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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

UN Human Rights Chief Calls for 'Credible' Probes

GENEVA -- United Nations human rights chief Mary Robinson has accused Russia of failing to meet international demands for "credible" investigations of reported killings, torture and looting by its forces in Chechnya.

Her report, released late Tuesday and due to be examined by the upcoming UN Commission on Human Rights, could spark fresh demands for an international probe.

Robinson also called on Chechen rebels to halt attacks, including kidnappings, on authorities and civilians.

She noted that Russian authorities had said they had stepped up investigations into suspected crimes by military and other personnel.

Russia opened 106 criminal cases in 2001, three times the number of the previous year, with convictions of 17 military personnel so far.

But insisting that there must be a "credible response" from authorities "commensurate with the scale of the allegations of serious human rights abuses," Robinson called for an "independent, wide-ranging" inquiry.

The UN rights chief cited activist groups including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Memorial, which have documented alleged abuses by troops, mainly during so-called clean-up operations in July and December 2001.

At its last meeting in April 2000, the UN commission condemned Russia for disproportionate use of force. The commission begins its annual six-week session in Geneva on Monday, but no date has been set for its debate on Chechnya.