The parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe called last week on Russia to hand over the wreckage of the Polish Air Force Tu-154 to Poland without further delay and urged both countries to engage in international mediation on the issue. The Polish plane crashed on 10 April 2010 on its route to the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre of Polish officers by the Soviet secret police during the Second World War. In the crash the Polish president, his wife and 94 other people representing the Polish state lost their lives.
The resolution follows a report on the air crash that was prepared by Dutch Christian Democrat MP Pieter Omtzigt and adopted last June by a committee of the parliamentary assembly.
The assembly recalls that the state where the incident occurred is legally required to return the wreckage and other evidentiary material to the state of registration of the aircraft as soon as the technical air safety investigation is completed, which was the case in January 2011.
“The continuing refusal of the Russian authorities to return the wreckage and other evidence constitutes an abuse of rights and has fuelled speculation on the Polish side that Russia has something to hide,” the resolution says.
The assembly therefore calls on the Russian and Polish governments to engage in international mediation on how to implement the handing-over of the wreckage to Poland and to report back to the assembly on the results within 12 months of the adoption of the resolution.