You are on page 1of 2


2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 26 E/91

What steps will the Council take to condemn the genocide and restore civil society and liberty in

(2001/C 26 E/111) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0707/00
by Andre Brie (GUE/NGL) to the Council

(14 March 2000)

Subject: Council’s position regarding media reports of extremely serious human rights violations, notably
murder, torture, rape and looting, by Russian forces in Chechnya

Across a very wide section of the international media, there has recently been extensive reporting of
numerous instances of murder, torture, rape and looting by Russian forces in Chechnya.

1. Can the Council confirm these reports, and what is its own assessment of these alleged occurrences?

2. What steps has the Council taken to reliably investigate the truth of these very serious allegations?

3. What action does the Council intend to take against Russia, should these reports prove to be

4. Does the Council intend to seek, or, possibly, support, international action to prosecute and convict
those directly responsible, and those responsible at state level, for murder, torture, rape and looting alleged
to have been committed by members of the Russian forces in Chechnya?

5. What are the criteria applied by the Council in determining its position on such international
criminal proceedings, in particular on what scale does murder, torture, rape, looting and expulsion for
which a state is answerable, which is tolerated by the state or which is caused in some other way by the
actions of a state or by the failure of a state to act have to take place in order for the Council of the
European Union to support such international action to prosecute and convict those responsible?

Joint answer
to Written Questions E-0703/00 and E-0707/00

(26 June 2000)

The Council has repeatedly condemned as totally unacceptable the Russian military action in Chechnya. As
stated in repeated public declarations, the Council views all the human rights abuses in Chechnya with the
gravest concern. Pressure has been maintained at all levels on the Russian authorities to stop human rights
abuses against the Chechen population and the Council will continue to strive for progress in achieving a
political settlement to the conflict. It is the belief of the Council that its sustained efforts have begun to
yield demonstrable results.

The EU has taken every available opportunity to investigate the situation in Chechnya. In this it has been
hampered by the difficulty of gaining access to the region. It has, however, organised a fact-finding visit to
Chechnya by EU ambassadors to Moscow. The Council has also actively associated itself with other
initiatives in the region. There are strong links and good cooperation with the OSCE, of which Austria is
the Chair in office, and the Council of Europe, of which Ireland is the Chair in office.

The conclusions of the Helsinki European Council on 10 and 11 December 1999 condemned the Russian
action in the most forthright terms. Since the Helsinki Declaration, it has been working with the European
Commission on a revised TACIS programme, which would reduce the aid available to Russia to certain
priority areas. This programme will centre on institution building, the promotion of democracy and the
rule of law. More recently, the conclusions of the Lisbon European Council on 23/24 March 2000
continued to call on Russia to take immediate steps towards a peaceful solution to the conflict. On
27 March, following the election of President Putin, the High Representative of the Council called for
peace in Chechnya to be the first priority of the new administration. On 6 and 7 April, the Troika is set to
C 26 E/92 Official Journal of the European Communities EN 26.1.2001

visit Moscow, where the EU Presidency will use the opportunity to express its views forcefully to the
Russian side. And on 10 April the subject will be on the agenda of the Cooperation Council with Russia to
be held in Luxembourg.

The Council has repeatedly demanded that all human rights violations be investigated in a credible and
transparent way, and that those implicated in atrocities be brought to justice. The President of the Council
expressed deep concern about the situation in Chechnya in his statement on 29 March to the Commission
for Human Rights in Geneva.

In the Commission for Human Rights the Presidency, acting on behalf of the European Union, played an
active part in the debate on human rights in Chechnya. It submitted a Resolution voicing deep concern at
reports of gross, widespread and flagrant violations of human rights in Chechnya and calling for a
national, broad-based and independent commission of inquiry to be set up. The Commission voted to
adopt the Resolution. The Council is monitoring closely the work of Mr Kalamanov, the Russian
Presidential Special Representative for Human Rights. It expects him to contribute to bringing about
justice in Chechnya, and restoring some faith in the law. The Council strongly calls on the Russian
authorities to make this possible.

(2001/C 26 E/112) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0708/00
by Hiltrud Breyer (Verts/ALE) to the Commission
(17 March 2000)

Subject: Designation of the Danube water-meadows as a special conservation area under the flora and
fauna habitats directive

According to press reports, the Bavarian Government will only decide whether to designate the Danube
water-meadows between Straubing and Vilshofen as a special conservation area for flora and fauna habitats
once the question is settled of whether and how the Danube is to be developed. According to Court of
Justice case-law, however, decisions on whether and within what boundaries special conservation areas are
to be set up must be taken exclusively on nature protection (and not economic) grounds.

1. Is the Commission aware of the Bavarian Government’s reprehensible attitude in this matter?

2. Does the Commission agree that the Danube water-meadows between Straubing and Vilshofen
should be classified immediately as a protected area (under the EC directive on the conservation of birds)
and designated as a special flora and fauna habitats conservation area?

3. Is the Commission aware that the decision on the Danube development is to be taken this year,
when the current in-depth studies have been concluded?

4. Is the Commission aware that three of the four alternative Danube development plans that have so
far been studied (Alternatives B, C and D) will destroy or seriously affect the ‘de facto protected area of the
Danube meadows’?

5. Is the Commission aware that, according to two new studies, Alternative A, which is environmentally
acceptable and reasonably priced, will achieve comparable navigable depths to those in the central Rhine
and the Wachau (with an almost constant channel width of 70 metres)?

Answer given by Mrs Wallström on behalf of the Commission
(17 April 2000)

1. and 2. Considerable delays have been experienced in the designation by Germany, including Bavaria,
of special protected areas according to Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the conservation
of wild birds (1) and the proposal of sites of Community importance according to Council Directive 92/43/
EEC (2) of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora. The
Commission has therefore launched infringement proceedings against Germany with regard to the correct
application of both directives. In the first case an application to the Court of justice is currently under
preparation, in the second the matter is already before the Court and a ruling is awaited.