[JURIST] A Serbian court on Thursday politically rehabilitated a World War II royalist executed nearly 70 years ago on convictions of collaborating with Nazis. Serbian nationalist Dragoljub “Draza” Mihailovic was an officer of the royal army when the Nazis invaded. Mihailovic allegedly began collaborating with the invaders and joined with them against their common enemy, communist Josip Broz Tito [NYT backgrounder]. After Tito prevailed over them in 1946, Mihailovic was convicted of collaboration with Nazis and committing war crimes. He was secretly executed and buried in an unknown location. In 2010 Mihailovic’s grandson petitioned the courts to rehabilitate him, claiming that his grandfather had actually been fighting both Nazis and communists while waiting for Allies to rise up against the Germans. The judge agreed [Reuters report], finding that the case against Mihailovic was politically motivated. The neighboring country of Croatia call the ruling an outrage.
Nazis and their supporters have continued to be prosecuted regardless of their age. In February a German court said that a 93-year-old man dubbed the “accountant of Auschwitz” will stand trial [JURIST report] on charges that he was an accessory to the killing of 300,000 people. 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 June US officials arrested [JURIST report] 89-year-old Johann Breyer on charges that he was a Nazi SS guard at Auschwitz and Buchenwald during World War II. In January 2014 a judge for Germany’s Hagen State Court dropped the case [JURIST report] against 92-year-old Siert Bruins, a former member of the Nazi Waffen SS. Prosecutors had accused Bruins of executing captured Dutch Nazi-opposition fighter Aldert Klaas Dijkema in September 1944 outside the town of Appingedam.