Perpetrators of martial law crimes should be punished - minister

Paweł Supernak/PAP

The Polish justice minister has called for the punishment of military officers, and prosecutors and judges, responsible for crimes committed during martial law in Poland.

Speaking on Radio 24 on Monday morning, Zbigniew Ziobro said that those who had committed crimes during the period should be stigmatised and punished "at least symbolically" for the loss of innocent lives and the bloodshed.

"It was a dreadful and gloomy time in our history, determined by the geopolitical and historical conditions in which Poland found itself after World War Two," said Ziobro.

He also said that the powers of Poland's national heritage-guarding Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), which investigates communist crimes committed in the country before 1990, should be expanded.

According to Ziobro, the Supreme Court had for years consistently refused to waive the immunities of judges and prosecutors who made "unlawful and criminal trial decisions" during martial law.

Recently, IPN prosecutors applied for a waiver of immunity for 73 judges and prosecutors serving during that period.

Ziobro said he hopes the applications will be "positively recognised."

He added that IPN prosecutors should be equipped with new powers to help them make independent decisions on the investigation and documentation of communist crimes.

"The number of historical investigations conducted requires significant acceleration," Ziobro concluded.