The conference held on 5 June, 2012 was convened in response to growing calls for strengthened international justice formulated, e.g., in the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism of 3 June, 2008, in the European Parliament resolution on European Conscience and Totalitarianism of 2 April, 2009, in the Declaration on Crimes of Communism of 26 February, 2010, in the European Council‘s Stockholm programme of 4 May, 2010 and in the Warsaw Declaration of the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the EU on the occasion of the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes of 23 August, 2011.
The conference “Legal Settlement of Communist Crimes“ set out to particularly examine the need for the creation of a new judicial body in the EU for the crimes of Communism which are not subject to statutory limitations. The urgency and need for action are further supported by an initiative of associations of former political prisoners and victims of Communism from different EU member states, mostly senior citizens, who, in their “Declaration 2012”, are asking the authorities of the European Union to finally resolve the issue of justice for the perpetrators of crimes of Communism.
To this end, the conference “Legal Settlement of Communist Crimes“ brought together key thinkers and experts in the field of international justice and crimes of totalitarian regimes, as well as representatives of associations of victims and European policy makers. A viable new model of international justice was sought which could finally settle the ethical, moral and legal debt which the democratic European Union of today has toward its citizens who suffered severe violations of human rights under totalitarian Communist rule and toward the perpetrators who committed them.
The objective of the conference was to contribute toward supporting equal rights for all EU citizens, upholding the values anchored in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, and thus to contribute toward strengthening the process of reconciliation and integration of Europe.