International Conference "Crimes of the Communist Regimes"
Prague, 24-26 February 2010
The International Conference was held in cooperation with the Robert Schuman Foundation for cooperation between Christian Democrats in Europe, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, MENE TEKEL festival, Information Office of the European Parliament, Czech Museum of Music, DEMAS, Representation of the European Commission in the Czech Republic, Polish Institute in Prague, and was hosted by Mr Jiří Liška Vice-President of the Senate, Parliament of the Czech Republic and the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic and organized by the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes together with partner institutions from the working group and the Platform of European Memory and Conscience.
Under the kind patronage of Mr Jan Fischer - Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Ms Miroslava Němcová - First Deputy Chairwoman of the Chamber of Deputies, Parliament of the Czech Republic, Ms Heidi Hautala (Finland) Chairwoman of the Human Rights Subcommittee of the European Parliament,
Mr Göran Lindblad (Sweden) - President of the Political Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and Chairman of The Swedish Delegation to the PACE, Ms Sandra Kalniete (Latvia) - former dissident, Member of the European Parliament, Mr Tunne Kelam (Estonia) - former dissident, Member of the European Parliament, Mr László Tökés (Romania) - Bishop, former dissident, Member of the European Parliament, Mr Milan Zver (Slovenia) - Member of the European Parliament, Ms Jana Hybášková (Czech Republic) - former Member of the European Parliament, and Mr Martin Mejstřík (Czech Republic) - former Senator, Parliament of the Czech Republic.
Twenty years after the fall of the Iron Curtain and five years after the accession of post-communist countries to the EU, a major issue of our common European legacy remains unresolved. Although Europe has gathered extensive experience in dealing with the Nazi dictatorship, starting with the trials of Nazi war crimes and culminating in detailed information on the crimes and on the Holocaust, very little has been done in order to come to terms with the crimes committed by the communist dictatorships in Central and Eastern Europe. There has been no comprehensive disclosure and evaluation of the crimes, many of which probably classify as crimes against humanity as defined by international law since 1945. The united Europe of today founds its existence on a strong commitment to the protection of the human rights of its citizens. However, there are innumerable victims of crimes of the communist regimes living in the new EU member states, with unknown numbers of perpetrators living alongside them. Only little justice has been done, which has led to a disillusionment of citizens and their lack of trust in democratic institutions. Communism and its legacy require a comparable approach as Nazism. We need to publish the facts about it, to subject it to a legal judgment and to come to terms with its consequences in an honest way.
This conference held in the heart of Europe created an overview of the crimes committed by the communist regimes behind the Iron Curtain, to assess them from a legal point of view and to search for possible solutions to the situation today, its goal being reconciliation within the post-communist societies and a strengthened European integration across the former East-West divide.