Russia rapped by European court for stalled Katyn massacre probe
STRASBOURG, France — Europe's top rights court on Monday rapped Russia for its stalled investigation into the massacre of more than 20,000 Polish prisoners of war at Katyn in 1940.
Ruling on a complaint brought by relatives of the victims, the European Court of Human Rights said Russia had failed to provide a valid reason for denying the complainants access to evidence as well as to the text of a 2004 decision to suddenly suspend the probe.
"In particular, it was not convinced that a public and transparent investigation into the crimes of a previous totalitarian regime could have compromised the national security interests of contemporary democratic Russia ..." the ruling read.
Russia's "flagrant, continuous and callous disregard for the applicants' concerns and anxieties" violated the European Convention on Human Right's ban on inhuman treatment, the Strasbourg-based court added.
The Grand Chamber of the court, however, upheld a 2012 decision by the same court not to rule on the applicants' complaint that Russia had violated the victim's right to life by failing to properly investigate the massacre.
The court said it could not rule on that aspect, given that the killings took place 58 years before Russia ratified the European Convention on Human Rights in 1998.
The case was taken by 15 relatives of victims, who accused Moscow of trying to prevent them discovering the truth about the Soviet-era massacre.
Moscow only admitted to the mass killing in 1990. An investigation launched that year was suspended in 2004 by the Russian chief military prosecutor's office and some of the evidence classified "top secret."