German war crimes trial collapses as accused dies

31st August 2006, Comments 0 comments

31 August 2006, TUEBINGEN, GERMANY - Plans for a new war-crimes trial in Germany have collapsed with the death of an elderly former army officer believed to have taken part in the 1944 Civitella Massacre in Italy. A source who requested his name be withheld told Deutsche Presse- Agentur dpa Wednesday it was certain the accused was dead. A trial in absentia of the man is already under way at La Spezia in Italy. German judges in the city of Tuebingen held a pre-trial hearing Tuesday on the separate German ca

31 August 2006

TUEBINGEN, GERMANY - Plans for a new war-crimes trial in Germany have collapsed with the death of an elderly former army officer believed to have taken part in the 1944 Civitella Massacre in Italy.

A source who requested his name be withheld told Deutsche Presse- Agentur dpa Wednesday it was certain the accused was dead.

A trial in absentia of the man is already under way at La Spezia in Italy. German judges in the city of Tuebingen held a pre-trial hearing Tuesday on the separate German case, apparently unaware of the defendant's death. His name and age were not reported in Germany.

The German Army lined up 89 civilian men in Civitella, near Florence, and shot them dead on June 29, 1944 in reprisal for partisans killing two German soldiers. A later Italian investigation halted and was only resumed in the late 1990s.

The accused allegedly oversaw the killing of 18 men who were leaving church after hearing mass in the hill village. The priest was allowed to bless those about to die, and was then among the first to be shot, eyewitnesses said.

A newspaper, the Schwaebisches Tagblatt, said the accused, who retired as a lieutenant-colonel in the post-War German Army, had died on August 3.

DPA

Subject: German news

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