Five Poles to be tried for negligence over Smolensk disaster
PR dla Zagranicy
Five former Polish officials accused of negligence in the preparations for the April 2010 Tu-154M flight to Smolensk, western Russia, are to stand trial.
A prosecutor's office in Warsaw had suspended the proceedings in 2014, claiming that no crime had been committed, but on Wednesday a district court in the Polish capital overruled the decision.
The case was brought privately by 11 relatives of victims of the crash. All 96 Poles aboard the 10 April flight, including the then President Lech Kaczyński, died in the disaster.
The accused are Tomasz Arabski (former head of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister), two erstwhile officials in the Prime Minister's Chancellery - Monika B. and Mirosław K., and two employees of the Polish embassy in Moscow - Justyna G. and Grzegorz C.
Owing to thick fog on the morning of the flight, the Polish pilots were offered the opportunity to land at another airport, but the offer was declined.
It later emerged that the Smolensk Military Airport was not on the list of airports that the presidential plane was cleared to land on.
An official post-crash Polish report pointed to a catalogue of Polish errors as well as to mistakes made by Russian staff at the control tower of Smolensk Military Airport. The Russian report placed all the blame on the Polish side.
Both sides concluded that the plane flew too low in the fog and hit trees before crashing.
Poland's Law and Justice party, which won the country's October general election, is to carry out a new investigation into the crash. Lech Kaczyński was a member of Law and Justice, but he had to shed his membership on becoming president in 2005. (nh/pk)