Over 70 years after Soviet forces secretly murdered approximately 22,000 Polish intellectuals and military officers in the Katyn Forest, the European Court of Human Rights has declared that atrocity to have been a “war crime.” However, unlike other “war crimes” of the Second World War, the calculated butchering of tens of thousands of Poles will have very little impact on a government that went to great lengths to avoid aiding the investigation: the Russian government will be required to pay 5,000 euros (approximately $6,500) to cover the court costs of the fifteen descendants of Katyn victims who brought the case before the court.
According to a story from Reuters, the case came about because of a “complaint by 15 descendants of 12 victims over the adequacy of Russia's enquiry into the massacre”. On April 13, 1990, the Soviet government expressed its “profound regret”— but several decades later the Russian government still continued to be uncooperative when attempts are made to investigate the massacre. In fact, as noted in the Reuters article, the Soviet admission in 1990 of responsibility for massacre led to a inquiry which “abandoned in 2004.” Furthermore, as reported for The New American in December 2010, those who continued pushing for a deeper inquiry into the Katyn massacre—including the late president of Poland—had a bad habit of dying under mysterious circumstances:
[In 1943,] Polish General Sikorsky, who had asked for an investigation of the Katyn Massacre, died in a mysterious aircraft accident off Gibraltar. Sikorsky was in a position to bring the massacre to the front of Allied political discussions, but his death weakened dramatically the voices that could call attention to Katyn. His adjutant, Joseph Rettinger, did not accompany the General on this deadly flight. Rettinger would later appear, however, as a liaison with the Polish underground and as a intermediary in the founding of what would become the European Union. He was (at least) a Soviet agent and perhaps double or triple agent who also had close ties to the European Union.
Six months ago, on April 10, 2010, another equally mysterious airline crash, which resulted in the death of the President of Poland as well as 95 other Polish political leaders, added more questions about Katyn. Krzysztof Nowak of the Katyn Forest Memorial Committee believes that these two air travel disasters involving important Polish leaders who were asking hard questions about what happened in the Katyn Forests in 1940 were more than just coincidence. “Put the pieces together,” Krzsztof “Kris” Nowak told me. “The higher you rise above this, the more you see the pieces fitting together.” The Polish leaders were traveling to Smolensk on the 70th anniversary of the massacre, and the Soviet-built Tupolev 154 aircraft had just been overhauled in December 2009.
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Graphic: Illustration for a DVD entitled Katyn offered by Amazon.com