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Russian soldiers acquitted of Chechnya civilian killings

[JURIST] A Russian military court in the North Caucasus region has found two Russian soldiers not guilty of murdering three civilians during operations in the war-torn region of Chechnya [Wikipedia profile]. Interior Force officers Yevgeny Khudyakov and Sergei Arakcheyev were charged with killing three Chechen construction workers in January 2003 [International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights report]. Investigators said the Khudyakov-Arakcheyev reconnaissance unit stopped a truck near the Chechen capital of Grozny to check documents and the vehicle. The officers allegedly ordered men out of the truck and shot them, then set fire to the car. They were acquitted in June 2004, but the Russian Supreme Court's Military Board set aside the verdict and sent the case back for further examination. In an interview with the Moscow News, the military court's chairman said that there was enough evidence for the murder of the three Chechens, but officers did not commit a crime. In August the the Russian Supreme Court overturned the acquittal of four other Russian soldiers [JURIST report] accused of killing six Chechen civilians in a 2002 incident. MosNews has more.

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