Acts of Violence
The end of large-scale fighting did not mean security for civilians in Chechnya. Hundreds of thousands of Chechens who fled their homes for refugee camps in Ingushetia and elsewhere in the region remain displaced. Even though conditions in those camps were poor, the situation was worse where the refugees came from. Those who did remain in Chechnya, especially men between the ages of 15 and 49, faced the threat of theft, beatings, arrest, and murder by Russian soldiers during so-called zachistki -- door to door searches for rebels -- and at roadblocks. Detainees were often swept into a system of "filtration" camps, where torture was routine, before being ransomed back to their families or killed. Many simply disappeared.
In 1992, the United Nations General Assembly declared enforced disappearances "an offence to human dignity" and condemned the practice "as a grave and flagrant violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights." According to the statute of the International Criminal Court, "enforced disappearance of persons" can be a crime against humanity. The statute defines "enforced disappearance of persons" as "the arrest, detention or abduction of persons by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, a State or a political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge that deprivation of freedom or to give information on the fate or whereabouts of those persons, with the intention of removing them from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time."
Although Russian authorities acknowledged some abuses, the number of admitted abuses was much lower than those calculated by human rights organizations. Accountability was virtually nonexistent, as the Russians failed to thoroughly investigate most human rights violations. They also impeded access of international monitors, human rights and humanitarian organizations, and the media.