Germany appeals court rules trial of accused Nazi guard can proceed

[JURIST] The Federal Constitutional Court of Germany [official website, in German] rejected appeals by alleged Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk [NNDB profile, JURIST news archive] on Wednesday, setting the stage for his trial to begin next month. The rejected appeals [AP report] were filed in regards to Demjanjuk's health issues and the decision to keep him in custody. The decision upholds an earlier determination by the Munich Regional Court that he is fit to stand trial [JURIST report]. Demjanjuk faces 27,900 accessory counts stemming from his alleged involvement as a guard at the Sobibor [Death Camps backgrounder] concentration camp. The former Ohio resident was deported by the US in May after exhausting his appeals and after the German courts rejected his bid to block extradition [JURIST reports]. The court's decision that the trial may proceed is final and cannot be appealed.

In similar proceedings, Spanish judge Ismeal Moreno issued arrest warrants [JURIST report] last month for US residents Johann Leprich and Anton Tittjung and Austrian resident Josias Kumpf who are accused of being former Nazi guards. Demjanjuk is considered a fourth suspect in the case, but prosecutors in that case did not seek a warrant for his arrest in light of the German proceedings. A Spanish prosecutor asked in May that arrest warrants be issued [JURIST report] under Spain's universal jurisdiction [AI backgrounder] doctrine, which gives Spain jurisdiction over foreign torture, terrorism, and war crimes only if the case is not subject to the legal system of the country involved. The warrants were issued for the alleged torture and disappearance [El Pais report, in Spanish] of more than 4,300 Spaniards at the Mauthausen, Sachsenhausen, and Flossenburg concentration camps.

 

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