Warsaw / Prague, 22 February 2016. The spectacular confiscation of incriminating documents by the Polish Institute of National Remembrance IPN from the widow of Communist politburo member Kiszczak has demonstrated a mechanism whereby justice for the crimes of Communism in post-Communist Europe was hampered.
The reasons for the lack of prosecution of perpetrators of Communist crimes after the fall of the regime in 1989 in Central and Eastern Europe range from lack of political will, personnel continuity in the judiciary, police and prosecuting authorities to the issue of access to documents of the former secret police and repressive forces which were responsible for committing gross violations of human rights.
Official documents indicating the personal involvement of Lech Wałęsa with the secret police were kept privately for decades by his one-time Communist superior. This might point to a possible pattern whereby former perpetrators could be withholding sensitive documents from the public until today, hindering justice and enabling disinformation and blackmailing scenarios.
“We have repeatedly called upon states to provide full and unhindered access to the archives of the totalitarian dictatorships. Only an open and full access to the documents will enable the prosecution of perpetrators and re-instating justice for the crimes of the past,“ says Paweł Ukielski, Member of the Executive board of the Platform of European Memory and Conscience.
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