The Estonian International Commission for Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity (also known as the History Commission or Max Jakobson Commission) was the commission established by President of Estonia Lennart Meri in October 1998 to investigate crimes against humanity committed in Estonia or against its citizens during the Soviet and German occupation, such as Soviet deportations from Estonia and the Holocaust in Estonia.
The President of the Republic of Estonia is the head of state of the Republic of Estonia. The current President is Kersti Kaljulaid, elected by Parliament on 3 October 2016, becoming the first woman and youngest person ever who holds the position.
Lennart Georg Meri was an Estonian statesman, writer, and film director. He served as the second President of Estonia from 1992 to 2001. Meri was among the leaders of the movement to restore Estonian independence from the Soviet Union.
Crimes against humanity are certain acts that are deliberately committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian or an identifiable part of a civilian population. The first prosecution for crimes against humanity took place at the Nuremberg trials. Crimes against humanity have since been prosecuted by other international courts as well as in domestic prosecutions. The law of crimes against humanity has primarily developed through the evolution of customary international law. Crimes against humanity are not codified in an international convention, although there is currently an international effort to establish such a treaty, led by the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative.
It held its first session in Tallinn in January 1999. To promote independent inquiry and avoid conflict of interest, there were no Estonian citizens among its members. Finnish diplomat Max Jakobson was appointed chairman of the commission.
Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It is on the northern coast of the country, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland in Harju County. From the 13th century until 1918, the city was known as Reval. Tallinn occupies an area of 159.2 km2 (61.5 sq mi) and has a population of 440,776.
Max Jakobson was a Finnish diplomat and journalist with Finnish-Jewish descent. Jakobson was an instrumental figure in shaping Finland's policy of neutrality during the Cold War.
Research of the Commission has been relied on by the European Court of Human Rights, for example in its decision to not grant certiorari to review a complaint by August Kolk and Pyotr Kislyy, who had been convicted of crimes against humanity due to their roles in the Soviet deportations from Estonia.
The European Court of Human Rights is a supranational or international court established by the European Convention on Human Rights. The court hears applications alleging that a contracting state has breached one or more of the human rights provisions concerning civil and political rights set out in the Convention and its protocols.
Certiorari, often abbreviated cert. in the United States, is a process for seeking judicial review and a writ issued by a court that agrees to review. A certiorari is issued by a superior court, directing an inferior court, tribunal, or other public authority to send the record of a proceeding for review.
Soviet deportations from Estonia were a series of mass deportations by the Soviet Union from Estonia in 1941 and 1945–1951.
The Commission fulfilled its purpose by 2007 and was succeeded by the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory.
The Estonian Institute of Historical Memory is an international organization with the aim to investigate international crimes and human rights violations committed by hostile regimes, research the totalitarian ideologies that created such regimes and inform the general public about the research results both in Estonia and internationally. With its research results and awareness-raising about the hostile regimes and ideologies of the past and the international crimes and human rights violations they committed, the foundation helps to take a stance against hostile regimes also in the 21st century.
Uffe Ellemann-Jensen (Danish pronunciation: [ufə ɛləmæn ˈjɛnsn̩], informal: [ufə ˈɛləˌmænˀ] was Minister for Foreign Affairs of Denmark in the Conservative led Poul Schlüter Administration 1982–1993. He was leader of the Danish Liberal Party, Venstre 1984–1998 and President of the European Liberals 1995–2000. Since 1998, Ellemann-Jensen has been Chairman of Baltic Development Forum, a non-profit networking organisation dedicated to the business development of the Baltic Sea region. He is non-executive director of various boards of international companies.
Paul A. Goble is an American analyst, writer and columnist with expertise on Russia. Trained at Miami University and the University of Chicago, he is the editor of four volumes on ethnic issues in the former Soviet Union and has published more than 150 articles on ethnic and nationality questions. Goble served as special adviser on Soviet nationality issues and Baltic affairs to Secretary of State James Baker.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is a United States government-funded organization that broadcasts and reports news, information and analysis to countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East where it says that "the free flow of information is either banned by government authorities or not fully developed". RFE/RL is a 501(c)(3) corporation supervised by the U.S. Agency for Global Media, an agency overseeing all U.S. federal government international broadcasting services.
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The Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation is a Polish government-affiliated research institute with lustration prerogatives, as well as prosecution powers. It was created by legislation enacted by the Parliament of Poland. The Institute specialises in the legal and historical examination of the 20th century history of Poland in particular. IPN investigates both Nazi and Communist crimes committed in Poland between 1939 and the Revolutions of 1989, documents its findings and disseminates the results of its investigations to the public.
The war-responsibility trials in Finland were trials of the Finnish wartime leaders held responsible for "definitely influencing Finland in getting into a war with the Soviet Union and United Kingdom in 1941 or preventing peace" during the Continuation War, the Finnish term for their participation in the Second World War from 1941–1944. Unlike other World War II war-responsibility trials, the Finnish trials were not international. The trials were conducted from November 1945 through February 1946 by a special court consisting of the presidents of the Supreme Court of Finland, the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland, a professor from the University of Helsinki and twelve MPs appointed by the Parliament of Finland.
