bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Friday 21.09.2018 | Name days: Matīss, Modris, Mariss
LithuaniaLithuania

Sentence to life in prison with the accused at large in Russia

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(+1 rating, 1 votes)

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RU

Medininkai monument for slain border guards

Linas Jegelevičius for the BNN

A Vilnius court‘s decision to sentence to life in prison three former members of the Soviet special police unit OMON for murdering seven Lithuanian border guards and police officers at the Medininkai border checkpoint in 1991 did not give much solace to the families of the slain officers as the accused are free.

Russia, where they presumably hide, did not respond to Lithuania‘s request to extradite the murderers. Yet the hope that justice, with a change of the regime in Russia someday, will be served stays alive to the grief-stricken families.

The Vilnius Regional Court found Andrei Laktionov, Czeslav Mlinyk, and Alexander Ryzhov, Russian citizens, guilty of a crime against humanity under the amended Criminal Code and also ordered them to pay 653,850 euros in damages to the state and hundreds of millions of euros to the families of the slaughtered officers.

The judgment can be appealed to the Lithuanian Court of Appeals within 20 days.

Saulius Verseckas, the public prosecutor who sought the harshest sentence, life to prison, emphasised in his speech before verdict was read said that the officers had been murdered at a time of an ongoing military conflict and that the OMON commandos had broken the laws and customs of war and committed crimes against peace and humanity falling under the jurisdiction of the Nuremberg Tribunal.

According to Verseckas, although the-then Lithuanian laws did not envision responsibility for crimes against humanity, the international law norms, however, stipulated responsibility for them.

«The accused clearly knew and perceived the politics implemented by the defunct now Soviet Union,“ the prosecutor underscored.«As the inheritor of its rights, Russia ought to feel both morally and legally responsible for the atrocity.»

Verseckas says that prosecutors managed to clearly put together the timeframe and the scheme of the crime at the Medininkai border checkpoint.

It was proved that the-then Riga OMON chief Czeslav Mlinyk gave order to attack it to Andrei Laktionov and Alexander Ryzhov, which, supporting the Soviet politics, carried it out.

In 1991, a group of four Soviet commandos stormed the border station and all seven Lithuanian nationals were captured and ordered to lie on the ground and were executed with shots to the head. Incredibly an eighth officer survived, Tomas Šernas, though is now wheelchair-bound.

The case was lodged with a Lithuanian court in late 2013. Another OMON commando, Konstantin Michailov, a Latvian citizen, was sentenced for the involvement in the Medininkai border guards massacre by the Vilnius Regional Court to life in prison in spring 2011. The sentence took effect following the Lithuanian Court of Appeals’ decision to uphold it last summer.

Mindaugas Balavakas, Algimantas Juozakas, Juozas Janonis, Algirdas Kazlauskas, Stanislovas Orlavičius, Antanas Musteikis, and Ricardas Rabavičius died when OMON troops ambushed the Lithuanian customs post in Medininkai in the early hours of July 31, 1991.

Konstantin Nikulin, now known as Konstantin Mikhailov, convicted to life in prison for the partaking in the Medininkai massacre, has denied being part of the heinous crime, though admitted he was in Lithuania at the time.

Nikulin was arrested in Latvia in 2007 and extradited to Lithuania in 2008. Three other suspects in the case are known to be living in Russia, but Russian officials refuse to hand them over.

«The charges have been fully proven. The crime was against humanity and innocent people who were on duty and who perished. The families have lost their dearest people, who were bringing home the bacon. Childhood of the slain officers’ children has been ruined and the family members‘ health has deteriorated after their deaths,» Jolanta Čepukenienė, the judge, said.

In her words, state of Lithuania has also endured big expenses when searching for weapons with which the ambush was carried out.

«A large-scale search operation has been done – the sludge was removed from the Ežerinis Lake in Trakai disctrict, divers were called in and they performed a comprehensive search. Some another measures to find the guns were used, too,» Čepukenienė said,

The search costs were put at more than 114,000 euros and the court ordered the convicts to pay the sum.

Meanwhile, the family members of slain border guards and police officers left the court room with ambiguous thoughts.

«On one hand, it seems like a small step towards justice. On the other hand, there is gall that the whole process has been so long,» Justinas Orlavičius, the son of Stanislovas Orlavičius, one of the killed officers, said.

He, however, admitted that he could hardly expect a faster judiciary process with Russia being uncooperative in the case.

The young man said it sounded a bit «strange» to him the court‘s emphasis on the inevitability of serving the sentence.

«With the accused hiding abroad, their apprehension seems impossible now…So the justice has not been served fully, although Lithuania has done a lot -named the men who were behind the savage attack, issued an international order to nab them…Whether they will be extradited in future depends on good will of the countries involved,» Orlavičius junior said.

He admitted that growing without a father beside was tough. His sister Jolanta was wiping away tears during the read of verdict.

«Did it become easier over the years? No, it didn‘t. But we are alive and we need to go on with our lives…It‘s not about money at all…Some get consoled by dad putting head on his shoulder and we go to see him to the cemetery…It hurts a lot,» Jolanta Martinson, the daughter of Stanislavas Orlavičius confessed.

Ref: 020/111.111.111.4224


Leave a reply

Lithuanian PM, a presumable presidential hopeful, set to curb grocery price growth

Having chastised food retailers on many occasions for high grocery prices, Saulius Skvernelis, the Lithuanian Prime Minister, stepped forward in the bid to harness local supermarkets. The presumed presidential candidate of the ruling Farmers and Greens (LVŽS) has summoned this week executives of major retail food chains, scolded them and reaffirmed his pledge to rein in the edging up prices.

Industrial prices in Estonia – up by 3.4% on year

The industrial price index in Estonia has risen from August 2017 to August this year by 3.4%, official statistics show.

