Thursday, September 27, 2012
Slovakia police begin investigation of accused Nazi from Hungary
Rebecca DiLeonardo

Police in Slovakia announced on Thursday that they have launched an investigation of a 97-year-old Hungarian man suspected of war crimes in connection with the Holocaust. Laszlo Csatary was arrested in Hungary in July on allegations of abusing and helping deport thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. The Hungarian man was arrested after the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) [advocacy website], a Jewish human rights organization committed to finding and prosecuting Holocaust war criminals, submitted new evidence[JURIST report] to the Budapest prosecutor's office detailing the war crimes allegedly committed by Ladislaus Csizsik-Csatary, a former senior Hungarian police officer in the Slovakian city of Kosice. The evidence submitted to Prosecutor Dr. Gabor Hetenyi alleged that Csatary was one of the main actors responsible for deporting 300 Jews from Kosice to Kamenetz-Podolsk in Ukraine, where they were killed in 1941. The SWC also accused Csatary of being responsible for transferring about 15,700 Jews to Auschwitz[JURIST news archive]. Slovakian authorities announced in July that they would seek extradition of Csatary[JURIST report]. A court in Czechoslovakia sentenced Csatary to death in absentia in 1948, but the country subsequently abolished the death penalty before dividing into Slovakia and the Czech Republic. If convicted in Slovakia, Csatary would likely face life in prison [AFP report].

In July Hungarian prosecutors charged Csatary [JURIST report] with the "unlawful torture of human beings," a war crime that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Csatary was at the top of the SWC's list of most wanted Nazi war criminals [BBC backgrounder], and the SWC had already called on the Hungarian government to prosecute the Nazi war criminal [JURIST report] when the center issued its annual report in April. Nazi prosecution continues regardless of the ages of the criminals. In January the Ingolstadt Prosecutor's Office [official website, in German] filed a motion [JURIST report] to jail Klaas Faber, a Dutch native who fled to Germany after being convicted in the Netherlands in 1947 of Nazi war crimes. Germanyreopened investigations into former Nazi death camp guards in October, which stemmed from theconviction of John Demjanjuk [JURIST reports], a former guard at a camp in Poland who was deported to Germany to stand trial for his alleged Nazi crimes. Last September alleged Nazi Sandor Kepiro died while he awaited an appeal [JURIST report] on his acquittal on war crimes charges.