A posthumous award of military rank to a man suspected of involvement in the Holocaust has caught attention of the Lithuanian parliament speaker who has asked for explanation from the president and the defence minister.
Žydai varomi į darbus. Kėdainiai, 1941 m. vasara (Genocido aukų muziejaus nuotr.)

Juozas Krikštaponis (or Krištaponis according to some sources, 1912-1945), a member of the anti-Soviet resistance in Lithuania, was awarded a posthumous rank of colonel in 2002, by the then President Valdas Adamkus.

Seimas Speaker Loreta Graužinienė has turned to President Dalia Grybauskaitė and Defence Minister Juozas Olekas, suggesting that relevant institutions should look into the circumstances of granting the honours to Krikštaponis.

Graužinienė quotes a 2014 report from the Lithuanian Genocide and Resistance Research Centre, saying that the battalion where Krikštaponis was a company commander could have been used by the German administration for persecution and annihilation of Jews, prisoners of war and civilians in Belarus in 1941–1943.

A few week ago, the centre published a historical report about Krikštaponis' operations during the German rule after what it said was "rekindled public discussions" on his status.

The Genocide and Resistance Research Centre turned to the Prosecutor General's Office in late 2014 with a request to defend the public interest by investigating whether Krikštaponis "committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, ordered massacres or massacred peaceful civilians".

In January 2015, the centre received an answer from prosecutors who said there were no grounds for an investigation, since the Code of Criminal Process does not allow criminal proceedings against people after their death.

BNS
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