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Report: Kyrgyz Army Implicated in 2010 Ethnic Violence

Kyrgyz soldiers rest after conducting house-to-house searches in a district inhabited by ethnic Uzbek Kyrgyz citizens in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh, June 22, 2010.

An independent, international investigation into ethnic clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan last year says Kyrgyz security forces may have been complicit in the violence.

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry released its report Tuesday on the ethnic bloodshed between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks around the cities of Osh and Jalalabad last June. The violence killed some 470 people, wounded thousands and displaced 400,000. The Uzbek minority bore the brunt of the suffering.

The commission, created at the request of President Roza Otunbayeva, partially blamed the ethnic violence on a political power vacuum created when former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted from power two months before.

It said that had the military been properly instructed and deployed, it would have been possible to prevent the violence.

The report also determined that the attacks on Uzbek neighborhoods would be considered "crimes against humanity" in a court of law. But it stopped short of branding the violence as "war crimes or genocide."

Kyrgyzstan's government rejected the commission's conclusions, saying the report disproportionately blamed the ethnic Kyrgyz community, and warned that it could spark more tensions.

The commission's report also acknowledged the excellent cooperation from the Kyrgyz authorities in allowing access to the necessary information.

A spokesman for the U.S. State Department Mark Toner congratulated the Kyrgyz government for requesting the commission and for its cooperation in the inquiry. It also urged the government to take further steps to ensure accountability and prevent any recurrence of similar violence.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.