Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

AIJAC regrets Zentai extradition decision, calls for review of other options to achieve justice in the case

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Media Release

August 15, 2012


The Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) today expressed extreme disappointment over the High Court's decision that accused Nazi war criminal Charles Zentai cannot be extradited to Hungary to face trial. It also called for the Federal Government to look at additional means for justice to be done for his alleged crimes.

Jeremy Jones, AIJAC's Director of International and Community Affairs, said "The decision that Charles Zentai cannot be extradited to Hungary to face judgment for alleged war crimes is extremely disappointing. It is a stain on Australia's moral standing and international reputation if our country serves as a place for fugitives rather than a place of refuge. It is now incumbent on Australian authorities to assess whether he can and should be charged under Australian legislation, which is designed to ensure that no person who participated in crimes against humanity can escape justice through immigration to Australia."

AIJAC Executive Director Colin Rubenstein added, "A number of federal governments have declared that they do not wish Australia to serve as a haven for individuals who stand accused of crimes against humanity. Sadly, despite considerable effort and commitment by successive governments over more than twenty years, it now appears that none of the hundreds of individuals who may have been part of the campaign of genocide by the Nazis and their allies who made their way to Australia will receive judicial judgment for the crimes they allegedly committed. Rather than let this be the final record of Australia's well-intended efforts, we call on the federal government to examine all potential avenues remaining for ensuring that Mr. Zentai is not allowed to escape judicial judgment for his alleged crimes. The passage of time must in no way be allowed to be seen as diminishing the guilt of any individual involved in the Nazis' murderous crimes against humanity."

For additional comment, please contact Jeremy Jones on 0411-536-436 or jjones@aijac.org.au.

 

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