Dear European Members of Parliament,
ILOG and its cooperating organisations would like to express our full and unconditional support for the EPP's draft resolution condemning totalitarian Communism (Council of Europe doc. 9875 rev). In this respect ILOG submitted a petition in 1999 to the European Parliament (No. 437/99) with the same objective. Meanwhile the petition has been declared admissible, but ever since nothing much has happened.
On the contrary, since the Soviet Union's demise there has been a noticeable absence of discussion over crimes of communism. Nazi criminals were prosecuted in the Nuremberg Trials. But there has been no such justice for the tens of millions of people killed by communist regimes.
Marxist parties continue to exist and even thrive throughout Europe. All too often one still hears the cliché‚ that "the ideas were right, but unfortunately the people failed to implement it correctly." Many intellectuals and politicians have objected to the comparison of communism with Nazism. However, with the passing of Marxism/Leninism into history as a questionable 'alternative' to democracy it is finally time to do some accounting for its numerous crimes.
Communism meant in practice genocide, ethnic cleansing, forced labour, deportations, show-trials and mass confiscations.
Communism has been the greatest 'social engineered experiment' the world has ever experienced. It failed utterly and in doing so it killed over 100,000,000 men, women, and children. Nonetheless, there is a larger lesson to be learnt form this radical ideology. Not only that a liberal society requires checks and balances, but also that there is a basic need to come to terms with past human rights abuses and violations.
Impunity and negligence threaten the belief in a democratic society. The fact that those who are responsible for past transgressions are simply ignored, and the demand for justice is denied, creates doubts and fears about democratic ideas and ideals. The essential precondition for the commitment to democratic transformation requires a serious attempt at dealing with the legacy of the past, no matter how much time has gone by, since crimes against humanity are not statute barred.
Symbolic gestures simply do not suffice. Too many millions of victims have suffered terrible ordeals and are still waiting for justice to be done. Former communist countries should finally fully acknowledge and assume the responsibility for redressing theses crimes instead of desperately trying to maintain the results of past wrongdoings, like the latter are presently doing by implementing discriminatory laws.
Persons responsible for genocide must be prosecuted in a court of law, regardless their social or political status; people who have been forcefully evicted must be allowed back in their countries of origin without restraints; and properties which have been confiscated must be returned to their rightful owners, free from legal and bureaucratic hurdles.
States and International institutions are under the moral and legal obligation to implement legal mechanisms so that crimes against humanity. (cf. UN General Assembly A/CN.4/I-602, Responsibility of States for internationally Wrongful Acts) can be duly prosecuted. The absence of such devices constitutes a 'crime' in itself.
Societies that fail to acknowledge and redress past crimes blur the norms of right and wrong. This leads to ambiguity and disrespect for international laws and bans; lies and denials are institutionalised and eventually defended by the laws of the country.
Unfortunately, in the past the International Community has shamefully fallen short of legally addressing these violations.
We therefore, sincerely hope that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the European Parliament have the courage and foresight to pass the abovementioned resolution.
A resolution condemning communist crimes would set an example for the future and finally give the victims, who have ever since been victimised, ignored, ridiculed and pushed around a sense of closure.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of further assistance.