“He said what he saw when he was sitting at the window of the trolley. He saw a man running with an automatic gun and sneakers. He managed to scream to the sleeping men that it was OMON. The man who entered was tall and lean,” Šernas’ lawyer Virgilijus Kaupas told BNS.
In his words, Šernas will not have to identify any persons during the hearings, as they are not present in the courtroom.
In the case, charges in absentia have been brought against to officers of the Soviet Union’s Interior Ministry special-function militia OMON, Cheslav Mlynik, Andrey Laktionov and Alexander Ryzhov. Russia has not responded to the Lithuanian request for legal assistance in the case.
In early hours of July 31 of 1991, seven police and border officers Antanas Musteikis, Stanislavas Orlavičius, Ričardas Rabavičius, Algirdas Kazlauskas, Juozas Janonis, Algimantas Juozakas and Mindaugas Balavakas were gunned down in cold blood. Šernas survived but remains in a wheelchair.
Lithuanian prosecutors have qualified the murder as crime against humanity.
Only one person has been sentenced for the crime – in spring of 2011, a Vilnius court sentenced Latvian citizen Konstantin Mikhailov, also a former OMON officer, to life. The Lithuanian Court of Appeals is currently hearing pleas filed by the convict and prosecutors.