ACPC Press Release May 10, 2004

ACPC Condemns Qadyrov Assassination

The American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC) today strongly condemned Sunday's assassination of Moscow-backed administrative head Akhmed Qadyrov and called for a renewed commitment by both parties to end the war through peaceful negotiations.

"Yesterday's attack was reprehensible," said ACPC Executive Director Glen Howard, "and only serves to escalate the cycle of violence in a region desperately in need of peace."

The Associated Press estimates that 24 people were killed and over 60 injured. Among those critically injured was Colonel General Valery Baranov, Commander of the Joint Group of Forces in the North Caucasus and Russia's highest-ranking military officer in the region. Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Qadyrov in an address later that day, adding that "retribution" would be "inescapable" for "the terrorists" with whom "we are waging the struggle today."

In a statement to Chechenpress.com, Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov repudiated the bombing and denied involvement. "We condemn any form of terrorism irrespective of ideology, including arbitrary execution, kidnapping, hostage-taking for political reasons and political killings."

Qadyrov assumed the mantel of Chechnya's presidency after an election in October 2003. Despite being lauded by Moscow as a step toward bringing peace and stability to the region, most western observers decried the results as illegitimate, pointing to reports of systematic coercive tactics by the Qadyrov regime.

"The bombing simply represents the tragic end to a seriously flawed process meant to install a Kremlin proxy in Chechnya. Only through a genuine commitment to peace negotiations will there be any chance of ending the war. A return to the Liechtenstein Peace Process, started in 2002, would be an excellent first step in reopening a Russo-Chechen dialogue on peace," Howard concluded.

Founded in 1999, the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC) is a bipartisan coalition of distinguished Americans dedicated to promoting a peaceful end to the war in Chechnya.