Smolensk crash investigation extended again for 6 months. “The investigation has not been completed within the expected deadline,” says Chief Military Prosecutor.
SCND OCTOBER 13, 2015
"The Smolensk crash investigation has been extended for another 6 months, until April 10, 2016,” announced the Office of Chief Military Prosecutor. The Prosecutors appealed to the ABW (Internal Security Agency) for a supplementary phonoscopic opinion of the ATC recordings. “Despite the proceedings carried out as part of the investigation and documented in more than 650 unclassified and more than 120 classified files, the investigation has not been completed within the expected deadline,” Major Marcin Maksjan, spokesman for the Chief Military Prosecution told PAP (the Polish Press Agency).
The deadline to complete the Smolensk crash investigation led by Warsaw’s District Military Prosecution was set for October 10, 2015. But recently, the Chief Military Prosecutor has granted the Warsaw District Military Prosecution another extension of the deadline. Thus far, the Polish Prosecution has issued 27 requests to Russia for legal assistance in the investigation of the Tu-154 crash in Smolensk. The Polish Military Prosecution is still awaiting response to some of the requests. The main request concerns the return of the Tu-154 wreckage, the original flight recorders and other on-board devices, as well as a disclosure of the complete set of all normative acts that regulated the air traffic management at the Smolensk Airport.
“Also, we have no confirmation whether the two Russian citizens from the Smolensk North Airport’s Flight Management Team were informed about the charges they face and that they are to be interviewed as suspects at the Polish Military Prosecutor Office,” emphasized Major Maksjan. He stated that appropriate organs of the Russian Federation have been reminded in writing about this matter twice by the General Prosecutor’s Department of International Cooperation.
After obtaining experts’ complex opinion at the end of March 2015, the Warsaw’s District Military Prosecutor brought charges against the two air traffic controllers at the Smolensk Airport. One has been charged with causing an imminent danger of the crash, whereas the other was charged with unintentionally causing the crash. Each individual faces a prison sentence of up to eight years. The procedure of informing the suspects of the charges and interviewing them has begun.
Back in 2011, charges were also brought against two officers from the leadership of the 36th Special Aviation Regiment in Warsaw. They were charged with neglect of their official duties regarding the organization of the April 10, 2010 flight to Smolensk and preparing the flight crew. The officers did not admit the charges and exercised their right to remain silent.
Additionally, the Prosecution is still awaiting a supplement to the experts’ complex opinion, which is due by the end of October. The deadline for the Police Central Criminal Laboratory to provide the Military Prosecution with a supplement to the physicochemical opinion is also at the end of October. The forensic opinions of the Wrocław University’s Department of Forensic Medicine regarding 31 victims of the crash are due by the end of this year.
Major Maksjan added that the Prosecution consulted the ABW in order to identify individuals heard on the ACT recordings from the day of the Smolensk crash. The opinion, based on phonoscope tests, and the ACT transcripts have arrived at the Warsaw’s District Military Prosecution from the Institute of Court Expertise in Kraków back in January. The documentation has been disclosed.
However, Major Maksjan explained that due to the lack of comparative samples, the identification of individuals heard on the Smolensk ACT recordings was not possible when the opinion was completed in January. “Now that Russia, in its response to the request for legal assistance, provided the comparative samples, the statements can be matched with individuals who made them,” says Major Maksjan.
He also informed that the ABW’s supplementary phonoscopic opinion is estimated to be submitted to the Military Prosecution by the beginning of April 2016.
“Once the opinions have been received, analyzed in detail, and confronted with the remaining evidence, and all the motions regarding evidence have been considered, essential decisions will be made,” said Major Maksjan.
Retired Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Senior Scientific Intelligence officer Eugene Poteat, goes on the record:
"The trip to Smolensk was expected to highlight Russia finally admitting culpability in the massacre, after long having blamed it on the Germans, an atrocity they had tried to conceal for over 70 years.
As for the reception committee, it had different ideas. Putin wasn’t looking forward to such an occasion. Into this poisonous reception brew was President Kaczynski’s well-known public criticism of Moscow and Putin, a habit that has ended the lives of others within Russia – and abroad. A few discouraging Russian requirements – that Kaczynski could not attend in any official capacity – did not halt the Poles. Kaczynski would go anyway on non-official, “personal” business. To Russians, such a distinction would be meaningless, not lessening the possible international excoriation of such an event. A problem ripe for a modern, Russian solution: a tragic, ‘natural’ accident."
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