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— 22 января 2013 г. —

“Memorial”, EHRAC, and ETJN as Third Party in the Katyn Massacre Case in Strasbourg

On 16 January 2013, EHRAC (London), Memorial (Moscow) and the Essex Transitional Justice Network (Colchester) submitted observations to the European Court as third party interveners in the case of Janowiec and others v. Russia, concerning the mass shooting of Polish prisoners by Soviet secret police at Katyn in 1940. In their submission they provided a comparative analysis of the obligations of States under customary international law towards the victims of war crimes and/or crimes against humanity. The submission also made reference specific jurisprudence of the Inter American Commission and addressed the extensive State practice of establishing truth commissions or similar investigative bodies in response to international crimes. To read the original judgment follow this link.

Mr Kirill Koroteyev, senior lawyer of the Human Rights Center Memorial, says, “Today’s international law requires States to investigate human rights abuses and war crimes even if they cannot prosecute the culprits due to political or practical reasons. This duty involves the need to authoritatively establish the facts, acknowledge and attribute responsibility even though the events happened decades ago.

That is reinforced by the practice of commissions in different parts of the world aimed at establishing the truth.”

On April 16, 2012 a Chamber of seven judges of the European Court gave its judgment in the case of Janowiec and others v Russia. The majority concluded that the Court had no jurisdiction to decide whether the Katyn crime had been investigated effectively. At the same time it stated that the Russian authorities breached the prohibition of inhuman treatment in respect of the relatives of the Polish officers. On September 24, 2012 the case was referred to the Grand Chamber (17 judges) at the applicants’ request. The hearing of the case in the Grand Chamber is set for February 13, 2013.

January 22, 2013













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