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Judges and prosecutors from the European Union visit the IPN

On 3 September the IPN was visited by a group of the EU prosecutors and judges, participants of the European Judicial Training Network (EJTN) internship programme, invited to Poland by the National School of Judiciary and Public Prosecution. The interns represented France, Romania, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Spain, Germany, Slovenia, Austria, Portugal and Albania.

The visitors were introduced to the IPN’s archival resources, history, mission and present activities. A screening of the "Unconquered”, the IPN’s short film, was organised, and the interns also saw a video presentation of the Digital Archive – a system created for recording the Institute’s archival resources and providing easy access to thousands of documents. Additionally, the participants heard about a specialized unit within the IPN’s Archive, namely the Center for Information on the Victims of World War II, which is a digital database helpful in looking for relatives persecuted by German and Soviet totalitarian regimes.     

In the second part of the meeting, Robert Kopydłowski, a prosecutor of the Chief Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation, introduced the EJTN interns to the Commission’s history, and then provided insight into its investigative department’s field of interest, main case types, and cooperation with counterpart institutions abroad, such as the State Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes in Ludwigsburg.

The visitors were interested in the procedures of the prosecution of German and communist crimes (many of them being also crimes against humanity), and lists of German Nazi perpetrators and concentration camps personnel compiled by the Institute – and heard, that though the list of the war criminals is far from complete, the Commission has comprehensive records of functionaries serving in the camps. The visitors were interested in the definition of communist crimes and crimes against humanity, and learned that similarly to German crimes, these also often overlap, and when they do, they have no prescription period. Asked about the use of archival resources, Mr. Kopydłowski explained  that in addition to being an essential source of evidence in criminal investigations, they help locate lost relatives and prove invaluable to victims of totalitarian regimes seeking compensation for damages.

The cooperation between the IPN and the National School of Judiciary and Public Prosecution, which has made this and similar visits possible, dates back to 2015.

 

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