Lithuania's genocide research center has problems, but must be preserved – president

  • 2021-03-29
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – The Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuania (GRRCL) has many problems, but the state-funded research institute must continue to operate, President Gitanas Nauseda said on Monday. 

"I think the institute does have a lot of inherited and other kinds of difficulties and problems," he told BNS in an interview. "Today, I'd like us to set a very clear goal (and decide) whether we need the Genocide and Resistance Center as such. My answer is yes, we do." 

The Board of the Seimas has recently proposed that the parliament fire Adas Jakubauskas as the center's director.

Nauseda believes, however, that the embattled director is not the only one to blame for the situation in the center.

"(The center) can perform this function if it has adequate funding, proper internal organization, a certain reputation in scientific circles, and we don't have all this today," the president said.

"Is the director the only one to blame for all the problems? Unfortunately, we inherited many problems from the past, but today I wouldn't want to see the research institute swallowed and possibly merged into some other structure. Seeing the current trends, I have such concerns," he added. 

Jakubauskas has headed the center since last summer.

The Board of the Seimas' proposal to fire the director came after a special task group concluded after a probe that he fails to ensure the smooth functioning of the center amid a conflict situation within the institute that has become the subject of public controversy, which harms its reputation.  

Some of the controversy was provoked by the director's decision to sack Mingaile Jurkute, a historian. 

The GRRCL is engaged "in the study of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in Lithuania; the study of the persecution of local residents by occupying regimes; the study of armed and unarmed resistance to occupying regimes; the initiation of the legal evaluation of the activities of the organizers and implementers of genocide; and the commemoration of freedom fighters and genocide victims".

Under the law, its director is appointed and dismissed by the parliament.