Latvian parliament approves transition to competence-based approach in education content

On Thursday, 20 September, Latvia’s Saeima approved in the final reading amendments to the Education Law, necessary for the gradual introduction of competence-based approach in education materials.

Latvian Saeima wants to disallow shareholders to work in company management board

On Thursday, 20 September, Saeima approved in the first reading amendments to the Credit Institutions Law that provide for multiple measures to enhance Latvia’s finance system and its long-term stability, as reported by the parliament’s press-service.

Aglone Council prohibits residents from organizing protests during Pope Francis’ visit

A protest against the Catholic Church’s ban on abortions and expression of shock in relation to the recent sex scandals involving Catholic priests was planned to take place in Aglone during Pope Francis’ visit, but the city council decided to disallow them.

Latvian parliament conceptual supports pension bonus indexation

On Thursday, 20 September, Saeima supported in the first reading several initiatives for a more rapid pension climb for several groups of pensioners, as reported by Saeima press-service.

Majority Saeima deputies support open president vote; UGF members fail to decide unanimously

On Thursday, 20 September, amendments to the Constitution regarding open election of the state president were approved in the second reading.

Four Estonian parties have strong support, enough to enter Riigikogu

Four Estonian parties are believed to currently have enough support to enter the Estonian parliament, a broad opinion poll showed, as leading parties compete for voter backing.

Vitol Group concerned over state of rule of law in Latvia; turns to state officials

One of the largest energy resource traders in the world – Vitol Group – has sent a letter to Latvia’s highest ranking officials, expressing deep concern over the rule of law and application of legislative acts in the litigation between LatRosTrans and Polocktransneft Druzba over the EUR 66 million worth technological oil.

As Pope heads to Baltics, more attention to Catholic sex abuse

The time, when Roman Catholic Pope Francis is set to visit the Baltics, greatly differs from the visit by Saint John Paul II in 1993. There is public resentment over the countries spending several million euros to host the trip of the pontiff and the Catholic sex abuse scandals are topic of discussion.

Officials asked to take responsibility for misuse of state resources

If misuse of state resources takes place, officials have to take responsibility and pay for the damages caused to the state, says Public Expenditure and Audit Committee chairman Andris Bērziņš.

May asks EU not to divide Britain, while Brussels waits for UK change of position

At a European Union summit in Austria, UK's Prime Minister Theresa May called on EU leaders leave behind "unacceptable" Brexit demands that according to her may rip Britain apart.

Saeima decides to divide EUR 8.3 million of healthcare budget funds to finance reforms

Saeima’s Budget and Finance Committee has supported the initiative to divide EUR 8.277 million from the planned chronic patient care funding to further finance reforms in the country’s healthcare system.

20 complaints received in first 10 days of data protection regulation

In the first 100 days since adoption of European General Data Protection Regulation, Latvia’s Data State Inspectorate has received 20 data protection violation reports, said the centre’s director Daiga Avdejanova during a meeting of Saeima’s European Affairs Committee.

Ministry: non-banking lenders should assess clients’ solvency more carefully

Although certain improvements have been noticed in the industry, Latvia’s Economy Ministry invites amendments to make non-banking lenders perform more careful evaluation of clients’ solvency and allow creditors exchange information with one another.

Saeima argues over request to assess attempts to cancel «morality amendments»

During a meeting of Saeima’s Inquiry Committee, certain members and NGO representatives exchanged harsh words on Saeima opposition deputies’ request to Prime Minister Māris Kučinskis on association Papardes zieds’ protection of interests for the cancellation of so-called morality amendments.

EU residents believe European authorities should be more involved in certain areas

According to results of European Parliament’s Eurobarometer study, published eight weeks prior to elections in EU, residents believe European authorities should be more involved in certain matters. Priorities include terrorism threats, unemployment and environmental protection.

Estonian internet user growth strongest among elderly

The share of internet users in Estonia has continued to grow in 2018 and has over the past three months increased the most among 65–74-year-olds, official statistics show.

Regulator invited to assess calculation of electricity transmission tariff

Conclusions made by State Audit in relation to tariffs employed by Sadales tīkls show that recommendations received from OECD a couple of years ago in relation to public service tariff calculation should be carefully considered and adopted to ensure balance the interests of consumers and service providers.

Latvian police points towards stagnation in road traffic safety

So far this year 91 people have died in road traffic accidents in Latvia. According to State Police Road Traffic Safety Office Chief Normunds Krapsis, stagnation is present for road traffic safety.

Latvian government to attract EUR 29.5 million to restore Latgale’s degraded territories

On Tuesday, 18 September, Latvia’s Cabinet of Ministers supported the action plan for Latgale region’s economic growth 2018-2021, which provides for attracting of EUR 29.5 million to help restore the region’s degraded territories.

China announces retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, seeks free trade support

Beijing has stated it would impose a duty tariff increase on American imports worth 60 billion U.S. dollars in a reaction to Washington's announcement to add tariffs on imports from China worth 200 billion U.S. dollars.

Montenegro to join NATO battalion stationed in Latvia

According to NATO Deputy Supreme Allied Commander in Europe James Everard, Montenegro plans to join the multi-national battalion currently stationed in Latvia.

U.S. looking seriously at Poland's request for American base on its soil

U.S President Donald Trump has noted the country was looking seriously at a request from Poland for a permanent U.S. military base in the fellow NATO member state and agreed that Polish concerns about possible Russian aggression were shared.

Russian plane near Syria shot down by ally targeting Israeli planes

The Russian military plane, which went missing on Monday, has been shot down by its ally Syria targeting Israel's war planes and the number of servicemen lost in the event has been corrected from 14 to 15, the Russian government stated.