Polish government takes Russia to EU court over Katyn

Russia has violated the European Convention on Human Rights by refusing the relatives of the Katyn massacre victims access to investigation files, reads a memorandum by the Polish Foreign Ministry addressed to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, informs.

The Foreign Ministry accuses the Russian Federation of not having conducted a fair investigation into the circumstances of the Katyn massacre. The court in Strasbourg is to decide now whether to stage a trial or issue a ruling without a trial as relatives of the Katyn victims proposed a settlement on the Katyn case on condition that Russia rehabilitates the murdered officers, discloses the names of those who perpetrated the killings and releases related documents from Soviet archives.

Reports state that it will take a few months for the court in Strasbourg to come to a decision, but Polish lawyers admit that the Katyn proceedings are going at a good pace. The plaintiffs were granted the so-called “fast-track” procedure due to their advanced age.

“The Foreign Ministry will not comment on either of the party’s stance until the court in Strasbourg rules on the case,” says Maciej Szpunar, Deputy Foreign Minister.

In 2007, Russia’s Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office discontinued the investigation on the 1940 Katyn massacre claiming that that it was not a war crime against humanity, as relatives of the Katyn victims wanted.

The Katyn victims’ relatives appealed against the Prosecutor Office’s decision to the district court in Moscow but their appeal was rejected. After the Russian’s court ruling, relatives of the Katyn victims filed a case with the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights against the country.

In March 2010, the Russian Prosecutor’s Office sent documents on the Katyn investigation to Strasbourg once more, claiming that the 1940 killing of Polish officers was not a war crime against humanity and that relatives of the Katyn victims cannot claim compensation.

Finally, in September, the Polish Foreign Ministry sent a memorandum to the European Court of Human Rights as an answer to the Russian letter, thus joining the complaint filed by the families of the Katyn victims.

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