Polizeiliche Ermittlungen gegen gegen Verantwortliche des Grenzregimes

Die tschechiche Polizei ermittelt nun gegen frühere Verantwortliche für das CSSR-Grenzregime

News vom 27.11.2019


Czech Police launch investigation into

former high-ranking Communist officials for

shootings on the borders

Prague, 27 November – The Office for the Documentation and Investigation of the Communist Crimes of the Police of the Czech Republic officially launched a prosecution on 26 November 2019 against the former high-ranking Communist politburo members for the shooting of civilians on the Czechoslovak borders in the period of 1976 – 1989. The prosecution is based on the Platform’s criminal complaint against the last surviving Czechoslovak politburo members and further persons for killing on the borders, which was delivered to the office of the Supreme State Prosecutor of the Czech Republic in Brno in 2017.

The prosecution is initiated for abuse of power by Mr Milouš Jakeš, former general secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, Lubomír Štrougal, former prime minister, and Vratislav Vajnar, former minister of interior. The police claim that due to their inactivity between 1976 and 1989 nine civilians were killed in their attempts to escape the country and another seven people were seriously wounded. In 1976 the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights entered into force, which guaranteed everyone the right to leave any country, including their home country. The Czechoslovak representatives did not change the legislation in order to stop using weapons on the borders.

The prosecution was launched after the key archival documents were found showing that the accused were informed about border fire and that they were directly instructing ministers on what legislation to adopt. … They were aware of the use of firearms on the state borders of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic by members of the Border Guard against persons trying to cross the state illegally in order to leave the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. Despite this, they did not, in their capacity as leaders of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, take any measures to prevent the use of firearms,” said Head of the District State Attorney for Prague 1, Mr Jan Lelek.

Supervising prosecutor Tomáš Jarolímek added that the prosecution is based on newly found archival materials. All three men are prosecuted at large. If they are found guilty, they face two to ten years in prison.

"Today's news proves that the Platform's activities within the Justice 2.0 project are slowly but systematically having an effect. Pressure from Polish and German judiciary systems eventually prompted the Czech authorities to act," said Łukasz Kamiński, President of the Platform.

"It is a great satisfaction for me that the strategy we applied worked out. - namely turning the killing of civilians along the border of Communist Czechoslovakia into an international issue, because the victims were of different nationalities, worked out, thanks to the binding legal cooperation between member states of the EU. And there are thousands of further victims of the Iron Curtain in other countries waiting for justice" says Neela Winkelmann, former Managing Director of the Platform who filed the criminal complaints in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.

The investigation is based on the Platform’s Justice 2.0 project. The purpose of the project is to raise international awareness about the issue of unpunished international crimes of Communism and to contribute to finding ways of achieving international justice for these crimes.

Based on the Platform’s initiative similar investigations are being held in Germany (more here:
Czech-German Joint Investigation Team Established for Killing East German Refugees on the Border of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic) and in Poland with the Polish Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) – the Main Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation (more here: Success for Platform’s “Justice 2.0” project: Polish prosecutors investigating former Czechoslovak politburo member for killings on the Iron Curtain).

Platform files criminal complaint against last surviving Czechoslovak politburo members Jakeš, Štrougal, Colotka and
further persons for killing on the borders
Foto TO 21.9.2017

PEMC Criminal complaint 21 September 2017

Brno, 21 September 2017. The Platform of European Memory and Conscience filed a criminal complaint today with the Supreme state prosecutor’s office of the Czech Republic in Brno against the last living members of the presidium of the Central committee of the Communist party of Czechoslovakia Milouš Jakeš, Lubomír Štrougal and Peter Colotka, as well as further responsible persons, for the killing on the borders of Communist Czechoslovakia as imprescriptible crimes against humanity. This is a new attempt to reach justice after the Office for Documentation and Investigation of Communist Crimes concluded the investigation of a similar complaint from 2008 last year with no results.

The criminal complait concerns 28 cases of civilians of various nationalities who died on the Czechoslovak borders with West Germany and Austria in the years 1965-1989. They lost their lives in various ways: they died by electrocution on the Iron Curtain, they were shot and killed, they drowned, they were shot down in a plane, they died while attempting to cross the border in a car or they committed suicide under siege.

For these victims, Platform researchers have found the responsible persons in the chain of command, starting with the intervening Border guard patrols, to the commanders of the Border guard, deputy ministers and ministers of interior to the members of the presidium of the Central committee of the Communist party (CCCP). The Platform also newly discovered documents of the presidium of the CCCP which prove the direct responsibility of its last living members Milouš Jakeš, Lubomír Štrougal and Peter Colotka for the decision making about the maintenance and improvement of the system of border protection.

By the criminal complaint, the Platform of European Memory and Conscience would like to achieve that the Czech Republic becomes the second European country after Germany which will consistently sentence the perpetrators on all levels of command and political representation of the totalitarian state for the killing of civilians on the Iron Curtain. The Platform considers this an important contribution toward raising the moral standards in post-totalitarian democracy.

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