Wiesenthal Center Urges Australian Justice Minister and Attorney-General to Take Necessary Action to Prevent “Operation: Last Chance” Suspect Charles Zentai From Eluding Justice

Canberra – The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter Dr. Efraim Zuroff met here today with Australian Justice Minister Chris Ellison and Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock in order to discuss the latest developments in the pending extradition of “Operation: Last Chance” suspect Charles Zentai to Hungary to stand trial for his World War II crimes, which was recently postponed for approximately five weeks on the legal technicality of dubious validity. In the meetings, Zuroff raised his concern that Zentai’s lawyers would seek any means available to prevent his extradition and effectively “abuse the legal system” to help him avoid being put on trial

Both Justice Minister Ellison and Attorney-General Ruddock clearly indicated that they would not allow the extradition to be prevented by unworthy delaying tactics. They assured Zuroff and Australia-Israel Jewish Affairs Committee director Dr. Colin Rubenstein, who accompanied him to the meetings, that the government viewed the prosecution or extradition of war criminals as an important objective and would take whatever steps were necessary to see to it that justice was achieved within the framework of Australian law.

After the meetings, Zuroff expressed cautious optimism that Zentai would indeed be extradited, noting that such a trial would not only be the first successful legal action taken by Australia against a Nazi war criminal resident in the country, but would also be the first trial of a Hungarian Nazi war criminal in Hungary since that country became a democracy.

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