When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, Chechnya, which was then part Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Republic in Northern Caucasus, also declared its independence. It was in December 1994 that the Russian Federation launched a military operation against the rebelling state. This ended in 1996 with a humiliating defeat for Russia, and Aslan Maskhadov was elected as Chechen President in 1997. However, despite of peace treaty signed between the two countries, Chechnya relapsed in a turmoil that the fairly elected president was unable to control. This was due to the destruction from the war, failure of Russia to provide promised war reparations, external interference by Islamic radicals, swelling crime and inter-Chechen enmities, which granted excuse to the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to launch a second war against Chechnya in 1999, in name of combating international terrorism, but with an obvious purpose of forcing Chechnya back into the Federation (Faurby, 1999).
The combat continues as a guerrilla war with ample loss of life and resources on both sides and bleak prospects for hostilities to end soon. International humanitarian laws and human rights laws have been extensively violated on both sides. Reports estimate death toll to be around 80000 since, while the number of displaced to the neighbouring Dagestan is estimated to be 300000 (IRC, c.2006). Russian political leaders were insistent that the warfare was an internal matter for Russia, something that many western leaders were eager to approve, as they did not want the Chechen conflict to hinder their relations (Cornell, 1999). This was not only politically problematic, but also a breach of international laws. However, as the Non Governmental Organization (NGOs) like the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International increase their activities in human rights field by bringing to light the violations and lobbying ...
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