Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Former communist goes on trial

Excerpt from Reuters (www.reuters.com)


A former senior Communist Party official went on trial in Hungary on Tuesday charged with war crimes over the suppression of the 1956 anti-Soviet uprising, in a landmark case that may help the country face up to its communist past.

More than two decades after the fall of communism, Hungarian prosecutors have charged 92-year-old Bela Biszku over his role on a committee of the Communist Party they say was involved in ordering the shootings of civilians during protests in Budapest and in the town of Salgotarjan in December 1956.

Editor's note: After half a century, will Hungarians finally have their justice? Former senior Communist Party official Bela Biszku went on trial today. He is charged with war crimes over the suppression of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Even after the fall of communism in 1989, Biszku lived as a free man collecting a very generous state pension while the relatives of those killed in 1956 lived in pain every day. Finally, Biszku has been brought to trial. Many Hungarians believe that this should have been done a long time ago. 

The Nuremburg Trials were set up after the Second World War to punish senior Nazi officials for their crimes during the war. Why were there no trials for senior Communist Party officials in Hungary and the rest of eastern Europe? Why the double standard? Communist regimes in central and eastern Europe killed millions of people during the 20th century. Some former communist officials who ordered executions and the executioners themselves still walk free in Europe today.

Would someone tolerate a Nazi official walking freely after his crimes were made known? Unfortunately, many of the senior Hungarian Communist Party officials are now dead. They can not be tried for their crimes against the Hungarian people. Luckily, Biszku will be tried for his crimes and at least if he is found guilty, the Hungarian victims and their relatives can receive some long overdue justice.