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Russia: We don’t consider ourselves obliged by PACE resolution on Tu-154M wreckage

from: Smolensk Crash News


Russia does not consider itself obliged by the decisions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe made at a time when the Russian delegation does not participate in the work of the Assembly – said the spokesperson of Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, commenting on the PRPRE resolution calling for the return of Tu-154M wreckage to Poland.

“The fundamental principle of the Russian Federation is that we do not consider ourselves obliged by the decisions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe made during the forced non-participation of the Russian delegation in the work of the Assembly” – said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement sent to Polish Agency Press on October 15, 2018.

The Ministry reiterated its assessment that the wreckage of a Polish plane is evidence in the investigation conducted by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation. Elements of the aircraft “in accordance with the standards of national legislation should remain in Russia until the completion of all necessary procedures” – said the Ministry. It added that Russia’s position was “explained many times.”

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution calling on Russia to return Poland to the wreckage of the Tu-154M aircraft, which crashed near Smolensk in 2010. The document indicates that the continuous refusal of the Russian authorities to return the wreckage of the Polish Air Force One is an abuse of law.

The resolution states that according to the Chicago Convention, the country in which the accident occurred has the obligation to return the wreckage and other evidence as soon as the technical investigation of the disaster is completed, which took place in January 2011. The document indicates that the continuous refusal of the Russian authorities is an abuse of law and increase speculation on the Polish side that Moscow has something to hide in this matter. 41 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe voted in favor of the resolution, 6 abstained, no one was against.

The resolution was based on the report by rapporteur Pieter Omtzigt from the Netherlands, who elaborated it on the basis of the opinion of two international law experts – Timothy Brymer from Great Britain and Pablo Mendes de Leon from Spain. After analyzing the factual and legal aspects of the case, they indicated that in light of the Chicago Convention the wreckage should be promptly returned to Poland.

The Parliamentary Assembly is one of the two main statutory bodies of the Council of Europe. There are 648 delegates (324 representatives of national parliaments and the same number of deputies); the number of delegates depends on the number of inhabitants of the state. The Council of Europe, centered in 47 countries, based in Strasbourg, focuses on the defense and promotion of human rights and the principles of parliamentary democracy and the rule of law.

After the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, Russia was deprived of the right to vote in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Since then, the Russian delegation, as a sign of protest, has not participated in the meetings of this body.

The Tu-154M wreckage has been on the tarmac of Smolensk airfield for over eight years. The Russian authorities claim that they cannot hand it over to Poland until they finish their investigation. Representatives of the Polish authorities have repeatedly raised the issue of returning the wreckage and electronic devices of the plane in talks with the Russian side.

On 10 April 2010, in the Polish Air Force One the Tu-154M aircraft crashed near Smolensk. All 96 people were killed instantly, including President Lech Kaczyński and his wife, the highest commanders of the Polish Army and the last president of Poland in exile, Ryszard Kaczorowski. The Polish delegation was on its way to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre.

Source: Anna Wróbel (PAP)

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