The patience of Smolensk victims’ families runs out.
A complaint against the Military Prosecutors filed with the Supreme Court.
SCND April 15, 2015
Eight families of the Smolensk crash victims have had enough of the violation of their rights and the way the Smolensk crash investigation is conducted by the military prosecutors. The families want the highest judicial authority in Poland to review the Polish government investigation.
A complaint has been filed with the Polish Supreme Court regarding “A violation of the right to have the case examined without undue delay in preliminary proceedings.”
The families claim that the investigation is unduly delayed. They demand the Military Chamber of the Supreme Court to order the prosecutors:
1. To re-issue a request to Russia for either permanent or temporary return of the Tu-154 CVR, flight parameters and the wreckage. Also to re-issue a request, so far ignored or acted upon with delay, to Russia for legal cooperation pursuant to international treaties. These requests have not been fulfilled due to Polish prosecutors’ failure to raise concerns over Russia’s obstruction and not complying with international norms and regulations.
As stated in the complaint, “Russia delaying or declining to cooperate in accordance with binding international treaties should provoke an adequate reaction from Polish authorities. They should take action to enforce the fulfilment of the essential requests previously submitted. These actions should involve monitoring the country the requests have been issued to, arguing the need for the requests to be fulfilled, re-issuing the unfulfilled requests with further supporting arguments, or issuing requests concerning other respects of the case.”
2. To provide access to any attachments and exhibits included as appendices to expert opinions received during the investigation. The families are not informed about any experts’ analyses commissioned by the prosecution or their impact on the investigation (which breaches e.g. the right to request exclusion of the expert from the investigation, as warranted by the Code). They often hear about experts’ opinions from the press. What is more, if any access to the expert opinion is granted, access to source documents on which the expertise is based is refused. E.g. the prosecutors have been refusing for years now to grant access to source materials of ATM opinion about the Tu-154M flight parameters. The source materials are vital in verification of the expert opinion and referring to it in the procedure, which every victim has a basic right to in the preparatory proceedings.
Also See:Smolensk Crash Widow Writes an Open Letter to the Victims of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 downing over Ukraine:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to the families whose loved ones died in the downing of the Malaysian Boeing MH17.
When on April 2010, the [Polish] governmental airplane TU-154M crashed [in Smolensk, Russia], no one could comprehend that the plane carrying the most important people in the Polish State would simply crash. To our dismay, all subsequent waves of propaganda campaigns served to us by the Russians and subservient Poles [representing official Polish governmental bodies] exceeded our wildest fears.
3. To release the complete documentation of the investigation. Access to full documentation is not only restricted, but also limited to the area of the prosecution office library. It makes it impossible to issue any requests if the process involves looking through e.g. 2000 pages of expertise with permission to make notes only, and no option to copy or take the documentation away.
4. To transfer the unclassified documentation kept in the confidential documentation section, to the unclassified documentation of the investigation. Why do the prosecutors keep unclassified materials with confidential documentation? Not only does it raise concerns, but it also breaches the victims’ rights to the open and transparent process and delays the investigation further, since the access to the evidence is restricted. The results of such access restrictions may well be a mountain of requests at the end of the investigation, which will cause even further delay to its final outcomes.
5. To appeal to IES (Instytut Ekspertyz Sądowych – Institute of Court Expertise in Kraków) to finally set the deadline for providing outcomes of the genetic analysis, carried out to confirm if the victims have been correctly identified. Despite the 5 years having passed since the tragedy, this essential knowledge has still been lacking. It is appalling, considering the existing cases of confusing the bodies.
6. To acknowledge many procedural motions filed by the families, so far consistently ignored. An example of this inaction is a lack of any acknowledgement from the prosecution of a request, made a few months back, to interview two experts from CLKP (Centralne Laboratorium Kryminalistyczne Policji – Polish Criminal Police Central Lab), who tested the samples from the Smolensk crash for the presence of explosives at the crash scene. So far, reactions from the prosecution to the opinions of independent researchers, who questioned the expertise, have been quick and experts were commissioned to supplement the existing expertise further. However, the two experts, during an academic lecture, openly admitted that methods they followed in their analysis could have not possibly led to the confirmation of the presence of explosives. As a result, a request was made to interview them, to which there had been no reaction from the prosecutors, who remain silent. Another incomprehensible example is a request made by Andrzej Melak to exhume the body of his brother Stefan and carry out an autopsy. The request has been ignored for over 4 years, despite being based on a justified argument that according to Russian medical records Stefan Melak was 20cm taller than he really was, as well as other examples of incorrect description of his body, according to his brother Andrzej Melak. For the past 5 years Mr Melak has not been certain if the grave he visits is really his brother’s.
The above summary of the complaint’s content is not an unfounded moan from the families, but clear evidence that their rights have been grossly violated. Such problems affect the entire investigation, the fact ignored by the military prosecutors. Yet, if not for the victims’ families, who watch the prosecution’s proceedings carefully, we would be much further from the truth of what really happened on April 10, 2010.
The complaint will also demonstrate if the Supreme Court is in the position to support the main Polish investigation into the Smolensk crash.
A new book entitled "The Smolensk Widows" by Dariusz Walusiak, was published under the auspices of the "Niepoprawni.pl" and the Publishing House “Rafael” in Poland. Following are some excerpts from this heart-wrenching book.
"The world had crumbled for many Poles on April 10, 2010, and in particular, for the families of the victims who were left to the official, and often contradictory reports about this tragedy. Few of those who lost their loved ones began their quest for truth [...] While demanding the truth, the “Smolensk Widows”, Ewa Błasik, Beata Gosiewska, Ewa Kochanowska, Zuzanna Kurtyka and Magdalena Merta, became the conscience of a mourning nation.
“The Smolensk Widows” is a story about these few brave and uncompromising women whose conscience, the sense of decency, and honor, didn’t allow to remain silent. Despite their profound loss, they bravely stood-up to defend the memory and truth about their husbands and friends, who perished on April 10, 2010 …
Above: Ewa Błasik, the wife of the late Polish Air Force Commander General Andrzej Błasik.
Q: Did General Błasik have good relationship with the upper-ranking officers who were flying with him to Katyn [on April 10, 2010]?
They all knew each other very well, and respected each other. They understood each other without words. When they had to fly somewhere, they called each other and made arrangements. The Chief of Staff, General Franciszek Gągor was an incredible man, a true Polish officer. More here
Dr. Michael Baden Interview
World-renowned forensic pathologist goes on the record: "I have been doing autopsies for 50 years, and I've investigated more than fifteen, twenty airplane crashes […] I've been in countries all over the world where families think that the government is hiding something.
Whether it is Zimbabwe or Israel, or Philippines, the government may not like an outside person checking to make sure they got it right. [But,] they never interfered with that. The family, the next of kin, always has the right to do what the wishes of the family are. In the 21st century, the body of the dead person no longer belongs to the state. It belongs to the family.
So, it is unusual - something that I have never experienced before - where the government [of Poland] has not permitted the famil[ies]" to conduct independent forensic examinations of their loved ones' remains [...] I've never heard of a body coming back to a country and the family being unable to open up a casket. I've never heard of the family not being able to get an autopsy… Read more here
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