Author`s name Olga Savka

Russian Parliament To Consider the Bill to Pardon Chechen Criminals

Illegal armed groups members might be pardoned, if their crimes were not severe

A presidential draft law about the amnesty in Chechnya was submitted to the State Duma. The document was submitted to the Russian parliament in connection with the passing of the republican Constitution in Chechnya. This was said by State Duma speaker Gennady Seleznyov. The speaker specified that the council of the Duma had not set the date yet to consider the document in connection with the recent act of terrorism in the Chechen town of Znamensy. Most likely, the date of the hearings will be discussed at the next session of the Duma.

The amnesty issue was raised by Chechnya's spiritual leaders on March 7th, 2003 in Moscow, during their meeting with President Vladimir Putin. The president stated that he treated the request with understanding. In April of 2003, the workgroup, which included spokespeople for the president, the State Duma and the Russian Justice Ministry, prepared draft laws "About Announcing Amnesty in Connection with Passing the Constitution of the Chechen Republic." Confessing a crime is supposed to become a necessary condition to pardon participants of illegal armed groups, which run their activities in Chechnya at present.

Pavel Krasheninnikov, the chairman of the State Duma Law-Making Committee, said that amnesty would touch upon only the criminals, who did not commit severe crimes and volunteered to lay down their weapons. In addition to that, it is supposed that the new law will allow to pardon the criminals that are either on trial or already in jail. The head of the committee stressed out that bandits and terrorists like Shamil Basayev would never be pardoned. Pavel Krasheninnikov added that terrorists like Basayev would be judged strictly according to the law.

However, it just so happens that neither fugitive Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov, nor terrorist leader Shamil Basayev experience a need in the amnesty. Acts of terrorism that take place in Chechnya on a daily basis rejected optimists' opinion, who believed that the people were tired of the war, that the tiredness factor would sooner or later show its positive influence on the situation. Yet, it deems that Basayev and Maskhadov do not feel tired at all: they even find some time to print leaflets and hire more men for their armed groups. While Moscow pretends that the situation in Chechnya develops according to the plan, the list of casualties gets more and more extended in the republic. Yesterday's act of terrorism, which killed 54 and wounded more than a hundred people, is another fact to prove that.


As it is known, there are two variants of the amnesty bill in the Duma. One of them is prepared by the deputy of the Russian parliament from Chechnya, Aslambek Aslakhanov. The second bill was developed by the Duma Law-Making Committee together with the presidential administration. Mr.Aslakhanov told the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper that the bill, which was prepared under the guidance of the committee's chairman, Pavel Krasheninnikov, was more aimed at helping the servicemen, who committed crimes in Chechnya, as well as the individuals, who were involved in economic crimes, who sold oil and stole budgetary funds. Who needs such amnesty?