Friday, December 12, 2008

Simon Wiesenthal Center urges more political will in bringing Nazi war criminals to justice

From The Star Tribune, Minnesotta, by VERONIKA OLEKSYN, Associated Press, December 11:

VIENNA, Austria - Australia, Hungary and Lithuania are failing to investigate and prosecute suspected Nazi war criminals largely due to a lack of political will, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said Thursday.

The Nazi-hunting group said the same holds true for Croatia, Estonia, Latvia and Ukraine, adding all countries in question face no legal obstacles in bringing suspects to justice.

The findings were published in the center's annual report, which graded the investigation and prosecution efforts of countries around the world between April 2007 and March 2008.

"In analyzing the results presented in this report, the critical importance of political will in bringing Nazi war criminals to justice is increasingly evident," wrote Efraim Zuroff, the center's chief Nazi hunter.

However, he lauded the success achieved by U.S. prosecution agencies, saying they should serve as a catalyst for governments around the world.

Australia was given the worst possible mark — an "F-2"_ for its continued failure to extradite Nazi collaborator Charles Zentai, an Australian citizen accused of killing a Jewish teenager in Hungary during World War II.

The report said Australia admitted at least several hundred Nazi war criminals and collaborators but has failed to take successful legal action against a single one.

In August, an Australian judge found that Zentai's case and circumstances met the requirements of the Australian Extradition Act and the Extradition Treaty between Australia and the Republic of Hungary. Lawyers for Zentai said at the time they would appeal the ruling....

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