Poland ready to take Russia to court over 2010 crash: Official

AFP , Tuesday 10 Nov 2015

Poland is prepared to take Russia to court over what it sees as foot-dragging in the investigation of the 2010 air crash in which then president Lech Kaczynski died, Warsaw's incoming foreign minister said Tuesday.

Warsaw has long demanded Moscow return the wreckage of Kaczynski's presidential jet, which crashed in Russia, but so far to no avail.

"If Russia keeps refusing to cooperate, we'll launch a case in international courts," Witold Waszczykowski told Poland's TVN24 news channel on Tuesday.

"We'll launch a case in Strasbourg against foot-dragging in the investigation, we'll demand arbitration tribunals to return this piece of Polish property," he said, adding that "we don't need to start a war over this case."

Waszczykowski was referring to the European Court of Human Rights based in Strasbourg.

"It's clear that Russia is using the wreckage for political purposes and we must therefore respond in a political manner," he said.

Prime minister-in-waiting Beata Szydlo named Waszczykowski to her conservative Law and Justice (PiS) cabinet on Monday.

Speaking along side Szydlo on Monday, PiS party chief Jaroslaw Kaczynski -- Lech's identical twin -- said the April 2010 crash "requires an honest investigation by the justice administration and a normally functioning prosecutor's office."

Kaczynski has insisted that the crash was not an accident, despite Polish and Russian investigators finding that pilot error, bad weather and poor air traffic control were to blame.

Tapped for defence minister, PiS deputy leader Antoni Macierewicz is also known for publicly accusing Russia of playing a role in the crash.

Meanwhile, Polish military prosecutors investigating the crash on Tuesday reiterated that there was no evidence for an explosion aboard the presidential jet.

Kaczynski and 95 other mostly senior Polish state officials, including its military chief of staff and central banker, perished when the plane came down in heavy fog in Smolensk, western Russia.

The state delegation was heading for memorial ceremonies in Russia's Katyn forest for thousands of Polish army officers who were slain by the Soviet secret police in 1940, a massacre the Kremlin denied until 1990.

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