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Poland and Russia in 1940 Katyn massacre talks

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 04.04.2012 13:29
Talks were renewed in Moscow on Wednesday concerning the legal rehabilitation of around 22,000 Polish officers executed on Stalin’s orders in 1940.


Lukasz Kaminski, head of Poland's state-sponsored Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) – which investigates crimes against Polish citizens – is holding talks with Mikhail Fedotov, head of Russia's Presidential Council on Human Rights.

Fedotov, a former journalist, is an advocate of amending Russian law so that the 22,500 Poles can be legally ‘rehabilitated’ and is preparing recommendations on the matter for President Vladomir Putin.

The victims of the 1940 crime were murdered at various locations across the Soviet Union, including the Katyn Forest near Smolensk, western Russia.

Although Moscow officially admitted guilt for the crime in 1990 – after claiming for decades that the German Nazis were to blame - the process of rehabilitation is normally applied to those unjustly sentenced in court, which provides a stumbling block as there was no court sentence for the Poles, a large portion of whom were reserve army officers.

The process would clear the victims of any stain on their honour under Russian law.

It has been anticipated that the meeting with Fedotov will also touch upon prospective cooperation between Poland and Russia regarding other Soviet crimes.

Kaminski is also set to meet other human rights representatives, including members of the prominent Memorial Society, which was founded in 1987.

The talks come less than two weeks before the European Court of Human Rights pronounces its verdict in a case relating to the WWII Katyn Massacre.

The case was brought by a number of families of the victims, who accuse Russian authorities of not conducting an effective investigation after the inquiry was broken off in 2004, unacceptable treatment of the bereaved families and a failure to cooperate with the European Court of Human Rights itself. (nh/pg)

tags: katyn
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