Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today released the full text of its eleventh annual report on the worldwide investigation and prosecution of Nazi war criminals which covers the period from April 1, 2011 until March 31, 2012, in conjunction with the observance this coming Sunday, January 27 of International Holocaust Memorial Day. Of particular significance were the following developments:
- A fivefold increase in the number of convictions-from two in the previous report to ten (nine in Italy and one in Germany)-which brings the number of successful legal decisions against Nazi war criminals since January 1, 2001 to ninety-nine. The convictions were obtained in seven countries, with Italy (45) and the United States (39) recording the highest totals.
- As of April 1, 2012, at least 1,138 investigations were being carried in ten countries against Nazi war criminals, with the largest number being conducted in Germany (528), Poland (458) and the US (74).
- Two major trials of unique historical significance were concluded with opposite results. In May 2011, Ivan Demjanjuk was convicted in Germany of accessory to mass murder for his service as an armed SS guard at the Sobibor death camp. His conviction solely on the basis of his service in Sobibor is a legal precedent which significantly increases the likelihood of additional prosecutions of Holocaust perpetrators in the Federal Republic. In July 2011, in the first-ever trial of a local Nazi collaborator in Hungary since the transition to democracy, gendarmerie officer Sandor Kepiro was acquitted of war crimes charges in connection with his role as one of the organizers of the massacre of about 3,300 Serbs, Jews, and Roma in Novi Sad and its environs (occupied Yugoslavia) in January 1942.
- The entire report, which includes the grades given to 42 countries vis-à-vis their efforts or lack thereof to help bring Nazi war criminals to justice, is now online at: www.operationlastchance.org
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