18 October 2010
Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
The independent Kyrgyz website AKIpress has published the names of six experts who have been invited to serve on the international commission to investigate the violence in southern Kyrgyzstan in June, headed by Kimmo Kiljunen, a member of the Finnish Parliament and Special Representative on Central Asia for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA).
Kiljunen was able to enlist for his commission two former special rapporteurs from the UN:
o Philip Alston of Australia, currently professor of law at New York University who recently completed his term as UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions
o Yakin Ertürk of Turkey, a professor of sociology of the Middle East Technical University, formerly the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women from 2003-2006, also elected to the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) in November 2009.
Another former UN official Kiljunen invited to the commission:
o Ralph Zacklin of the UK, former Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, member of the Special Commission for Inquiry in Timor-Leste.
Three other members are former government officials:
o Brigitte Orbett of France, judge of the Paris Appellate Court, Secretary General of the French Office for Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons.
o Rein Mullerson of Estonia, former First Deputy Foreign Minister, President of the Law Academy of Tallinn University, former UN Regional Adviser for Central Asia.
o Valery Tishkov of Russia, academician and director of the Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, member of the Russian Public Chamber, and former Russian Minister for Nationalities, who wrote about the Osh conflict of 1990.
While Kiljunen began work forming the commission soon after violence broke out in southern Kyrgyzstan in June, it took awhile to build the necessary political support and logistics. Kiljunen originally planned to observe the Kyrgyz elections October 10, but then declined, commenting on Twitter, "who pays most, wins".
Kiljunen was asked to head the commission by Roza Otunbayeva, interim president of Kyrgyzstan and herself at one time a member of the OSCE PA.
The Finnish MP had originally hoped to get the organizational participation of the United Nations and other multilateral institutions in his commission, but despite a request from Otunbayeva, the UN decided to provide only technical assistance.
Concerns have been expressed about how much access the international commission will have to Osh, given how obstructive the mayor and other top officials have been already to human rights inquiries.
According to a report from 24.kg, Anna Matveeva, who will supply the research for the commission, said, "We hope the law-enforcement bodies of Kyrgyzstan will actively cooperate."
"The Kyrgyz government gave consent for our work," Kiljunen was quoted as saying today by 24.kg.
"The study will be based not on rumors, but on facts," he said, adding that it was not a criminal investigation. The panel expects to complete its work by February 2011.