Wiesenthal Center Annual Report on Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals Singles Out Romania for Criticism

The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Annual Status Report on the worldwide investigation and prosecution of Nazi war criminals has singled out Romania for special criticism for its failure to take practical measures to investigate Nazi war criminals and its refusal to cancel the pardons issued to convicted Romanian Holocaust perpetrators Gheorghe Petrescu and Radu Dinelescu.

In a statement issued today in Jerusalem by the Center’s chief Nazi-hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff, who is the author of the report, the Center clarified that it was extremely distressed by the total lack of initiative exhibited by the Romanian judicial authorities in bringing local Nazi war criminals to justice and was particularly disappointed by the refusal of the same authorities to accede to the Wiesenthal Center’s appeal-submitted in early January 2004 to Attorney-General Dr.Ilie Botos-to cancel the pardons granted several years previously to convicted Nazi war criminals Colonel Gheorghe Petrescu and Colonel Radu Dinulescu.

According to Zuroff:
“Ever since democracy was restored in Romania, there has not been a single initiative to investigate, let alone prosecute, any of the numerous unprosecuted Romanians who actively participated in the crimes of the Holocaust. On the contrary, war criminals like Petrescu and Dinulescu who had been justifiably convicted for the critical role they played in the mass murder of Jews in Bessarabia and Bukovina during the summer and fall of 1941, were inexplicably granted pardons, which the government has refused to cancel. This lack of initiative to bring those guilty of Holocaust crimes to justice is of particular concern, as the Wiesenthal Center prepares to submit the names of the suspected Romanian criminals which it has obtained in the framework of “Operation: Last Chance,” to the pertinent Romanian authorities with a call for their immediate investigation and, if possible, legal action.”

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