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Investigation of two Officers suspected of neglect in the Smolensk Crash case to be handled in a separate inquiry - announced the Chief Military Prosecutors' office.

SCND: January 26, 2016

Investigation of two Officers suspected of neglect in the Smolensk Crash case to be handled in a separate inquiry - announced the Chief Military Prosecutors' office.

“The investigation of two officers from the 36th Special Aviation Regiment, who were suspected of neglecting their duties when organizing the Tu-154 flight to Smolensk, will be conducted separately from the ongoing Smolensk crash investigation,” informed the Chief Military Prosecution Office (NPW).

“This is due to the circumstances preventing a combined investigation of the two cases. Ignoring those circumstances would be against the principles of the Polish judicial system,” explained Major Marcin Maksjan from the NPW.

In August 2011, the two individuals, who, back in 2010, were commanding officers in the 36th Special Aviation Regiment, were charged by the Warsaw’s District Military Prosecution (WPO), which conducts the Smolensk crash investigation. They were charged with dereliction of duty. The charges concerned the appointment and preparation of the flight crew during the organization of the Tu-154 flight to Smolensk. The charged individuals face up to three years in prison.

The WPO modified the charges back in March of 2015. As reported at the time, the modification of these charges was based on the outcomes of the experts’ complex opinion about the causes and course of the Smolensk crash, which was received by the prosecution at that time. The two suspects were charged with dereliction of duty relating to the “analysis of the flight feasibility, assessment of weather conditions and selection of the flight crew.”

Neither of the suspects admitted their guilt and both exercised their right to remain silent. The prosecution did not use preventive measures against them.

“The decision to investigate the case separately from the primary investigation of the Smolensk crash was made in mid-January 2016. The case has been registered with the WPO as a separate investigation,” emphasized Major Maksjan. He also stated that the case files are with a new prosecutor, who was not involved in the Smolensk crash investigation. “At present, the vast documentation is being thoroughly examined by the new prosecutor appointed to this case,” said Major Maksjan, adding that any further decisions will be made after this examination is completed.

The primary Smolensk crash investigation has been extended to April 10, 2016.

In addition to the suspect officers from the 36th Special Aviation Regiment, at the end of March 2015, the Prosecution brought charges against two Russian air traffic controllers from the Smolensk Airport. One has been charged with causing an imminent danger of the crash, whereas the other was charged with unintentionally causing the crash. Each individual faces a prison sentence of up to eight years. The procedure of notifying the suspects of the charges and interviewing them has begun.

In accordance with international regulations on mutual legal assistance, the WPO requested the Russian side to deliver to the Polish court orders to the controllers, summoning them to appear before the Polish Prosecution in order to be interviewed as suspects. The request was made on October 22, 2015, and thus far, it has remained unanswered.

The WPO is also still awaiting the arrival of, among others, the Tu-154 wreckage and its black boxes from Russia. In addition, the WPO is also waiting for the U.S. to grant the Polish request and provide supplementary information and technical data from the manufacturer of the Tu-154 on-board equipment, such as the FMS navigation computer and TAWS (a terrain awareness and warning system).

Out of 87 medical reports regarding the Smolensk crash victims, several are still under preparation by forensic experts from the Wrocław Medical University, and are yet to be included in the investigation files. The WPO also expects the phonoscopic opinion by the ABW (Polish Internal Security Agency), regarding the identification of individuals heard on the the Smolensk ATC recording, to be ready in early April 2016. The ABW opinion will enable the WPO to match statements from the transcript with the individuals heard in the recording.

The PiS (Polish Law and Justice Party) has announced the liquidation of the Military Prosecution Office. The new Smolensk crash investigation will be conducted by a civilian Polish prosecutors' office, but it remains to be seen when that happens.

Source: wpolityce.pl
Translation: JD
Photo: www.infolotnicze.pl


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