Head: Rytas Narvydas
Tel. + 370 5 231 4158
Fax + 370 5 266 1522
* Collects and systematises material about the crimes carried out by the occupying regimes and the system for committing crimes against humanity and war crimes, exposing the organisers and perpetrators of the genocide;
* Researches archive material and supplies juridical and physical persons with information about Lithuanians and volunteer fighters who were killed, disappeared, were persecuted or otherwise suffered during the occupations;
* Registers cases in the genocide and the persecution of Lithuania’s population, and supplies state law enforcement agencies with the names of perpetrators of the genocide;
* Collaborates with law enforcement institutions which investigate the subversive activities of the special agencies of other countries in Lithuania, supplying them with archive material and information uncovered (see more in the chapter Work, Tasks and Objectives of the Special Investigations Department).
Work, Tasks and Objectives of the Special Investigations Department
The totalitarian Nazi and communist ideologies imposed on millions of people oppression, suffering and death. In 1940, Lithuania lost its independence due to the Soviet occupation; from 1941 to 1944 the Nazis terrorised it; and from 1944 to 1953 the Stalinist terror reigned again. In its later years, the communist totalitarian regime, although it relaxed its grip, suppressed every vestige of freedom.
Knowing the past means fostering humanism and democracy, and serves as a tool for developing a civil society. The National Revival movement took its strength from old and new history, which had been hidden for a long time. Open archives, eyewitnesses and popular and academic publications let everyone take a new look at the people’s experience.
Much has been done in this field. At the same time, another important process is taking place: the investigation into the crimes of the totalitarian regimes, exposing their organisers, perpetrators and helpers, and establishing their guilt. The ultimate aim of such investigations is the legal evaluation of the genocide and war crimes, to which there is no statute of limitations.
The investigation into genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity is aided by historians. This collaboration is conditioned first of all by the fact that these crimes were committed many years ago, and that law enforcement agencies cannot employ the usual means and methods of investigation. Often the main evidence is archive documents, which are sometimes inconclusive and controversial. It becomes convincing only when compared with many other documents. Besides, it is necessary to establish all the circumstances necessary to begin a criminal case: what repressive institution the person worked for, what institution it was part of, and so on. On the other hand, a good knowledge of historical literature and memoirs, as well as thorough work with numerous files, is necessary.
With the National Revival movement, due to the efforts of the public and separate individuals, the investigation into crimes started and proceedings were started. The number of such cases increased after the reestablishment of independence in 1990. The State Security Department, with the help of historians, took an active part in the investigations. With the establishment of the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre in 1993, all the efforts became more concerted. When this institution was reorganised in 1997, the Special Investigations Department was established. This is a specialised subdivision of the centre, which collects documents and other material about the genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and analyses the information obtained. All the material gathered is given over to public prosecutor’s departments. The Special Investigations Department advises law enforcement agencies, and helps them to get the necessary historical literature. It also collects and systematises data about crimes committed. The department participates in the process of collecting memoirs, which is carried out by the centre.
On 22 July 1998, in order to achieve closer cooperation and coordination in collecting data about the facts of the genocide of the people of Lithuania, and in investigating and establishing such crimes and their perpetrators, the heads of the Procurator’s Office, the State Security Department and the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre signed an agreement. In carrying out their tasks, the staff of the Special Investigations Department research state archives and those of organisations, library manuscript departments, and elsewhere.
The 50-year-long Soviet occupation affected hundreds of thousands of people, incurring innumerable losses. The Nazi and communist terrors claimed thousands of lives, with no regard for humanism and justice. Although it is now impossible to judge and punish all the perpetrators of crimes, it is necessary to establish their names and to expose them. Taking part in this work, the Special Investigations Department helps to put the principles of justice into practice.
The Department of Special Investigations of the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania has been charged by the Special Investigations Department of the General Procurator’s Office of the Republic of Lithuania with conducting the investigation into the killings of troops of the Armija Krajowa, who were executed by NKVD Military Tribunal between 1944 and 1946 and were buried on the Tuskulėnai estate. The department has received a request from Poland for legal assistance in this matter.
The names of 52 Polish nationals buried at Tuskulėnai are known. On the basis of the information in the criminal files, the department will establish who, and on what charges, sentenced them, as well as the members of the NKVD Military Tribunal and the NKVD officials who executed them.
On orders from the General Procurator’s Office and district procurators, the Department of Special Investigations of the GRRC of Lithuania is investigating the deportations of people from Lithuania. Currently, the department is looking for material about deportations from Kaunas and its district, and from the Jonava, Lazdijai, Marijampolė and Prienai districts.
Information about people who participated in the deportations of residents of these districts, i.e. took people away from their homes, made lists of the property of the deported, as well as lists of the so-called buožes (wealthy farmers), who were to be exiled, is being collected.
Between 1940 and 1953 the Soviets deported about 130,000 people from Lithuania to outlying areas of the Soviet Union. There were several waves of mass deportations aimed at doing away with specific groups of the population, in defiance of international law on the protection of civilians during an occupation. The highest echelons of power in the Soviet Union and the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic organised and gave instructions to carry them out. The direct perpetrators were the heads of the Communist Party and the repressive agencies of administrative units, the chairmen of executive committees secretaries of the Communist Party, the heads and ordinary officials of the NKGB (MGB) and the NKVD (MVD) of the LSSR, as well as other Soviet activists.
Anyone who can provide information about deportations from the areas mentioned is requested to apply to the Special Investigations Department of the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre (Vilnius, Gedimino pr. 40, tel. + 370 5 231 4158).