Kyrgyzstani Authorities Fail to Investigate Human Rights Violations

Press Release
June 8, 2012

Kyrgyzstani Authorities Fail to Investigate Human Rights Violations

State Disregards Allegations of Torture, Rape and Murder of Civilians

Contact: Sharon Singh, ssingh@aiusa.org, 202-675-8579, @spksingh

(Washington, D.C.) -- Amnesty International condemns Kyrgyzstani authorities for their failure to investigate allegations of human rights violations committed against civilians during the June 2010 ethnic conflict, which resulted in hundreds of dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.

Two years ago, violence erupted between Kyrgz and Uzbek ethnic groups in the south of the country. An Amnesty International briefing published today, Kyrgyzstan: Dereliction of Duty, finds that authorities have demonstrated reluctance to effectively investigate chargesof collusion and complicity by state security forces in the violence.

"There are wounds that time will not heal," said Maisy Weicherding, Amnesty International's expert on Kyrgyzstan. "Truth, accountability and justice are the only tools that will mend the bridges between the two communities."

Kyrgyzstani authorities have neglected their responsibility to provide justice for the thousands of victims. Amnesty International calls on the international community to provide the authorities in the country with technical and financial support.

"Crimes against humanity, which have included torture, rape and murder of civilians have gone unpunished," added Weicherding."Whatever investigations were undertaken have been one-sided; trials have fallen short of international standards of fairness."

In June 2010,Kyrgyzs and Uzbeks were involved in killings, looting and rampage in the southern towns of Osh and Jalal-Abad.However, the majority of the damage, injuries and deaths were suffered by ethnic Uzbeks.

Under international pressure, the government and former president mandated an Independent International Commission of inquiry into the events. In May 2011, however, the authorities rejected the findings that showed strong evidence that crimes against humanity had been committed against ethnic Uzbeks in the city of Osh.

To date, no investigations or prosecutions of any crimes against humanity have been initiated.

Two years after the violence, torture and other ill-treatment, including beatings by law enforcement officers, appear to be routine: in the street during apprehension, during house searches, during transfer to detention centers, during initial interrogation and in pre-charge detention facilities.

While investigating crimes, police officers continue to target Uzbek neighborhoods and Uzbeks, threatening to charge them with serious criminal offenses, such as murder and violent mass disturbances, in order to extort money from them.

Human rights organizations have documented dozens of cases of rape and other sexual violence of both Uzbek and Kyrgyz women and girls. Despite isolated cases of boys and men being raped, there has been little progress in investigating them since the conflict occurred. According to the Osh City Prosecutor, of 105 cases against 121 defendants in relation to the June 2010 violence, which made it to trial, only two resulted in acquittals.

"There is no statute of limitations for crimes against humanity," concluded Weicherding."The Kyrgyzstani authorities must investigate all human rights violations committed during the June 2010 violence and in the aftermath, including crimes against humanity, and the international community must stand firm in ensuring the government delivers justice to victims."

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.