Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gorbachev and Thatcher before Polish court?

General Wojciech Jaruzelski, responsible for imposing martial law in Poland in 1981, wants ex world leaders to be witnesses at his trial in a Polish court.

General Jaruzelski has filed a motion with a court to have the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, former British PM Margaret Thatcher, former US Secretary of State Alexander Haig and former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt as witnesses at his own trial, Gazeta Wyborcza daily reveals.

In 1996, the Polish Sejm - the lower house of parliament - refused to have the Communist General tried by the State Tribunal, explaining that imposing martial law was an act of necessity on part of Jaruzelski. But in April 2007, the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) deemed the preparations for martial law communist crime and presented charges to Wojciech Jaruzelski.

IPN believes, however, that the current list of 21 witnesses, mainly high rank officers from early 1980s. is sufficient.

General Wojciech Jaruzelski is one of eight ex-Communist government members standing trial in Warsaw. The list includes Stanislaw Kania, 1st Secretary of the Polish United Workers Party (PZPR), Czeslaw Kiszczak, Interior Minister and General Florian Siwicki, deputy Minister of the Defence Ministry.