• Press Release

Kyrgyzstan Must Deliver Justice to Victims of Crimes Against Humanity, Says Amnesty International

May 6, 2011

Amnesty International Media Release
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Kyrgyzstan Must Deliver Justice to Victims of Crimes Against Humanity, Says Amnesty International

Contact: AIUSA media relations, 202-509-8194

(Washington, D.C.) — Kyrgyzstan’s authorities must urgently investigate and prosecute those responsible for human rights violations during unrest in June 2010, Amnesty International said today after an international commission of inquiry found that the violence amounted to crimes against humanity.

Four days of violent clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks in the south of the country left around 470 people dead, thousands injured and hundreds of thousands displaced.  

Despite having cooperated with the commission’s investigation, the Kyrgyzstani government has rejected the Kyrgyzstan Inquiry Commission’s finding that crimes against humanity were committed.

"This report is comprehensive and constructive, and the Kyrgyzstani authorities cannot afford to ignore its findings," said Nicola Duckworth, director of Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Program. "They must ensure that the crimes that took place are properly investigated and prosecuted in accordance with their qualification under international law. The international community must both push and support the Kyrgyzstani authorities to do this."

"The failure to ensure that justice is done will undermine the rule of law, encourage corruption and criminality and sow the seeds of future turmoil and human rights violations," said Duckworth.

Amnesty International has previously condemned the widespread human rights violations that took place during and after the June 2010 violence, which saw large-scale arson, looting and violent attacks, including killings and sexual violence.

While serious crimes were committed by both ethnic Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks over the four days of clashes, the majority of the damage, injuries and deaths were suffered by ethnic Uzbeks.

The commission found strong evidence of widespread, systematic and coordinated offenses against ethnic Uzbek in Osh that would amount to crimes against humanity if proved in court. Following the violence, Uzbeks were also the main victims of arbitrary arrests, torture and ill-treatment in detention.

The commission concluded that torture of detainees in connection with the violence had been “almost universal” and was still ongoing, and that the response of the authorities to allegations of torture had been “grossly inadequate”.

“The widespread use of torture in the security operations after the violence and the repeated official endorsement of an ethnically biased version of events, laying the blame squarely on the Uzbeks, have led to a sense of impunity for perpetrators and injustice for their victims,” said Duckworth.

"All crimes – including crimes against humanity – must be investigated and prosecuted fairly and effectively," added Duckworth. "This is not yet being done. The result is that hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals – officials and civilians, ethnic Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbek – are escaping accountability for their crimes."

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.

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