Response By Dr. Efraim Zuroff, Chief Nazi Hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center to Recent Death of Croatian Nazi War Criminal Milivoj Ašner in Austria

June 20, 2011

“The recent death of Milivoj Ašner in Austria unprosecuted for his crimes, is a travesty of justice which reinforces the total failure of the Austrian judicial authorities to adequately deal with the issue of Nazi war criminals during the past more than three decades.

“Ašner’s role in the persecution and death of hundreds of Serb, Jewish, and Roma residents of the city of Požega, Croatia in his capacity as local Ustasha  police chief was critical and his criminal responsibility for their tragic fate is absolutely clear.

“To Croatia’s credit, they asked for his extradition from Austria in 2005, but Ašner was able to escape justice due to faulty handling of his case by the Austrian authorities, who instead of doing everything possible to bring him to justice allowed sympathetic doctors to prevent his prosecution by declaring him unfit for trial, although he gave numerous media interviews in which he described his past in a very lucid manner.

“On this occasion it is important to reiterate the critical role of political will in bringing Holocaust perpetrators to justice and to call upon all the countries which face this issue to make an urgent final effort to bring these murderers to justice before it is too late to do so.”

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).