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Austria denounced as 'paradise for Nazi war criminals'

[JURIST] [JURIST Europe] Following a meeting Wednesday with Austrian Interior and Justice ministers, Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center [official website] criticized Austria for being complacent in investigating and prosecuting suspects involved in Nazi war crimes, saying that the country had become a "paradise" for fugitives. The Wiesenthal Centre has launched Operation: Last Chance [official website], an initiative committed to bringing elderly Nazi war criminals to trial before they die, and has to date submitted 83 suspects who are still living in Austria. Zuroff alleges that Austrian officials have failed to pursue the investigations of 77 of the 83 identified suspects. One of the suspects, Millivoj Asner, is a former Croatian police officer thought to have sent hundreds to death camps. He was indicted in September 2005 [OLC press release] by the Croatian government for crimes against humanity but Austria refused to grant extradition since Asner has Austrian citizenship. The Independent has more.

Angela Onikepe is an Associate Editor for JURIST Europe, reporting European legal news from a European perspective. She is based in the UK.

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