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April 18, 2012 12:00 am

EU Human Rights Body: Russia Attitude Toward Katyn Massacre, “Lacking in Humanity”

avatar by Lakkana Nanayakkara

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Court room of the European Court of Human Rights. Photo: wiki commons.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled on a case involving the Katyn massacre that brings back painful memories for Polish victims of World War II, and their descendants.   The ECHR has ruled that Russia failed to cooperate with the court, denied access to documentation requested by Polish applicants, and showed “callous disregard” towards victims and relatives of the Katyn massacre,when approximately 22,000 Polish officers and intellectuals, including hundreds of Jews, were massacred by Soviet secret police in 1940.

In 2004, Russia abandoned a 14 year investigation into the massacre that was ordered by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. The ECHR made its ruling after descendants of 12 of the Katyn victims complained about Russia’s refusal to release classified information. The court, based in Strasbourg, France, called the massacre a “war crime” and ordered Russia to pay the plaintiffs 5,000 euros ($6,500) in court costs.

One estimate puts the number of Jewish victims between 700-900. Among those killed was Major Baruch Steinberg, chief rabbi of the Polish army.

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