Lithuanian law expert: Communist crimes tribunal a symbolic act but of little legal consequence

On the anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact on August 23, officials of eight countries issued a joint communiqué on founding of the institution and decided to set up an expert group for this purpose. The communiqué was issued by officials of the justice ministries of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia.

“In my opinion, it would first of all be a symbolic act and an institution to preserve the memory and pay tribute to the victims rather than a tribunal that would decide on liability. The people who committed the Communist repressions are either already diseased or close to death, therefore, bringing them to justice is very unlikely,” Žilinskas told BNS in comment of the initiative.

Lithuania’s Justice Minister Juozas Bernatonis says the initiative is currently in its initial phase, with discussions underway about its specific form.

“A general official communiqué was approved, an agreement was reached to establish an international institution. No final decision was reached as to what it should be, as the proposals were very different – for instance, Slovakia suggested delegating the task to European prosecutors, which should be established shortly, while others suggested setting up a commission. But this is about crimes of all totalitarian regimes, including Fascism and Communism, as well as today’s crimes,” the minister told BNS.

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