Klooga concentration camp was a Nazi forced labor subcamp of the Vaivara concentration camp complex established in September 1943 in Harju County, during World War II, in German-occupied Estonia near the village of Klooga. The Vaivara camp complex was commanded by German officers Hans Aumeier, Otto Brennais and Franz von Bodmann and consisted of 20 field camps, some of which existed only for short periods.
The Estonian resistance movement was an underground movement to resist the occupation of Estonia by Nazi Germany, 1941–1944 during World War II. Due to the unusually benign measures implemented in Estonia by the German occupation authorities, especially in contrast to the preceding harsh Soviet occupation of Estonia (1940–1941), the movement was slower to develop effective tactics on a wide scale than in other occupied countries.
After Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, Army Group North reached Estonia in July. Initially the Germans were perceived by most Estonians as liberators from the USSR and its repressions, having arrived only a week after the first mass deportations from the Baltic States. Although hopes were raised for the restoration of the country's independence, it was soon realized that they were but another occupying power. The Germans pillaged the country for their war effort and unleashed The Holocaust in Estonia during which they and their collaborators murdered tens of thousands of people. For the duration of the occupation, Estonia was incorporated into the German province of Ostland.
Estonia–Russia relations refers to bilateral foreign relations between Estonia and Russia. Diplomatic relations between the Republic of Estonia and the Russian SFSR were established on 2 February 1920, when Bolshevist Russia recognized de jure the independence of the Republic of Estonia, and renounced in perpetuity all rights to the territory of Estonia, via the Treaty of Tartu (Russian–Estonian). At the time, the Bolsheviks had just gained control of the majority of Russian territory, and their government's legitimacy was being hotly contested by Western powers and the Russian White movement.
A number of War crimes trials were held in the 1960s in Soviet Estonia. The best-known trial was brought in 1961, by the local Soviet authorities against Estonian collaborators who had participated in the execution of the Holocaust during the German occupation (1941–1944). The accused were charged with murdering up to 5000 German and Czechoslovakian Jews and Romani people near the Kalevi-Liiva concentration camp in 1942–1943. The public trial by the Supreme Court of the Estonian SSR was held in the auditorium of the Navy Officers Club in Tallinn and attended by a mass audience. All three defendants were convicted and sentenced to death, then two of them were executed shortly after. The third defendant, Ain-Ervin Mere was tried in absentia and was not available for execution.
The June deportation was a mass deportation by the Soviet Union of tens of thousands of people from the territories occupied in 1940–1941: Baltic states, occupied Poland, and Moldavia.
State continuity of the Baltic states describes the continuity of the Baltic states as legal entities under international law while under Soviet rule and German occupation from 1940 to 1991. The prevailing opinion accepts the Baltic thesis of illegal occupation and the actions of the USSR are regarded as contrary to international law in general and to the bilateral treaties between the USSR and the Baltic states in particular.
Operation Priboi was the code name for the Soviet mass deportation from the Baltic states on 25–28 March 1949. The action is also known as the March deportation by Baltic historians. More than 90,000 Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians, labeled as enemies of the people, were deported to forced settlements in inhospitable areas of the Soviet Union. Over 70% of the deportees were women, and children under the age of 16.
The Omakaitse was a militia organisation in Estonia. It was founded in 1917 following the Russian Revolution. On the eve of the Occupation of Estonia by the German Empire the Omakaitse units took over major towns in the country allowing the Salvation Committee of the Estonian Provincial Assembly to proclaim the independence of Estonia. After the German Occupation the Omakaitse became outlawed.
The Finnish Anti-Fascist Committee, also known by its Finnish abbreviation SAFKA, is a radical political organisation operating in Finland, founded in November 2008, but never registered. According to the Chairperson Johan Bäckman the Committee has twenty activists and about a hundred supporters.
The Sovietization of the Baltic states refers to the sovietization of all spheres of life in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania when they were under control of the Soviet Union. The first period deals with the occupation from June 1940 to July 1941 when the German occupation began. The second period covers 1944 when the Soviet forces pushed the German out, until 1991 when independence was declared.
Crimes against humanity have occurred under various Communist regimes. Actions such as forced deportation, terror, ethnic cleansing, and the deliberate starvation of people such as during the Holodomor and the Great Leap Forward have been described as crimes against humanity. In the 2008 Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism it was stated that crimes committed under communism were often crimes against humanity, according to the definition developed in the Nuremberg Trials, and that the crimes committed under Communism and National Socialism were comparable. Very few people have been tried for these crimes, although Cambodia has prosecuted members of the Khmer Rouge and Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania have passed laws that have led to the prosecution of several perpetrators for crimes against the Baltic peoples. They were tried for crimes committed during the Occupation of the Baltic states in 1940 and 1941, and during the reoccupation after the war. There were also trials for attacks by the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) on the Forest Brethren.
Heinrich Gutkin was a trader and the Estonian National Assembly member.
Aleksander Antson was an Estonian journalist, writer, and track and field athlete.