Ailing prosecution witness showsup at Munich war crimes trial

11th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

11 October 2004 , MUNICH - In a surprise development, a key prosecution witness in a German war crimes trial appeared to testify in person Monday against the Slovak-born defendant, Ladislav Nisznansky. Jan Repasky, 78, appeared in the Munich state court for the proceedings into the alleged massacre by a Nazi-led militia in Slovakia in the waning days of World War II. Niznansky, 86, and a naturalized German citizen since 1966, is accused of leading three massacres of 164 Slovak villagers and Jews in January

11 October 2004

MUNICH - In a surprise development, a key prosecution witness in a German war crimes trial appeared to testify in person Monday against the Slovak-born defendant, Ladislav Nisznansky.

Jan Repasky, 78, appeared in the Munich state court for the proceedings into the alleged massacre by a Nazi-led militia in Slovakia in the waning days of World War II.

Niznansky, 86, and a naturalized German citizen since 1966, is accused of leading three massacres of 164 Slovak villagers and Jews in January and February 1945.

It was initially believed that Repasky, for health reasons, would not appear in Munich but would be questioned in a video conference.

Repasky has told Munich prosecutors he saw how Niznansky personally shot 20 of the victims. Defence lawyers doubt the testimony, and note Repasky only made his accusations in 2001.

Niznansky has confirmed to the court that he was a captain in the Slovak section of Edelweiss, a half-German, half-Slovak force that on paper answered to Slovakia's puppet government, but denies the killings.

A Slovak court sentenced him in absentia to death in 1962 for treason and murder.

At the end of the war, Niznansky moved to Germany, where he was in the research section at Radio Free Europe. German authorities dropped an earlier investigation against him because they did not trust the evidence put to the 1962 Slovak trial.

In testimony last week, a former member of the Edelweiss told the court he had been tortured by communist authorities into a fake confession in 1962 and knew nothing about alleged 1945 massacres. The witness said he had deserted from the unit in December 1944. 

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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