On 10 April 2010, a Tupolev Tu-154M with the Polish State delegation on board, led by President Lech Kaczynski and which was taking part in ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the Katyn Massacre, in which thousands of Polish officers were killed by Soviet secret police, crashed.
All 96 passengers on board died. These included President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria and many high-ranking Polish officials, among them the chief of the Polish General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, Polish military commanders, the chief of the National Security Bureau and the President of the National Bank of Poland.
Although more than five years have passed, the plane wreckage is still being kept by the Russian Federation, as well as the black boxes with original flight data recordings and much more material evidence, while the Russian authorities continue to carry out investigations.
There have been media claims that the wreckage, which is being stored unprotected, is falling apart and the Russian Federation has been accused of infringing the rules of law and co-operation between the member States of the Council of Europe in keeping the plane wreckage for such a long time.
McNamara’s report will focus on whether the delay is justified or inordinate and politically motivated to interfere in the Polish investigation and whether it is appropriate for the Council of Europe body to call for the return of the plane wreckage to Poland, as well as the original flight data recordings and other material evidence in the case,
This issue of the crash is highly politically sensitive in Poland, where a Polish government spokeswoman recently called for former Prime Minister Donald Tusk and currently President of the European Council to be put on trial for his handling of the 2010 air disaster in which President Lech Kaczynski died. Mr Kaczynski’s Law and Justice party, which was returned to power in elections last month, has never accepted an inquiry that found the Smolensk crash was an accident.