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Poles filing ECHR complaint against Russia for 1940 massacre of officers

[JURIST] Relatives of Polish victims of the 1940 Katyn massacre [Wikipedia backgrounder] are planning to file a complaint against Russia with the European Court of Human Rights [official website] to compel the government to disclose information about the killings perpetrated by the secret police. The government of Mikhail Gorbachev admitted in 1989 that Stalin had personally ordered the secret police to carry out the slayings. Russia had previously blamed the Nazis for the incident, in which over 20,000 Polish Army reservists were killed in the Katyn Forest in present-day Belarus.

The complaint will be filed by 70 families of the victims in the next few weeks, as the Polish Institute of National Remembrance [official website] has been unable to convince the Russian government [press release] to apply its law on the "rehabilitation of victims of political repressions" to the Katyn victims. Russia's own ten-year investigation of the massacre ended in 2004 with the government classifying its files and terming the incident as a crime whose statute of limitations has expired. The families hope that the ECHR will classify the incident as genocide and compel the Russian government to disclose its information; they are divided as to whether surviving participants should be prosecuted. The Independent has more.

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