Motion for a resolution - B6-0170/2009Motion for a resolution



to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and Commission
pursuant to Rule 103(2) of the Rules of Procedure
by Konrad Szymański, Adam Bielan, Hanna Foltyn-Kubicka, Mirosław Mariusz Piotrowski, Zdzisław Zbigniew Podkański, Wojciech Roszkowski, Inese Vaidere, Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis, Roberts Zīle and Ewa Tomaszewska
on behalf of the UEN Group
on European conscience and totalitarianism

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B6-0165/2009

Procedure : 2009/2557(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on European conscience and totalitarianism

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

–  having regard to United Nations General Assembly Resolution 260 (III) A of 9 December 1948 on Genocide,

–  having regard on the Fourth Geneva Convention related to the protection of civilians during times of war ‘in the hands’ of an enemy and under any military occupation by a foreign power,

–  having regard to the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights of 22 March 2001 in the cases of Streletz, Kessler and Krenz v. placecountry-regionGermany,

–  having regard to its resolution of 12 May 2005 on the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War in placeEurope[1],

–  having regard to Council Framework Decision 2008/913/JHA of 28 November 2008 on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law[2],

–  having regard to Resolution 1481 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of 26 January 2006 on the need for international condemnation of the crimes of totalitarian communist regimes,

–  having regard to the hearing held in placeCityBrussels by the Commission on 8 April 2008 on crimes committed by totalitarian regimes,

–  having regard to the resolutions and declarations on the crimes of totalitarian communist regimes adopted by a number of national parliaments,

–  having regard to the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism of 3 June 2008,

–  having regard to the declaration of the European Parliament of 22 September 2008 on the proclamation of 23 August as European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism,

–  having regard to the need to organise the naming of concentration and extermination camps,

–  having regard to UNESCO World Heritage Committee decision No 31COM 8B.8,

–  having regard to Rule 103(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the EU is based on the rule of law and respect for human rights,

B.  whereas justice is among these fundamental values of placeEurope and whereas sound historical knowledge is necessary to the exercise and promotion of justice,

C.  whereas the murders committed and the enslavement caused by the acts of aggression perpetrated by Fascism and Stalinism qualify as war crimes and crimes against humanity,

D.  whereas the extreme forms of totalitarian rule practised by the Nazi, Fascist and Soviet Communist dictatorships were responsible for premeditated and massive crimes on a scale never before seen in history committed against millions of human beings and their basic and inalienable rights,

E.  having regard to the living testimony and steadfast attitude of many people who opposed this oppression, such as Rotamaster Witold Pilecki – the only person who voluntarily went to a Nazi death camp (Auschwitz) in order to organise a resistance movement there and to collect information about mass murders,

F.  whereas it is also important to remember those who – like Rotamaster Witold Pilecki – actively opposed totalitarian rule and who should be written into the awareness of Europeans as the heroes of the totalitarian age because of their dedication, faithfulness to ideals, honour and courage,

G.  whereas crimes of genocide were also committed by militant groups guided by the totalitarian ideology of totalitarian regimes,

H.  whereas ignorance and false clichés in the historical memory of Europeans may create room for nationalistic or other abuses of historical remembrance,

placeI.  whereas there is a need for effective opposition to falsification of history and attempts to incriminate victims of the crime of genocide,

J.  whereas only a strong and historically aware placeEurope has the ability to create opportunities to overcome the monstrosities of the past,

K.  having regard to the ideological struggle currently taking place over the interpretation of Europe’s recent totalitarian past, whether with the objective of justifying Soviet crimes or trivialising Nazi crimes,

L.  whereas the Justice and Home Affairs Council reached political agreement on a Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia on 19 April 2007 and decided that provision for criminal liability for publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivialising crimes should not be extended to cases not motivated by racism or xenophobia, and that crimes committed on other grounds, e.g. by totalitarian Communist regimes, were thus not covered by the scope of the document,

M.  whereas on 8 April 2008 a hearing on war crimes committed by totalitarian regimes was held by the Commission, with the participation of the Council and a group of Members of the European Parliament,

1.  Regrets that the Council decision of 19 April 2007 on the Framework Decision on crimes committed on the grounds of race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin does not cover crimes committed on other grounds, e.g. by totalitarian Communist regimes;

