By Olivier Bault.
Poland – That was not the first time that the President of the European Council Donald Tusk was summoned last Monday concerning the air crash in Smolensk that claimed on 10 April 2010 the lives of 96 people, among which the President Lech Kaczyński and his wife, as well as the members of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces. But it was his first summon as a witness concerning a lawsuit brought by families of victims against the chief of his chancellery Tomasz Arabski who was in charge of coordinating the organisation of the journey of the presidential delegation that left in order to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the massacre of the Polish officers in Katyn by the Soviet NKVD.
This is not the first time that Donald Tusk is summoned by the judges concerning his role in the air crash of Smolensk
The former Polish Prime Minister had already had to give explanations to the prosecutors in July 2017 about the corpses of the victims that were not in the right coffins after their repatriation from Russia, as this had been noticed throughout the exhumations ordered by the PiS government as a part of its counter-inquiry about the air crash in Smolensk. Many would wish in Poland to see Mr. Tusk being tried for high treason due to his decision of accepting the inquiry about this catastrophe to be under the exclusive control of Russia. However there is an agreement of 1993 between Poland and Russia that applies to accidents involving military airplanes that would have allowed the Polish investigators to take part to the inquiry on equal terms with their Russian counterparts. The Tu-154 of the Polish government that crashed during the landing approach to the military airport of Smolensk, was an aircraft of the Polish Army operated by a military crew. The consequence of this disastrous decision of Donald Tusk are the suspicions about a potential attack that are reinforced by the fact that Moscow still refuses, eight years after the crash, to restitute the wreckage and the black boxes of the aircraft to Poland.
Some would like to see the President of the European Council being tried in Poland for high treason
Last Monday, the President of the European Council had among others to say what he knew about the decisions that led to two separate visits for the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Katyn in April 2010: his one, together with the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on 7 April, and the one of the Polish President with his delegation and the representatives of the families of the officers executed in Katyn on 10 April. Donald Tusk seems to have forgotten a lot of things, and notably the fact – that is proven by documents – that there should have been at the beginning, according to the will of President Kaczyński, only one common visit to Katyn. There also, Tusk is accused of treason by his opponents for having accepted Putin’s proposal to separate the visit of the Polish President whom the Russian Prime Minister did not seem to bear too much affection since the events in Georgia in 2008, when the Polish President had traveled to Tbilisi with several Eastern and Central European Heads of States and Governments in order to support this little country against the Russian invasion that just took place. Tusk also did not like his political enemy Kaczyński who disposed as a president of prerogatives in terms of foreign policy, and he is alleged to have favoured his own political interests to the ones of his country concerning those commemorations.
A lawsuit was brought by a part of the families of the victims after the prosecutors had stopped the proceedings in 2013
The political friends of Donald Tusk consider for their part that this lawsuit is a political one, even if it was brought by families of the victims. However, when the Polish prosecutors had stopped the procedure against the chief of his chancellery Tomasz Arabski as well as against two other officers of this chancellery and two employees of the Polish embassy in Moscow in autumn 2013, as Tusk was Prime Minister – and it was strange, to say the least – it stated that this decision was based on the fact that the negligences noticed around the preparation of the journey of the presidential delegation had occurred without any intent to harm, while outlining that there had been plenty of negligences committed by those persons! This is after that decision of the prosecutors that several families of victims had decided to pursue a civil remedy against the chief of Donald Tusk’s chancellery.