Federation Council Speaker: Raising issue of "international tribunal on Chechnya" illegitimate

Federation Council (the upper house of Russia's parliament) Speaker Sergei Mironov has said it would be wrong to raise the issue of the so-called international tribunal on Chechnya. The very issue provokes perplexity at least, the speaker said when meeting Secretary General of the Council of Europe Walter Schwimmer in Strasbourg on Thursday.

According to the Federation Council speaker, the now applicable system of law in Russia "meets the ideals of the Council of Europe" and requires no "interference from the outside." "All the necessary legal structures have been established in Chechnya, courts and the prosecutor's office are functioning and criminals are held responsible on a compulsory basis," Mironov said. He stressed that the recent referendum on the Chechen constitution had given the process another impetus.

"That's why any appeals to set up a tribunal cannot but provoke perplexity," the Federation Council speaker said.

Walter Schwimmer replied that as secretary general of the Council of Europe he "cannot comment on the decisions taken at the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe." However, in his personal opinion, PACE's recent resolution on the international tribunal is "of a conditional nature." According to him, everything possible should be done "not to damage the confidence in the process which was launched by the successful referendum and may lead to comprehensive political settlement." The Council of Europe, for one, is ready to render any assistance to the process of stabilisation in Chechnya, Schwimmer said.

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