"I am a Russian soldier who served to the people for 20 years"
Colonel Yury Budanov will be sentenced on July 25; this decision was made by the North-Caucasian circuit court. In a final plea Budanov declared: "Journalists and the Central Military Prosecutor’s Office have passed a sentence upon me. One thing I want to say is that I am a Russian soldier who served the people for 20 years. It's not over yet."
The state prosecution demanded to sentence Yury Budanov to 12 years of imprisonment. Parents of the girl slain by Budanov insist that the colonel must be sentenced to life imprisonment
The attorney of the injured party demanded that the man must serve 15 years in prison. Attorney Abdullah Khamzayev explained his demand as prediction he made during a conversation with Budanov at the previous session of the court before a court decision was passed. The attorney says that in a conversation with Yury Budanov he suggested that the colonel would be released immediately at the court session. In his turn, Yury Budanov said that he would be sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment.
The investigation reports that on the night of March 27, 2000 tank regiment commander Yury Budanov entered the settlement of Tangi in an armored vehicle, he seized Elza Kungayeva whom he considered to be a terrorist sniper and delivered it to the position where his military unit was stationed. He interrogated the girl, then strangled her and ordered soldiers to bury the girl's body. Based on the results of a psychological and psychiatric expertise performed by specialists of the Serbsky Institute of Forensic Psychiatry, the North-Caucasian circuit court exempted Yury Budanov from criminal responsibility on December 31, 2002. It was decided to send the man to a psychiatric hospital for compulsory treatment. However, on February 28, 2003 the Russian Federation Military Collegium cancelled the decision and sent Budanov's case for further investigation to the North-Caucasian circuit court martial.
Another psychological evaluation conducted revealed that when Yury Budanov killed the Chechen girl he was aware of his doings and could control them. Thus, specialists disproved the previously established results saying that the colonel was not responsible for his actions. When experts were questioned, the chairman of the proceedings Vladimir Bukreyev decided to complete the judicial inquiry. Sentence will be passed upon Budanov on July 25.
The court will hardly pay attention to the requests of Budanov's attorney Yury Dulimov who asked the court to acquit Budanov of the charges of kidnapping a person and abuse of authorities. He also asked to exempt the colonel from criminal responsibility on the indictment of killing because of the man's irresponsibility.
The proceedings are rather demonstrative. On the eve of forthcoming elections the Kremlin doesn't need problems with the Chechen population which are sure to arise if Yury Budanov is acquitted. Now it is obvious that Budanov is involved in serious politics. Is the colonel guilty that Chechnya crushed him and destroyed his soul? He is just a military man who executed an order. It would be wiser to put on trial those who sent him there.