after a firefight on the outskirts of town, Itar-Tass reported.

Paramilitary police stopped a car the Chechen men were in after recognizing it as belonging to suspected rebels. The men inside opened fire and then tried to flee, Itar-Tass said, citing police reports. They were killed in the shootout.

Also Wednesday, two soldiers died after stepping on mines near Grozny, soldiers at a checkpoint said. In Urus-Martan, southwest of Grozny, soldiers arrested eight people after an armored personnel carrier struck a mine Tuesday, killing four soldiers.