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War crimes case against Vilnius OMON commanders handed over to court

Šarūno Mažeikos/BFL nuotr. / Plaktukas
Šaltinis: BNS

The case of Boleslav Makutinovich and Vladimir Razvodov, former commanders of the Soviet Special Purpose Militia (OMON) in Vilnius and war crime suspects, has been handed over to Vilnius Regional Court.

Prosecutor Alvydas Valiukevičius of Vilnius Regional Prosecutor's Office told BNS that the 19-volume case was handed over to the court on Monday.

The accused will be tried in absentia, which is allowed in cases of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Russia has refused to extradite Makutinovich and Razvodov and has not responded to a legal assistance request to inform the accused about their right to familiarize themselves with investigation material.

Copies of the indictment are currently being translated into Russian and will later be sent to Russia's competent institutions for them to hand them over to the accused.

Lithuania has also taken measures to ensure rights of the accused and has appointed state lawyers to represent them in court as they have not hired private lawyers themselves.

Prosecutors have said recently that they finished the indictment and established 16 episodes, including assaults against border checkpoints, weapon seizure, inflicting injury upon people, and shooting.

"In January-August 1991, they committed criminal acts against newly-formed institutions, border services, customs post of the Republic of Lithuania. They carried out attacks, seized assets, used violence against officers, and violated state symbols," the prosecutor said.

39 persons are named victims and civil claimants in the case.

14 people were killed during an attempt by the Soviet army and special forces to take over Vilnius TV Tower on January 13, 1991, and more than 1,000 unarmed civilians were injured. Seven police and customs officers who guarded the border of Lithuania, then unrecognised by the Soviet Union, were killed at Medininkai border checkpoint in July of the same year.

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