Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Australian High Court decision on extradition of Charles Zentai

15 August 2012:
The President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Dr Danny Lamm, said today:

“The High Court’s decision today means that Charles Zentai will not be extradited to Hungary. This is a sad day for the family of Peter Balazs and those who wish Zentai to face his accusers. Zentai himself initially said that he was anxious to return to Hungary to clear his name, but that line was quickly abandoned.”
“The violent death of the young boy Peter Balazs in Hungary in 1944 was completely unrelated to any military operations which were then under way. The alleged conduct therefore constituted not only a war crime but also murder. Most civilized countries, including Australia, do not place a legal time limit on bringing murder charges.”
“From the reasoning of the majority of the judges of the High Court it appears that if the offence in relation to which extradition was sought had been specified by the Hungarian government as “murder” rather than solely as a “war crime”, Zentai would not have been able to resist extradition. The decision of the High Court will of course be respected and adhered to even though to many people it will seem like the triumph of narrow formal legalism over substantive justice.”
“Although the Australian Jewish community has not been involved in the proceedings, it has the highest proportion of Holocaust survivors of any community outside of Israel. We appreciate the efforts made by successive Attorneys General and their Department....”
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