German court rejects delay in war crimes prosecution

12th December 2008, Comments 0 comments

The appellate court ruled that prosecutors in Munich must take on the case, which was referred to them by Germany's national office for investigating Nazi crimes.

Karlsruhe, Germany -- Germany's federal court has rejected a delay in the expected prosecution of former prison-camp guard John Demjanjuk, 88, for atrocities in the Nazi death camp at Sobibor, Ukraine.

The appellate court ruled Thursday that prosecutors in Munich must take on the case, which was referred to them by Germany's national office for investigating Nazi crimes.

Israel's Supreme Court acquitted Demjanjuk, who served on the Nazi side in the Second World War, in 1993, ruling it could not be proved that he was the feared "Ivan the Terrible" who operated gas chambers at Sobibor in 1943.

The German national office says it has enough evidence to seek Demjanjuk's extradition from the United States, since he lived in Germany as a refugee for six years after the war ended till 1952.

Two weeks ago, Munich prosecutors objected. Prosecutors of the national office in Ludwigsburg, who do not have the legal power to mount their own trials, appealed.

The federal court in Karlsruhe Thursday ordered the Munich state court to study the case, because Demjanjuk spent several months at a displaced-persons camp at Feldafing in the Munich area in 1951.

The evidence claims Ivan the Terrible assisted in the murder of at least 29,000 Jews from multiple nations by gas in the camp.

The Nazi hunters at the national office say Germany has jurisdiction because some of the victims were German citizens.

The United States has stripped Demjanjuk of citizenship, but has so far not been able to expel him to any other nation. His native Ukraine refuses to take him back.

DPA/Expatica

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