Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu met counterparts from Romania and Bulgaria over the weekend, with both signaling willingness to back the founding of a body to investigate communist crimes and bring people to justice.
Reinsalu proposed the idea at the end of August, saying it should be similar to the Nuremberg Trials after World War II.
So far, the justice ministries of Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine and Georgia have backed the idea, with Romania and Bulgaria now joining the list.
Reinsalu said that he is happy with the inclusion of the two former communist nations.
Speaking in front of all EU justice ministers on Saturday, Reinsalu said all victims have a right to justice and restoring that justice is a common goal of the younger generation of Europeans. “Ruling on past crimes is a guarantee that ideologically motivated genocide does not happen in the future,” he said.
In the 2008 Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism it was stated that crimes committed under communism were often crimes against humanity, according to the definition developed in the Nuremberg Trials, and that the crimes committed under communism and Nazism were comparable.
The highest death tolls that have been documented in communist states occurred in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin, in the People's Republic of China under Mao Zedong, and in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge.
The estimates of the number of non-combatants killed by these three regimes alone range from 21-70 million. There were also killings on a smaller scale in Vietnam, in Soviet-supported African states, and in Eastern European countries which were ruled by Moscow. The killings continue in communist North Korea.
Editor: J.M. Laats, S. Tambur