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ECHR: No violation in rights of Katyn victims’ relatives

October 21, 2013, 15:54 UTC+3
However, the ECHR ruled that Russia violated Article 38 of the convention in not meeting its commitment to co-operate with the Strasbourg court
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Photo ITAR-TASS/EPA/PATRICK SEEGER

Photo ITAR-TASS/EPA/PATRICK SEEGER

STRASBOURG, October 21 (Itar-Tass) - The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Russia had not violated the rights of relatives of the Katyn massacre victims, Polish nationals executed by Soviet secret police in 1940. Russia had not contravened the European Convention of Human Rights, the court’s Grand Chamber decided on Monday.

The court ruled “by a majority, that there had been no violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment)”, says the official statement. Last year, one of the court’s chambers ruled that Russian authorities had allowed such an infringement in relation to 10 applicants born before 1940.

The Grand Chamber has also drawn the final line in considering complaints of victims’ relatives on alleged ineffectiveness by Russia's investigation. The court ruled “by a majority, that it had no competence to examine the complaints under Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights,” says the official verdict.

But the ECHR ruled that Russia violated Article 38 of the convention in not meeting its commitment to co-operate with the Strasbourg court, having declined to present a copy of a decree made after Russia's main military prosecutor concluded the investigation into the Katyn case. This was closed in September 2004 after almost 14 years and relatives had been denied sight of the secret decree.

Poland disappointed over ECHR Katyn decision

"I can only say that we are rather disappointed by this verdict as it does not take into account all the arguments of the Polish side," Deputy Foreign Minister Artur Nowak-Far said in a statement.

“The court has glossed over and ignored our arguments. It seems like nobody tried to give this case thorough consideration,” said a representative of victims’ families Ireneusz Kami·ski, Professor at the Institute of Law Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences.

Katyn massacre

In 1920-1940, the Katyn forest was a place of mass shootings. Up to 180 people were executed there every day. The Katyn forest near Smolensk became a grave for about 10,000 Soviet citizens executed by Stalin’s regime and 4,241 Polish officers, the inmates of the Kozelsk camp for prisoners-of-war, who were shot dead in the spring of 1940.

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