The Resistance Participants’ Rights Commission furnishes the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre with conclusions about the recognition of the legal status of a volunteer fighter, a freedom fighter and a victim of the occupations. It also issues standard certificates and registers them.
The main task of the commission is to establish, by researching different sources, the legal status of people who claim to have been a volunteer fighter, a freedom fighter or a victim of the occupations. Upon establishing this fact, the commission furnishes the centre with the conclusion that the legal status of volunteer fighter, freedom fighter or victim of the occupations can be granted.
The commission furnishes the centre with the following:
The commission is charged with studying all available sources which prove or disprove that a person was a volunteer fighter, a freedom fighter or a victim of the occupations.
Organisation of the work of the commission
The government of the Republic of Lithuania approves the composition of the commission.
A certification service at the commission is approved by the general director of the centre.
The commission works in accordance with the regulations approved by the centre’s general director.
The members of the commission hold at least one meeting every month. The chairman of the commission, or a person authorised by him, arranges and chairs the meetings.
Commission experts who present their conclusions on the issues investigated can take part in the meetings with a deliberative vote.
The commission makes decisions based on a majority vote of the members present at the meeting. Meetings are legitimate if more than half of the members of the commission participate in them.
The decisions passed by the commission are recorded in the minutes of the meetings, which are signed by the chairman of the commission and the executive secretary.
The commission works in accordance with regulation No 1244 adopted by the Government on 11 November 1997. First of all, the regulation envisages that resistance participants have to present to the commission a detailed description of their activities based on actual facts and comprehensive eyewitness evidence. Although a memorandum prepared by the certification service details it, many claimants present a superficial description of their activities in the resistance without any weighty proof. In such cases the deliberation is put off until new data is added.
The status of a volunteer fighter is granted to:
1) Participants in the 22–28 June 1941 uprising who took up arms to fight the institutions of the occupying power;
3) Troops of the Guards of the Homeland, who resisted the Soviet army in 1944;
4) Lithuanian partisans, participants in the national armed resistance against the army of the Soviet Union between 1944 and 1953 and the structures of the occupying regime.
The status of a freedom fighter is granted to:
1) Lithuanian partisans’ messengers and supporters;
2) Members of underground organisations, publishers, contributors and distributors of clandestine publications who were active between 1940 and 1990 and whose aim was to reestablish Lithuania’s independence, as well as participants in acts of resistance, and individuals who took part in the fight for independence in various other ways.
The Law of the Republic of Lithuania on the Legal Status of the Participant in the Resistance to the Occupations between 1940 and 1990 (Žin. 1997, No 12(230) does not envisage recognition of the status of volunteer fighter to someone who broke the partisan oath of allegiance. In accordance with the regulations of the commission’s work, the following resistance participants are considered to have broken the oath of allegiance:
1) Those who left partisan units and registered under the amnesty declared by the occupying powers and legalised themselves;
2) Betrayed their comrades, who later had legal action brought against them and were persecuted or detained, imprisoned and exiled.
Some claimants to the status try to justify the fact of their legalisation by their leaders’ permission or other reasons. The commission does not possess information about the circumstance of former partisans (no data about their legalisation has survived in the former KGB archive); therefore, the same rules apply to everyone. The commission considers granting the status of freedom fighter to those participants in the armed resistance who continued their work in the resistance after registration and can prove it.
The status of volunteer fighter and freedom fighter is not foreseen to be granted to:
1) Individuals who committed crimes against humanity, killed civilians or helped the occupying structures to kill them;
2) Individuals who consciously collaborated with the repressive structures, and the collaboration was actual action;
3) Individuals who were on the staff, and worked as agents and informers for the repressive structures of the occupying regimes, if they fail to produce evidence that they collaborated at the same time with resistance organisations and carried out special tasks assigned by them;
4) Individuals who publicly denounced the resistance activities and the ideals of Lithuania’s independence in the media;
5) Members of organisations and structures which worked against Lithuania’s independence and its territorial integrity;
6) Former members of the National Socialist and Communist parties.
The status of freedom fighter is not granted to participants in the unarmed resistance:
1) Those who betrayed their comrades, were watched, persecuted or detained, imprisoned and exiled;
2) Members of underground organisations, members of schoolchildren’s and students’ clubs, who testified against their comrades, collaborated with the repressive structures and were not sentenced.
The commission has received many requests from people to grant the status of volunteer fighter or freedom fighter posthumously to their relatives (who were killed in battle, sentenced to death by the courts of the occupying structures and executed by firing squad, died in prison). In such cases, it is necessary, besides an application and a description of the life and resistance activities of the person who was killed or died, to present a certificate about the person’s death from the Lithuanian Special Archives (Gedimino pr. 40, Vilnius). If a certificate like this is not available, the fact of the claimant’s resistance activities and death must be proved in a court of law.
Victims of the occupations are:
1) Political prisoners and people who have this status;
2) Deportees and people who have this status;
3) Displaced people;
4) Repressed people;
5) Former homeless children;
6) Other victims.
The Law on the Legal Status of People who Suffered from the Occupations between 1939 and 1990 applies to people who, at the time defined by the law, were permanent residents on the territory which now belongs to Lithuania, and also to people who suffered at the hands of the repressive regimes of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, regardless of their citizenship and their place of residence at the time they were repressed of suffered, if at present they are citizens of the Republic of Lithuania.
The status of victims of the 1939–1990 occupations is not granted to the following people:
1) People who carried out crimes against humanity or war crimes;
2) Those who worked for the repressive structures of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany as staff members, agents or informers;
3) Former senior members of the National Socialists and Communist parties;
4) Members of organisations and structures which acted against the independence and territorial integrity of Lithuania.