Russia's Justice Ministry may sue Nazi collaborators at the European Court of Human Rights in response to the conviction of Soviet veteran Vasily Kononov, Justice Minister Alexander Konovalov said on Wednesday.
"There is nothing to stop us from launching one or two symmetric lawsuits aimed at searching for those who shot scores of people in the Pskov, Tver and Smolensk regions," Konovalov said.
Kononov, 87, who led a group of resistance fighters against Nazi Germany in the Baltic state during World War II, was jailed by Latvia in 1998 after he was convicted of ordering the killing of nine villagers in 1944. He admitted to the killings, but said the dead were Nazi collaborators who were caught in crossfire.
In 2008, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Latvia had violated the European Convention on Human Rights in imprisoning Kononov because the villagers' murder was not a crime under Soviet or international law at the time it was committed. The court referred to Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits retroactive punishment for crimes.
In May, the upper chamber of the European Court of Human Rights upheld the appeal by Latvia against the court's 2008 ruling that the conviction of Kononov was illegal.
Russia slammed the court's decision, saying it was aiding those who sought to distort history and politically-motivated.
Konovalov said he though it was possible that people who collaborated with the Nazis during World War II, are currently leading peaceful lives in the Baltic States.
Those who approve of the actions of former Nazi collaborators and call them heroes, insult and humiliate the memory of those who fought for victory in World War II and should also be sued, Konovalov said.
MOSCOW, September 8 (RIA Novosti)