12 March 2009
12 March 2009
"German authorities must ensure that Nazi war criminals are brought to justice"
The World Jewish Congress (WJC) supports the request by German prosecutors for the extradition of the suspected Nazi war criminal Ivan Demjanjuk from the United States to Germany, where he is to stand trial. On Wednesday, Munich prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Demjanjuk and requested his extradition. On Thursday, WJC President Ronald S. Lauder called on the Federal Justice Ministry in Berlin to grant the request and ask United States government for Demjanjuk to be handed over to German authorities.
Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk, 88, has lived in the United States since 1950. Alleged to be 'Ivan the Terrible', he has been charged with 29,000 counts of accessory to murder Jews in the Sobibor Nazi death camp during World War II.
"After much hesitation and a federal court ruling, the prosecutor's office in Munich has built a strong case against Demjanjuk and gathered compelling evidence, including the fact that his identification card as Nazi camp guard was not a forgery," Lauder pointed out, adding: "Too much time has passed, and one would hope that the court will soon be able to commence the trial. The allegations against Demjanjuk are horrendous. Germany has a particular responsibility in ensuring that Nazi war criminals are being brought to justice, irrespective of their age. The victims of the Holocaust and their families deserve that justice is done, and seen to be done. Therefore, we expect the German government to
The WJC president stated: "American courts already revoked Demjanjuk's US citizenship twice because he was found lying about, and concealing, his service in Nazi death camps. I hope that he will now be extradited to Germany and stand trial there." Lauder welcomed that the US Departments of State and Justice had offered full cooperation with Germany on this matter.
The World Jewish Congress is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 92 countries. Founded in Geneva in 1936, the WJC serves as the diplomatic arm of the Jewish people to governments and international organizations.
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