Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

AIJAC welcomes decision on accused Nazi war criminal

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23 April 2008

Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein today welcomed the High Court decision to allow extradition proceedings against suspected Nazi war criminal Charles Zentai to proceed.

Dr Rubenstein said, “Mr Zentai has been charged with very serious crimes by Hungarian authorities. He is alleged to have tortured and murdered an 18 year old Jew, Peter Balasz, simply because he was not wearing his yellow star. Hungary is, like Australia, a democratic state governed by the rule of law, and would not seek extradition without sufficient grounds. A trial there will give Mr Zentai the chance to clear his name”

Dr Rubenstein went on to comment on arguments that it was too late to act now, due to the length of time since the alleged offences, and Mr Zentai’s age. “Age is no barrier to the pursuit of justice. There is no statute of limitations on murder, and especially for participation in genocide, and our sympathies should be with the victims and their families,” he said.

“Earlier this year, 83 year old Michael Seifert was extradited from Canada to Italy having been convicted in absentia of war crimes, while a German prosecutor has just announced he will commence legal proceedings against 86 year old Heinrich Boere for allegedly shooting dead three unarmed Dutch civilians. By continuing with legal action, the civilised world shows that there is absolutely no tolerance for these heinous crimes, and that they will never be forgotten. ”

“We hope to see justice expeditiously served in this case as soon as possible,” Dr Rubenstein concluded.

For enquiries, call Dr Colin Rubenstein on (03) 9681 6660

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