Wednesday, 22 May 2002

KYRGYZ STATE COMMISSION RELEASES ITS REPORT

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By Aisha Aslanbekova (5/22/2002 issue of the CACI Analyst)

The state commission that had been investigating the Aksy events released its report on May 18. The report points out the main causes of the tragedy, on the basis of which the Commission makes nine suggestions including the suggestion to President Askar Akayev considering personal responsibility of several senior state officials for the events. According to the Commission\'s report, the cause of the tragedy, first of all, was the arrest of Deputy Azimbek Beknazarov and the neglect of the Jalalabad province\'s officials of the continuing request of the people, public organizations and some deputies to reconsider the charges against Beknazarov.
The state commission that had been investigating the Aksy events released its report on May 18. The report points out the main causes of the tragedy, on the basis of which the Commission makes nine suggestions including the suggestion to President Askar Akayev considering personal responsibility of several senior state officials for the events. According to the Commission\'s report, the cause of the tragedy, first of all, was the arrest of Deputy Azimbek Beknazarov and the neglect of the Jalalabad province\'s officials of the continuing request of the people, public organizations and some deputies to reconsider the charges against Beknazarov. Second, the unwillingness of state authorities and law-enforcement agencies to respond to the political situation and long-lasting public protest, which had been going on for than two months, had evoked public frustration and thus contributed to the emergence of the tragedy. Third, biased reports on Beknazarov\'s case and on the situation in Jalal-Abad by the National Radio and TV Corporation intensified the already tense situation. Among other reasons was the refusal of the Aksy district authorities to give permission for holding protests and the difficult socio-economic conditions in the district. The report also states that illegal actions of the law-enforcement agencies, who tried to handle the situation by using measures of administrative force, use of firearms, and the hasty evaluation of the situation and hasty consideration of criminal cases increased popular opposition. On the basis of these factors that led to the bloody events, the commission made a number of suggestions. The commission, first of all, suggested President Askar Akayev to consider the personal responsibility of the leaders of the presidential administration, the government, the National Security Service, the Supreme Court and the prosecutor general\'s office. According to the commission\'s report, the resignation of the Aksy district officials is not enough; and their activities prior to the tragedy and those of the Jalalabad province prosecutors and officials should be investigated. The Commission also suggested reforming the National Radio and TV Corporation, a fair consideration of the criminal case against Beknazarov, and resolving the issue of introducing new legislation on public meetings and ombudsman law in the country by July 1. The commission\'s report has created controversial opinions. The deputies of the Jogorku Kenesh Kurmanbek Osmonov and Shamshybek Medetbekov disagree with some of the suggestions made in the report. Even the member of the commission and chairwoman of the parliamentary commission on human rights, Oksana Malevanaya, who made a separate report on May 17 at a parliamentary session, disagrees with the results of the report and suggested amending it by adding some of the provisions of her own report. Such internal disagreement within the commission, in its turn, seems to have pulled back the commission from releasing the report on time. The Commission was expected to release its report on April 27, then on May 2, and finally on May 13. However, the Commission failed to prepare its report by these dates and did so only on May 18. Such a delay of the report appears to have intensified the public unrest, which can be observed today not only in the Aksy district but in other regions as well. Protests, which involve thousands of people from almost all of the provinces of Kyrgyzstan, have been going on in the country for several days. While thousands of people have been blocking the Bishkek-Osh highway, which is the main road that connects the northern and southern regions of the country, the residents of the northern Issyk-Kul province prepare to block the Bishkek-Karakol highway. Protesters nationwide have been demanding to close the criminal case against Beknazarov, to make a complete and transparent investigation of the Aksy events as well as to annul the border agreement between Kyrgyzstan and China, and the resignation of President Akayev. The State Commission has completed the investigation and came up with a report, in which it makes suggestions and tries to explain what had caused the Aksy events. However, the report is unlikely to put an end to the social and political turmoil that Kyrgyzstan today is going through, as it does not address the most critical question of who opened fire on the people on March 17-18 - and most importantly - on who\'s orders. Aisha Aslanbekova Copyright 2001 The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst. All rights reserved
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