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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » April 2, 2008
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Jaruzelski in Court
April 2, 2008   
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Poland's former communist leader and military strongman General Wojciech Jaruzelski, on trial for his decision to impose martial law Dec. 13, 1981, has said he takes full responsibility for the move, but insisted that it saved Poland from the threat of Soviet invasion.

He has filed a request to summon former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev; Alexander Haig, former U.S. secretary of state; Margaret Thatcher, former British prime minister; and Helmut Schmidt, former West German chancellor, as witnesses in his case. Jaruzelski argues that such witnesses can testify to the historical context of martial law and confirm the threat of armed Soviet intervention in Poland had martial law not been imposed.

The National Remembrance Institute, which investigates and prosecutes communist crimes committed between 1944-1989, formally indicted nine of the instigators and executors of martial law in April 2007, more than 25 years after the event. The accused are former members of the Military Council of National Salvation set up on Dec. 13, 1981, and the communist Council of State which formally imposed martial law.

Apart from Jaruzelski, the accused include Stanisław Kania, a former first secretary of the Central Committee of the Polish Communist Party, Gen. Czesław Kiszczak, a former interior minister and head of the Internal Military Service (WSW) and Gen. Florian Siwicki, a former deputy defense minister.
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