Poland to seek justice for massacre by Stalin’s police
Polish President Andrzej Duda on Sunday said he would pursue justice via international courts for the Katyn massacre in 1940 when Stalin’s police shot around 22,000 Poles.
olish President Andrzej Duda on Sunday said he would pursue justice via international courts for the Katyn massacre in 1940 when Stalin’s police shot around 22,000 Poles.
“Genocide has no statute of limitations. Therefore, I will demand that this case be settled before international courts. We will submit the appropriate motions in the nearest future,” Duda said in a speech.
He did not say which court he would apply to, or who would be accused.
oland on Sunday commemorated the anniversary of the 2010 Smolensk plane crash, which killed the then-president and 95 others, as well as the 82nd anniversary of the massacre which took place in Russia.
He also referred to the “brutal aggression from Russia against independent and democratic Ukraine” after Russia’s invasion in February.
Last week the Polish prime minister referred to a “genocide” carried out by Russian troops in Ukraine, including in the town of Bucha.
After the USSR’s invasion of eastern Polish regions in September 1939 under the German-Soviet pact, 22,000 Polish officers — who were prisoners of the Red Army — were shot dead in Katyn forest and Mednoie in Russia as well as in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine.
The Soviet Union for decades accused Nazi Germany of committing the massacre and it was not until April 1990 that then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev recognised his country’s responsibility for the killings.
“This was a crime of genocide committed by the Soviets on completely defenceless victims. It was never punished,” Duda said.
He recalled “a brief episode” in the early 1990s under president Boris Yeltsin, when the Kremlin accepted that “Stalinist authorities” were responsible for the massacre.
Duda regretted that no further action was taken.
“The investigation of Katyn was dropped, no perpetrator was ever punished. Whereas (President Vladimir) Putin’s Russia has been glorifying Stalin and the Soviet Union again for years,” he said.