No mercy to terrorists – President Medvedev

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called on law enforcement agencies for radical action to confront terrorism in the Caucasus and eliminate terrorists in cold blood and without hesitation.

It follows Monday's suicide blast in the city of Nazran that claimed the lives of 25 people, and injured more than 130.

The President addressed security bodies including members of the Russia’s Security Council at a special meeting in Stavropol in Southern Russia dedicated to the neutralization of terrorist and extremist threats in the North Caucasus region.

“They must pay dearly for the crimes committed against Ingush people, leaders of the republic’s law-enforcement authorities and human right activists. The punishment must be severe and inevitable,” the Russian President demanded.

“Make no exceptions dealing with terrorists, terminate them swiftly and without indecision otherwise there will be no success in this matter,” said Medvedev.

He also stressed that the roots of the security problems in the North Caucasus lay within the country and are directly linked with corruption and the troubled social and economic situation in the region.

Medvedev placed partial blame on the clannish organization of the political and economical structure in the North Caucasus region.

He pointed out that clans do not care about ordinary people and often interrupt money flows from the federal center in order to settle financial scores with one other. Corruption is wide spread in the law enforcement community and could take years to eradicate this problem.

Taking all these factors into account, Medvedev said that serious amendments should be taken to counter terrorism and extremism in Russia. He proposed to remove, from the jurisdiction of jury trials, crimes committed by criminal communities and crime families.

“Jury trials cannot deal with such crimes for many reasons. They should delegate them to a group of professional judges who would do a much better job,” proposed the President.

“If we cannot efficiently bring bandits to justice here in the North Caucasus, we will do it somewhere else, in Moscow, St.Petersburg or Kamchatka. They must be punished and imprisoned,” Medvedev concluded.

At the same meeting the head of Russia’s Investigative Committee Aleksandr Bastrykin was frank with the audience and told it that “the factual background of jury trials in the North Caucasus exposed their inefficiency.”

Bastrykin made an example of a recent incident in the neighbouring Republic of Dagestan where the local court refused to sanction the apprehension of a person suspected of murdering the republic’s Interior Minister.

Russia’s deputy Interior Minister Arkady Edelev, who was commissioned to the North Caucasus by the Russian President to organize the work of local legal bodies, made a statement that the current judicial practice in the North Caucasus makes it impossible to successfully execute counter-terrorist operations.

“We cannot provide the legal redress for the committed crimes and acts of terror as promised by law,” concluded Edelev.

“You should organize their work properly, help them morally and implement suitable specialists,” responded Medvedev.