Soviet-era hitmen convicted of genocide

  • 2008-01-30
  • By Laima Vaiga
VILNIUS - The Kaunas district court on Jan. 25 convicted two former Soviet MGB (USSR Ministry for State Security) hit men of genocide.
Jurgis Navickas (78) from Vilnius was sentenced to eight years in prison and Jonas Juskauskas (77) from Kybartai, in the district of Vilkaviskis, was assigned to compulsory psychiatric monitoring as he is considered incapable of serving his sentence due to a mental condition.
Navickas and Juskauskas were tried for administering and aiding the administration of the genocide of Lithuanian partisans, i.e. deliberately serving the objective of physically eliminating Lithuanian freedom fighters after WWII.

The court established that in 1952, the two men killed resistance members Juozas Gudeliauskas, Juozas Krivickas, Jonas Jutkevicius, Algimantas Kaminskas and Juozas Gaidys, and two partisan supporters, Jonas Radisauskas and Monika Radisauskaite.

These murders, which took place in the Lazdijai district, are connected with Juskauskas' switching sides after his capture by the MGB in 1952.
Juskauskas then revealed the location of a granary where Krivickas, Gudeliauskas and Jutkevicius were hiding and was photographed next to their dead bodies in order to ensure his cooperation, Kaunas district prosecuto Vitoldas Guliavicius told The Baltic Times.
MGB hit man Navickas, who admitted he had joined that organization for the money, was assigned to be Juskauskas' partner. Together they traced the whereabouts of Gaidys and Kaminskas and shot them.
During the first attempted murder, however, Gaidys and another partisan, Vytas Klekys, managed to escape, while the owner of the hiding place Radisauskas and his daughter Radisauskaite were killed instead.
Two women were recognized as victims of the case, Lietuvos Zinios reports.

A daughter of the burned down granary owner, whose family was subsequently sentenced to 25 years in Siberia, died before the adoption of a judgment in this 54-years case. The other victim 's a daughter of one of the partisans 's is currently incapable to take care of herself and did not press any charges.
Guliavicius requested a 15-year sentence for Navickas and compulsory medical treatment for Juskauskas, the Lietuvos Zinios daily reported. The crime of genocide is punishable by prison terms of five years to life, and a statute of limitations is not applicable.

"Navickas will only be detained when the judgment comes to force. If it is appealed in a 20 day period, it will take effect after the appeal court decides upon the matter,"  Guliavicius said.
Navickas' lawyer Mecislovas Norvaisas admitted that the judgment is rather mild, but did not deny he's going to appeal it to the Lithuanian appeals court, Lietuvos Zinios reported.