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No support for Polish officers’ rehabilitation from RF ombudsman

October 26, 2011, 19:11 UTC+3

Lavrov said that Russia is ready to consider rehabilitation of the Katyn victims

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MOSCOW, October 26 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia’s ombudsman for human rights Vladimir Lukin does not support the idea of rehabilitation of the Polish officers executed by NKVD (People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs) in 1940. He told this a press conference in Moscow on Wednesday. “The proposal for rehabilitation has an element of ostentation and political theatricality,” Lukin said. “I am often told: ‘Let’s rehabilitate Kolchak.’ Then, by the same token, let us rehabilitate Pseudo-Demetrius. Going this way we can delve as deep in history as the code of King Hammurabi,” the ombudsman said. He suggested that the Polish side should reach agreement with the Russian side as to how to turn that page of history without relegating that tragedy to oblivion. “Contemporary Russia has nothing to do with that state (the USSR – Itar-Tass),” Lukin said.

Andrei Sorokin, the director of the Russian State Archives of Socio-Political History, also suggests that distinction should be made between the USSR and present-day Russia. He holds that Poland and Russia should reach agreement on the attitude to the Katyn case at the level of intellectuals and then at the level of the “political elites.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in an interview with the Echo of Moscow, Voice of Russia and Radio Russia stations on October 21 said that Russia is ready to consider rehabilitation of the Katyn victims, to satisfy the families of the dead Polish officers, while remaining in the national legislation field.

“As regards relations with Poland and the lawsuits the families of the officers executed in the Katyn forest referred to the European Court of Human Rights, we are engaged in a highly specific talk with the Polish government on this sad theme,” the minister said. “The State Duma passed a specific resolution on the matter this year. We are ready to consider quite a justifiable request for rehabilitation of those people,” he said.

“The matter is in the field of law,” the minister said. “It must be settled in such a way as to satisfy the families of the Polish officers and to stay within the legal field of the Russian Federation.” “This matter is dealt with,”

Lavrov added. “There is an interdepartmental group that considers these questions,” he said.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in July 2011 found the lawsuits brought by relatives of the Polish officers executed in Katyn in 1940 eligible for examination. The petition referred to Strasbourg suggests the possibility of violations covered by article 2 of the Convention on Human Rights (the right to life) and by article 3 (prohibiting torture). The injured parties believe the Russian authorities failed to conduct “an objective and adequate inquiry” into the events dating back 70 years.

In September 2004 Russia’s Main Military Prosecutor’s Office finally stopped the criminal investigation of the Katyn case on the basis of clause 4, part 1, article 24 of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation (because of the culprits’ death).

The tragic events in Katyn where over 2,000 servicemen deported from Poland were executed remained for a long time a sensitive issue between Moscow and Warsaw. In 2010 the Russian authorities published the copies of classified documents on Katyn and turned over to Poland the materials of the criminal case on that matter.


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