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Ex-Auschwitz guard sentenced to four years in prison

[JURIST] Germany's Lüneberg District Court [official website, in German] on Wednesday sentenced 94-year-old man dubbed the "accountant of Auschwitz" to four years in prison for his role in the killing of 300,000 people. Last week prosecutors asked [JURIST report] for three and a half years imprisonment for Oskar Gröening for his actions in serving as an accessory to murder in Auschwitz. During the trial, Gröening admitted feeling moral guilt [JURIST report] for his actions at Auschwitz, but said he left it to the court to determine his legal guilt. It is reported [Deutsche Welle report] that Judge Franz Kompisch found Gröening guilty of all the charges and believed that the sentence of four years was fair and just given his age. Gröening and his attorney have not decided whether they will appeal the sentence.

Despite the age of the accused, the Nazi crime investigation unit [official website, in German] is dedicated to prosecuting the few remaining living Nazi war criminals who have escaped justice. There are currently 11 other proceedings taking place against former Nazi officers on charges of accessory to murder. In December a German court threw out a case [JURIST report] against a former SS soldier who was accused of being involved in the largest massacre in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. In 2013 German prosecutors brought a 92-year-old former Nazi to trial whose case was subsequently dropped [JURIST reports] in January due to too many gaps in the evidence. January marked the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi death camp, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein [official profile] stated [JURIST report] that the world is still haunted by the tragic events of the Holocaust and continued discrimination.

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