President of the Republic of Estonia Lennart Meri announced the formation of the Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity (also known as the Max Jakobson Commission) in the autumn of 1998. Lennart Meri also invited the persons who would subsequently become members of the Commission to join the Commission. The first session of the Commission was held in January of 1999. The Commission set as its ectivobje the investigation of crimes against humanity committed in Estonia and/or against citizens of the Republic of Estonia, which were committed from the occupation of Estonia in June of 1940 onward. The Commission proceeded in its work from the definitions of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court passed in 1998. The Max Jakobson Commission was not a judicial body. The objective of the Commission’s historical investigation work was to ascertain what crimes have been committed and their historical background.
The Commission published three reports:
The German Occupation in Estonia 1941–1944 (published in 2001)
The Soviet Occupation in Estonia 1940–1941 (published in 2004)
The Soviet Occupation in Estonia from 1944 onward (published in 2008)
The research studies that formed the basis for the Commission’s reports have been published in the form of two books:
Estonia 1940–1945. Reports of the Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity (Tallinn 2006)
Estonia since 1944. Reports of the Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity (Tallinn 2009)
The Estonian Memory Institute, which has adopted the UN General Declaration of Human Rights as the basis of its work, is continuing the work of the Max Jakobson Commission in researching the Soviet era in Estonian history.