Moscow: Another ruling on Katyń that defies belief


A Military Panel of Judges of Russia’s Supreme Court has rejected the application lodged by ten families of victims of Katyń. One of the arguments given was that the Katyń case should be considered from the point of view of the Soviet Criminal Code of 1926.  Based on that Code, only a counterrevolutionary crime is not subject to a time limit. Since the Katyń Massacre cannot be called counterrevolutionary, the Court considers the time for seeking justice to have expired.

Representing the families of the victims were lawyers Anna Stawicka and Roman Karpiński. They were seeking the anulment of the decision to terminate the Russian prosecutor’s office’s investigation into the execution of 22,000 Polish officers and others in 1940. 

The investigation was suspended in September 2004 with the justification for this being classified as top secret. The lawyers demanded on behalf of the victims’ families that the investigators’ documents be declassified.

The Judge decided that journalists could not be present since the point at issue involved justification for the suspension of the investigation, this being a top secret document.

The prosecutor’s office argued that you couldn’t say that the Poles in Katyń had been shot. You couldn’t say that they had died, since they hadn’t been identified, and there was a chance that they had run away and trace had been lost of them. The fact that there were human remains didn’t prove anything – they had to be identified.

Wacław Radziwinowicz,, Moscow 

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