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The Supreme Court rules Moscow City Court must review Memorial's appeal on Katyn

Source: (Author), 22/04/10

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On 21 April 2010 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation quashed the ruling of Moscow City Court of 28 December 2009 in which the latter had refused to review the complaint by the Memorial Society against the decision of the Inter-Departmental Commission on the Protection of State Secrets. In violation of the law "On State Secrets," in 2004 the Inter-Departmental Commission classified as secret the order of the Chief Military Prosecutor's Office to close the criminal investigation into the Katyn case. In 2009 the Moscow City Court refused to reverse this decision.

In satisfying the complaint by Memorial, the Supreme Court ruled that the case be returned to Moscow City Court for an examination on its merits of the application by Memorial challenging the allegedly unlawful actions of the Inter-Departmental Commission for the Protection of State Secrets.

Memorial considers the task of declassifying the order of the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office to close the case in question as the first step in the declassification of all materials of the investigation into the crime of Katyn, conducted in 1990 and closed in 2004 on the grounds that those guilty had died.

In the appeal by the Memorial Society to President Dmitry Medvedev on the 70th anniversary of the decision of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU of 5 March 1940 on the shooting of Polish prisoners of war and other Polish prisoners, the declassification of the materials of the investigation of this crime was identified as one of three basic steps that would achieve a legal resolution to the Katyn case.

The two other steps are the reopening of the investigation and the naming all those shot as victims of political repression in accordance with the Russian law "On the rehabilitation of victims of political repression."

Let us make clear that the resumption of the investigation is necessary for the sake of establishing by due process the identity of all the victims who were shot, prisoners of war and other prisoners; for the sake of establishing by due process a complete list of those guilty (up to the present time the chief Military Prosecutor’s Office has not recognised as guilty either Stalin or the members of the Politburo who ordered the massacre of Polish prisoners of war and other Polish prisoners, nor the executors of this criminal order, except a small number of NKVD leaders); and also for the sake of an accurate and full legal qualification of the crime of Katyn in accordance with Russian and international law.