Today we commemorate the genocide of the Crimean Tatar people. 75 years ago, as being allegiadly ‘unreliable’, all of the Crimean Tatar population was deported from its Homeland. The Lithuanian Constitutional Court has referred to the acts against the Crimean Tatar people as a clear example of the crimes of genocide committed by the Soviet Union.
In its ruling of 18 March 2014, the Constitutional Court stated that “conclusions made by historians that investigated the documents of the repressive interior and intelligence structures of the USSR show that Lithuanians together with their neighbours Latvians and Estonians, as well as together with persons belonging to other nationalities that resided in the Soviet Union (e.g., Germans, Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars, Chechens, the Ingush), were treated as persons belonging to “unreliable” nations; namely because of their nationality, persons belonging to “unreliable” nations were deemed to be exterminated, inter alia, by means of unbearable living conditions in deportation’’.
It is by reference to this ruling of the Constitutional Court of Lithuania that this year the European Court of Human Rights in the Drėlingas v Lithuania case, for the first time in history, acknowledged the genocide committed by the Soviet Union (the Soviet genocide against the Lithuanian people, namely, the Freedom Fighters). I am sure that a time will come to recognise on the European level the genocide against the Crimean Tatars as well, as it is an even more obvious fact. The whole Crimean Tatar people has been the target of the deportations, followed by killings, torture and inhuman treatment aimed at full extermination and assimilation of the Crimean Tatars.
The Crimean Tatar people still remain the target of the Russian repressive policy. I remember that the said ruling of the Constitutional Court of Lithuania, where the genocide of the Crimean Tatar people is acknowledged, has been prepared and adopted in the context of the ongoing annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation. This annexation has to be also seen as a one more attempt to deprive the Crimean Tatar people of their Homeland. I will continue to openly stress that this is also due to the deplorable decision of the Russian ‘Constitutional Court’.
During my visits to Ukraine, I met a number of representatives of the Crimean Tatar people.
Suffering from the loss of their homes, they nevertheless remain determined and unbreakable in their fight against occupation. These people cannot be defeated. This is also a lesson to be learnt from history by all those who continue to pursue the same criminal aim as 75 years ago, i.e. to “cleanse” Crimea from its indigenous people.
President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Lithuani
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