Spain seeks arrest of 'Nazi guard' on trial in Germany

14th January 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spain has called for an international arrest warrant against alleged former Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk for complicity in "crimes against humanity" over the deaths of Spanish prisoners during World War II.

The warrant concerns Demjanjuk's alleged role as a guard at the German concentration camp of Flossenburg, where 50 of the 155 Spanish prisoners held were killed, according to a court ruling released Friday.

The 90-year-old is currently on trial in Germany accused of being a guard at the Sobibor death camp in occupied Poland in 1943, where an estimated 250,000 people died.

Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, whose family says has serious health problems, has appeared at the trial in a wheelchair or a stretcher and has not spoken in court since proceedings began on November 30, 2009.

He has denied the charges.

Spanish Judge Ismael Moreno, in a ruling dated January 7 but released on Friday, said Demjanjuk is wanted in Spain for "complicity in crimes of genocide and crimes against against humanity" for his alleged activities at Flossenburg.

Moreno called for a European arrest warrant given "that he is currently in Germany and on trial", in order that he can be arrested and eventually tried in Spain.

The Spanish warrant was issued by the National Court under Spain's legal doctrine of "universal jurisdiction" which allows human rights crimes to be tried outside the country where they allegedly took place.

In 2009 Spain approved a law limiting the application of the doctrine to cases where there is a clear link to Spain, after investigations into alleged human rights abuses involving other nations like China and Israel caused diplomatic headaches for Madrid.

© 2011 AFP

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