Kyrgyzstan establishes commission to probe ethnic violence

[JURIST] Kyrgyz interim President Roza Otunbayeva [Telegraph profile] on Thursday issued a decree establishing a commission to investigate last month's ethnic violence [Guardian backgrounder] against the country's Uzbek population. The commission is comprised of 30 former government officials [VOR report], human rights activists and professors, headed by former parliament speaker Abdygany Erkebayev. It will consult with government and international experts and present its findings [AP report] on the causes and repercussions of the violence in September. The decree comes one week after Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported that the Kyrgyz government requested that the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) [official website] conduct an international inquiry [press release] into the violence. HRW urged OSCE to include the role of the Kyrgyz security forces in instigating and perpetrating the violence during the investigation, in addition to their conduct in the aftermath. On Wednesday, HRW called for an end to the torture [press release] and detention of Uzbeks believed to have been involved in the violence and urged the Kyrgyz government to abide by national and international law during the investigation.

The Kyrgyz government announced Friday that it has opened more than 1,000 criminal cases [JURIST report] stemming from the recent violence. Regional officials in Osh, an area in southern Kyrgyzstan, announced that 106 individuals had already been detained [ITAR-TASS report]. The violence resulted from a clash between the Kyrgyz majority and the Uzbek minority and official estimates place the death toll at 309, with an additional 2,000 reportedly injured. Property damage estimates exceed $71 million. The interim government extended a curfew and state of emergency [UPI report] in the area until August. A new constitution took effect in Kyrgyzstan earlier this month after it was approved by voters [JURIST reports] in a nationwide referendum. In June, the interim government under Otunbayeva announced the referendum to reform the country's constitution would occur despite the ethnic violence [JURIST report] in Osh. The constitution was originally approved by the interim government [JURIST report] in May. The June rioting in Osh followed violent protests in the capital city of Bishkek in April that resulted in former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev being removed from office [JURIST report].

 

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