Louise Arbour, the U.N. commissioner for human rights, has now completed her tour of the North Caucasus. At a press conference in Moscow today, she said that
rights abuses remain rampant in Chechnya, and suggested the republic's pro-Kremlin government has a vested interest in maintaining, in her words, "a society ruled by force:" "Two phenomena, in my view, are particularly disturbing. One is the prevalence of the use of torture to extract confessions and information. And the second one is the intimidation of those who make complaints against public officials. In my opinion, there's no doubt that these phenomena are more than mere allegations, and that they have in fact considerable basis in reality."