Prosecutor Robert Janicki, Head of the Main Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes Against the Polish Nation, acknowledged that specialised analysis of the photographs included in the investigation through the joint efforts Kresy.pl and Dr. Stephen Ankier played „an important and vital role” in confirming the identity of Michael K. In his opinion, the key was the link between the pseudonym of K. and procedural documents.
On 13th March 2017, IPN officially announced that Karkoc’s identity has been confirmedand that the prosecutor, of the Branch Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Institute of National Remembrance in Lublin, had applied to a court a „request for the arrest of Michael K.” who is suspected „of committing crimes against humanity, which is also a war crime. „
Attorney Robert Janicki, Head of the Main Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes Against the Polish Nation told Kresy.pl that Michael / Mykhailo K. was identified on the basis of documents made much stronger by forensic results. He also explained that, he could not speak in detail about this material, because it has already been submitted to a court in Lublin. – We managed to identify the person –said the Prosecutor Janicki. He admitted that facial recognition and comparative imagery analysis using photographs used by experts from the Forensic Laboratory of the Police Headquarters in Lublin, played „an important and vital role.”However, in his opinion, the key factor was different.
– Crucially deciphering the pseudonym or nickname and associating it with a particular person. That was very important. We have much and strong evidence in relation to a person nicknamed „Vovk” / „Volk”, but we were looking for confirmation that it belonged to Mykhailo / Michael K. –explained the prosecutor. Janicki. – We wanted to show that Michael K. under the name of Mykhailo K., was in Chłaniow and Władysławin during July 1944 and I think that we have succeeded.
It is a fact that Karkoć himself confirmed in his own book, published in Ukrainian in the US during 1995, that his wartime pseudonym was „Vovk” / „Volk”, but that was not enough. – We managed to get the documentation which clearly links to a particular person, but more specifically, that it was a pseudonym used specifically by a unique person –said the prosecutor. He noted that the forensic expert’s conclusions about the photographs of Karkoc that were studied clearly provided significant evidence that reinforced and complemented these conclusions, but that the key evidence was procedural documents in relation to the criminal cases that were held against members of the Ukrainian Self-defense Legion (ULS). Karkoć was the co-founder and commanded one of the companies of the ULS. The documents were obtained and processed by the leading prosecutor of the case, Dariusz Antoniak of the Branch Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Institute of National Remembrance in Lublin.
It should be noted, that the IPN investigators used a specialised method of analysis of the photographs, so-called facial recognition and comparative imagery analysis. This process involved a comparison of the official photograph of Mychało Karkocia taken when he unsuccessfully applied for German citizenship in February 1940 as well as other photos that were taken mainly during the post-war period. In particular, one photograph taken with the brother of Mykhailo K., that was published in the media, came from the Karkoc family’s own archive. Thanks to the initiatives taken jointly by Kresy.pl and British Holocaust researcher, Dr. Stephen Ankier, this evidence was included in the investigative proceedings. In February Kresy.pl were the first member of the media to report, that according to unofficial information, the use of specialised forensic techniques involving photographic analysis would most likely confirm the identity of Mykhailo / Michael K.
Prosecutor Janicki noted that obtaining documents about Karkoc, most often in the context of legal aid, was no easy task. They came largely from abroad. For example, the original American documents could not be transferred to Polish territory because they are not allowed to leave the territory of the United States. Investigators from IPN suggested, however, that they could be studied and processed at the US Embassy in Warsaw – de facto US territory.
A decision by the Lublin court is awaited. – If it is positive, then we will proceed to draw up a request for the extradition of K. and place him before a Polish court –said prosecutor Janicki. He added that this would be done by the Polish authorities as soon as possible.
Read also: Member Rzymkowski submitted an interpellation to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and MS about prosecuting Ukrainian war criminals.
In essence, during the last year, Kresy.pl was the only part of the Press to investigate Karkoc and provide updates on the progress of the process in full partnership with the British Holocaust researchers, Dr. Stephen Ankier.
Kresy.pl were the only medium in Poland, that has been investigating and covering the Karkoć’s Case for last several months, joining efforts with British Holocaust researcher, Dr Stephen Ankier.
Karkoć was the co-founder and company commander of the Ukrainian Self-defense Legion, a collaborationist group of the Third Reich made up of Ukrainian volunteers. On 23rd July 1944, Karkoc’s company was responsible for the ‚pacification’ of villages in the Lublin region, including Chłaniów, in retaliation for the killing by Polish partisans of a German liaison officer. As a result, 44 unarmed civilians, including children and babies, were murdered in Chłaniów and in the neighbouring village Władysławin. The documentation collected by IPN about this incident is totally sufficient to formulate an indictment. Subsequently, Karkoc’s company participated in other examples of ‚pacification’ such as in Czerniakow during the Warsaw Uprising. Later on Karkoc and his men joined the well-known Nazi collaborationist Ukrainian 14th Waffen-SS „Galizien” Division.
According to available information, Karkoć obtained a US visa and left for the US in 1949. He lied to Americans that he did not do any military service throughout the war. Karkoc has lived in the Ukrainian area of Minneapolis, where he worked as a carpenter and where he was active in local organisations uniting Ukrainians. He also received American citizenship and is now known as Michael Karkoc.
In 2015, the Main Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Institute of National Remembrance asked the US Department of Justice to provide documentary material to enable a comparison with documents available in Poland, to facilitate the identification Karkoc. Unfortunately, forensic analysis of handwriting samples received, failed to definitively confirm his identityand so it was decided to use another method – facial recognition and comparative imagery analysis using photographs that successfully allowed experts in Lublin to study wartime images of Mychajły with photographs of Michael taken during the post-war period.