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Kyrgyzstan commission implicates military in June 2010 violence

The Kyrgyzstan Inquiry Commission [official website] on Tuesday concluded [report, PDF] that the Kyrgyzstan military handed out weapons to Kyrgyz mobs who attacked minority Uzbeks last summer. The international, independent inquiry into the June 2010 ethnic violence [Guardian backgrounder; JURIST news archive] that resulted in more than 300 deaths and an additional 2,000 injuries discovered [AP report] that security forces participated in the violence that killed hundreds of Uzbeks:

The seizure, distribution and use of weapons during the events is a particularly disturbing feature of the events. In many instances crowds of attackers seized firearms and ammunition from the military and police in circumstances largely unopposed by troops or officers. Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) were also surrendered. The KIC notes, with some concern, that some 80 weapons and about 19,000 rounds of ammunition have not been recovered. The authorities of Kyrgyzstan have failed to carry out appropriate criminal and disciplinary investigations into the loss of weapons.
The commission also suggested that if the allegations are proven true in a court of law, the conduct may amount to crimes against humanity. Following the announcement by the commission, Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] called on Kyrgyzstan's authorities to urgently investigate and prosecute [press release] those responsible for any human rights violations. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Tuesday also urged [press release] the Kyrgyzstan authorities to promptly carry out the report's recommendations to investigate and prosecute participants in the alleged violations.

In November, a court in Kyrgyzstan sentenced 19 ethnic Uzbeks for their involvement in the summer attack. Seventeen of the Uzbeks received life sentences and two received 25-year sentences for their participation in a June 13 riot [24.kg report] that blocked a major highway and killed 16 people in the Suzak district. In September, a Kyrgyz court issued the first convictions [JURIST report] in connection with the June 2010 riots, handing down prison terms for eight ethnic Uzbeks in a case stemming from the murder of a Kyrgyz police officer during the violence. Judge Nurgazy Alymkulov of the Nooken District Court [GlobaLex backgrounder] sentenced five to life terms [RFE/RL report] on charges of murder, fomenting ethnic hatred, instigating violence and organizing public unrest. Two others were sentenced to 20 years in prison, and the last was sentenced to nine. Among those given life sentences was prominent Uzbek human rights activist Azimjan Askarov. The convictions were later described as politically motivated [Reuters report]. In July, the Kyrgyz government announced that it had opened more than 1,000 criminal cases [JURIST report] stemming from the violence, and that 106 individuals had been detained, with 97 in custody. Also in July, Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva [Telegraph profile] established the commission [JURIST report] to investigate the ethnic violence against the country's Uzbek population.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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