2.  Notes that genocide such as the Holocaust, massive crimes against humanity and large‑scale violations of human rights such as mass deportations from the Baltic States, Poland and other countries, mass executions such as the Katyn Forest massacre of Polish officers and officers of the Latvian army in Litene, the creation and operation of concentration camps and the Gulag, the man-made famine in Ukraine, the denial of fundamental rights of freedom of expression, speech, movement and many others crimes committed under totalitarian Communism have been neither properly investigated nor internationally assessed;

3.  Stresses that although the nations of Europe, which have suffered from both Communist and Nazi totalitarian regimes, have made a huge effort to overcome their consequences, it is the task of the European Union to investigate and assess crimes of Communist, Nazi and other totalitarian regimes committed on European territory, in order to illuminate what was done to a quarter of the citizens of Europe and to pass judgment on these regimes;

4.  Recalls that citizens who are still victims of totalitarian Communist regimes are forced in former Soviet-bloc countries to reconcile themselves to living alongside people they recognise as the perpetrators of crimes and murderers of their relatives;

5.  Stresses that people of countries liberated from the Soviet occupation are still suffering from consequences of the totalitarian regime such as russification, forced changes to the demographic situation of the State and deep psychological problems caused by the regime; asks that these facts be considered in reaching conclusions about the political, social and inter-ethnic situation in those countries;

6.  Is concerned by the fact that people of the younger generation in some EU Member States are clearly divided by totally different and polar understandings and viewpoints of Europe’s history derived from their families; fears that this may lead to a danger of possible clashes between these societal groups in future; is concerned that there is a serious lack of knowledge about the Communist totalitarian regime in a number of parts of Western society, especially among young people; asks for increased public awareness about European history and for information about this area of history to be included in school curricula;

7.  Believes that, in order for historical memory to be appropriately preserved, a comprehensive reassessment of European history and Europe-wide recognition of all historical aspects of modern Europe will strengthen European integration, since a better future can only be built through a better understanding of the shared past, serving also to eliminate the possibility of totalitarian regimes being regenerated;

8.  Proposes that 25 May (the anniversary of the execution of the Auschwitz hero Rotamaster Witold Pilecki on 25 May 1948) be established as the International Day of the Heroes of the Fight Against Totalitarianism, which will be an expression of respect and a tribute to all those who, by fighting tyranny, gave a testimony to their heroism and true love for mankind, and will provide future generations with a clear indication of the correct attitude in the face of the threat of totalitarian enslavement;

9.  Considers that present perceptions of past abuses and atrocities are an important part of contemporary debates on democracy;

10.  Points out that crimes committed by the totalitarian Communist regime cannot be excused or exonerated by the contribution and merits of the USSR in defeating the Nazi regime; stresses at the same time that it is unacceptable for the Russian Federation to adopt legislation penalising anybody who tries to analyse the events of World War II from a point of view different from that of previous decades;

11.  Calls on the Commission and the Council to take concrete action to ensure that the results of the hearing of 8 April 2008, which are reflected in the Document of Contribution of the Hearing, have been taken into account in the further work towards a common EU-wide approach to crimes committed by totalitarian regimes;

12.  Calls on the Commission and the Governments of the Member States to support the enforcement of existing international law instruments to in order to outlaw, prosecute and punish gross human-rights violations such as genocide and crimes against humanity;

13.  Urges the Council and the Commission to find the legal instruments with which to establish an optimal framework and procedures for the investigation and assessment of crimes of Communist, Nazi and other totalitarian regimes at EU level; notes that these legal means should be based on international law and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights and the Nuremberg Tribunal;

14.  Stresses that the international community is responsible for monitoring the mandatory prosecution of perpetrators of genocide, and recalls that the establishment of special prosecution institutions in several states is a part of an international effort to end impunity for organised mass murders;

15.  Calls for the establishment of a European research institute to deal with the most important developments in 20th-century European history, including unrecognised or forgotten crimes or other abuses of human rights and international obligations, by careful research and fact finding, assessing responsibility, evaluating legal and moral aspects and undertaking, where necessary, legal steps;

16.  Proposes the establishment of 23 August as the European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Totalitarian Regimes;

17.  Calls on the Council and Commission to take the necessary steps to introduce proper naming of German and Soviet concentration and extermination camps in order to avoid the blame for genocide being pinned on the victims instead of the perpetrators;

18.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.