Call on Russian authorities to declassify material on Katyń
Information about violations of the law by State bodies and their officials must not be classified as State secrets.
The Memorial Human Rights Society has addressed an appeal to the Russian Federation Prosecutor General Yury Chaika, asking that material of the investigation into the “Katyń Case” be declassified.
To the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
Dear Yury Yakovlevich,
On 21 September 2004 the Chief Military Prosecutors Office of the Russian Federation terminated the investigation into the “Katyń Case” which had continued since 1990. Iin March 2005 it declared that of 183 volumes of the “Katyń Case”, 115 were classified as “secret” or “for official use only”, with the Military Prosecutors Resolution on terminating the investigation also being classified as “secret”.
The only thing which became known to the public about the results of the almost 15-year investigation into the murder of many thousands of Polish citizens in 1940 was the fact that the “actions of a number of specific high-ranking figures of the USSR was qualified under Article 193-17 (b) of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR (1926) as acting in excess of ones authority leading to serious consequences with especially aggravating circumstances. On 21 September 2004 the criminal investigation into this was terminated on the basis of Article 24 § 4.1 of the RF Criminal Procedure Code (“due to the death of the perpetrators”). (from an answer from the Military Prosecutors Office on 24.03.2004 to Memorial).
The names of those who were deemed by the prosecutors office to be guilty were not given. No details or previously unknown aspects of the “Katyń Crime” discovered in the course of the investigation were made known/
We view the classification as secret of documents pertaining to the “Katyń Case” as entirely unacceptable both morally and from the legal point of view.
According to Article 7 of the RF Law on State Secrets, information about “infringements of legality by State bodies and their offiials” may not be classified as State secrets and consequently concealed.
Memorial asks you on the basis of Article 15 of the said Law to remove the secrecy stamp from the Resolution of the Chief Military Prosecutors Office from 21 September 2004 terminating the criminal investigation into the “Katyń Crime” which contains both the names of those guilty and the main results of the investigation.
Chair of the Board of Memorial