The Institute of National Remembrance supports the initiative to condemn communist crimes
The Institute of National Remembrance plans to condemn communist crimes thanks to the Platform of European Memory and Conscience, which collects evidence in 13 EU countries, Moldova, Ukraine, Iceland, the USA and Canada for an international tribune.
The director of the Institute Volodymyr Vyatrovych informed the Human Rights Information Center.
“Ukraine is a member of this platform. I hope that in the frameworks of this project we will make a Ukrainian story, which will apply to the performers of the communist crimes,” he said.
According to him, the approval of the decommunization laws by the Parliament of Ukraine, one of which opens access to the archives, is the most important step.
“This means we have access to all the information about communist crimes and we can use it not only for historical investigations but as an evidence of liability,” Vyatrovych said. He adds that communist crimes have to be condemned on the international level because this phenomenon had international nature.
Goran Lindblad, the president of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience informed that it does not have enough funding.
“We have political support in the EU. But financial support confronts with the left-wing opinions in the European Parliament. That’s why at the moment our operational expenses are covered by Hungary,” he explained.
Nevertheless, the platform successfully investigated a few cases related to the Iron Curtain.
“The first case, which we presented 1,5 years ago, related to the assassinations near the Iron Curtain. We found guilty persons for ordering these crimes from the most high-ranked politicians to the performers, who fired a gun,” Lindblad told.
He told a story when a 19-years old German boy was killed in 1987 after he decided to cross the border between Czechoslovakia and West Germany.
“He thought he found a safe place to cross, but he provoked alarms. He was simply bitten by dogs. When guards came, they saw that he was severely bitten by dogs. They questioned him and checked his pockets. According to the pathologists, if he received medical help, he would survive,” the president of the platform told.
He said that there are many people responsible for the crimes against humanity. Those cases were investigated in 1990-s, but for condemnation of totalitarian and communist crimes an international tribunal has to be established.
“Every country has its own law, but every law system works differently. We need a single unified system, which can bring those people to responsibility,” Lindblad said. In 1997-2010 he was a member of the Swedish parliament and was an OSCE vice-president.
“One of the reasons the tribunal is important is commemorating the assassinated. Of course, we can’t condemn everyone, but even if we will convict a few of them, this would be a powerful signal. Moreover, when we draw public attention to such cases, it would be easier to talk about other communist and totalitarian crimes, including Holodomor,” the president of the platform thinks.
Sergiy Ryabenko, the lawyer of the Institute for National Remembrance, believes the affected has a right to justice and for the restoring their good name. He says a legal basis for this is a Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly #1096 “Measures to dismantle the heritage of former communist totalitarian systems”.
“The Council of Europe specifies that the representatives of the communist regimes, who committed crimes, have to be condemned in accordance with the criminal law,” Ryabenko added.
Ukrainian international lawyer Volodymyr Vasylenko insists that the tribunal is relevant because crimes against humanity do not have statutes of limitations. An international agreement of its establishment has to be signed by the countries which had the communist regime and became the democracies.
“It is necessary to make an agreement between interested countries and to specify the functions of the tribunal,” Vasylenko concluded.