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Germany appeals court rules accused Nazi soldier fit to stand trial

[JURIST] A German appeals court on Tuesday found [press release, in German] that suspected Nazi Waffen-SS [USHMM backgrounder] soldier Heinrich Boere is medically fit to stand trial for the 1944 murder of three Dutch civilians. The Cologne Higher Regional Court [official website, in German] overturned a lower court decision, which found that a heart condition and other medical problems rendered the 88-year-old Boere unfit to stand trial. Rejecting this assessment on appeal, the appeals court said that the trial process could be adapted to allow Boere breaks and limit courtroom hours to accommodate his medical condition. Dortmund state prosecutor [official website, in German] Ulrich Maass brought murder charges against Boere alleging the execution-style murder of three Dutch resistance fighters during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

Boere was convicted in absentia [Reuters report] of the killings in 1949 in the Netherlands, which subsequently sought his extradition from Germany in 1980. In May, another accused Nazi, John Demjanjuk [NNDB profile; JURIST news archive], 89, was deported [JURIST report] from the US to Germany to stand trial for his alleged involvement in death camps during World War II. Demjanjuk's deportation marked the end a lengthy legal battle [Guardian timeline] centered around whether his age and health would permit him to stand trial. In 1988, Demjanjuk was convicted and sentenced to death by an Israeli court, though the sentence was vacated by the Israeli Supreme Court in 1993.

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