2019.10.14 11:00

Lithuania seeks EU condemnation of Russia's persecution of judges

Vaidotas Beniušis, BNS 2019.10.14 11:00

The European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) will consider Lithuania's initiative to condemn Russia's actions against the judges in the high-profile case, which convicted 67 Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian citizens of war crimes and crimes against humanity for the Soviet crackdown in Vilnius on January 13, 1991.

"Following a letter sent to the [European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs] LIBE chair by the Lithuanian minister of justice [...] committee coordinators agreed to hold a discussion on the matter during a committee meeting," the EP press service informed BNS.

In July 2018, the Russian Investigative Committee launched a criminal investigation against Lithuanian judges and prosecutors for unlawful prosecution of Russian citizens.

Lithuania's Justice Ministry proposed condemning Russia's persecution of judges and prosecutors of an independent state.

In late March, a panel of three judges found 67 citizens of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity and issued prison sentences ranging from four to 14 years.

Among those convicted also was Dmitry Yazov, 94, former Soviet defence minister, who was sentenced to ten years in prison in absentia.

The majority of the defendants were sentenced in absentia as Russia and Belarus have refused to extradite them.

Fourteen civilians were killed and hundreds more were wounded when the Soviet troops stormed the TV Tower and the Radio and Television Committee building in Vilnius in the early hours of January 13, 1991.