For the first time in Russian legal proceedings, the Soletsky District Court recognised the mass murder of civilians by the Nazis as genocide. This concerns the massacres in the village of Zhestyanaya Gorka in the Novgorod region in 1942.
“To establish a fact of legal significance: to recognise the newly revealed crimes in 1942-1943 by the soldiers of the Teilkommand against at least 2,600 Soviet citizens as war crimes against humanity, genocide of ethnic groups,” said judge Marina Malysheva, announcing the decision. The video broadcast is available on the court’s website.
It is established that the mass extermination of people on Tin Hill was “part of Germany’s plan to get rid of the entire civilian population of the Soviet Union by expelling the population in order to colonize the liberated territory by the Germans.”
It is established that the mass extermination of people at Zhestyanaya Gorka was “part of Germany’s plan to get rid of the entire civilian population of the Soviet Union by expelling the population in order to colonise the liberated territory by the Germans.”
In his closing remarks, Vitaly Novikov, head of the civil law department of the Prosecutor’s Office in the Novgorod region, recalled that according to the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal, war crimes do not have a statute of limitations.
According to historians interviewed by RIA Novosti, the trial, although late, should become a legal basis for other similar investigations, as well as help relatives of victims in determining their legal status.
In 1942, in the village of Zhestyanaya Gorka, Nazi punishers carried out mass executions of civilians. In the spring of last year, as part of the all-Russian project “No Statute of Limitations”, searchers found more than 500 remains there.
Among those killed were 188 children, the youngest of whom was only 5 years old. People were killed with shots to the head or knife and slashing attacks, often multiple.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, for these purposes, the Nazis created a Teilkommand of more than 20 people, led by German and Austrian officers, and some of the ordinary performers were natives of the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic.
The main organiser is considered to be German General Kurt Herzog, who was sentenced in 1947 by a Soviet military tribunal to 25 years in camps (he died in 1948). However, the perpetrators of the reprisals were never brought to justice.
Presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky noted that, despite the colossal losses of the USSR in the war, the fact of genocide is internationally recognised only in relation to Jews, Gypsies and Serbs. Meanwhile, according to the Russian Defence Ministry, the Soviet Union lost 27 million people killed and dead.
“No one but neo-Nazis will ever think of calling Jews, Gypsies and Serbs responsible for the outbreak of World War II. Why does this come to mind in relation to the Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians and other nationalities of the then united Soviet people?” he noted.
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