Tuesday, February 15, 2011

War crimes charges against Sandor Kepiro

From WJC, 15 February 2011:

In Budapest, a 97-year-old man was charged ...for allegedly committing war crimes during World War II. According to the charge sheet, Sandor Kepiro was complicit in the execution of four innocent civilians in Novi Sad, Serbia, between 21 and 23 January 1942, as the commander of a patrol... An estimated 1,200 civilians suspected of aiding local resistance fighters – many of them Jews and Roma – were rounded up and taken to the bank of the Danube to be killed. The victims, some still alive, had their bodies thrown under the ice of the frozen river. The Hungarian forces then shot into the ice to break it up. Most of the victims drowned. Kepiro's patrol was allegedly also responsible for the deportation in a truck of 30 people who were later executed, and for the killing of two brothers who tried to escape, bringing the number of victims to 36.

"The prosecutor's office is not investigating the Novi Sad Massacre in its entirety but only the actions of the suspect," the spokeswoman told AFP, noting that some 200 patrols, each made up of 10 to 12 people, had taken part in the mass killings, with only one under Kepiro's command...

Kepiro was convicted in 1944 and 1946 by a Hungarian court, but was never jailed and denied all the allegations against him. In 1996, he returned to Hungary after decades in hiding in Argentina. The case was reopened after a researcher of the Simon Wiesenthal Center discovered his whereabouts in 2006.  ...In 2008, Serbia's war crimes prosecutor called for a formal investigation into Kepiro's actions, estimating that he had "consciously and willingly taken part... in the murder of at least 2,000 Jews and Serbs" in Novi Sad...
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