January 13, 2011
Jerusalem – The Simon Wiesenthal Center today officially released its 2010 Annual Status Report on the worldwide investigation and prosecution of Nazi war criminals, which covers the period from April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010.
Among the highlights of the report are:
1. a dramatic increase of over 300% in the number of indictments filed from five to twenty-one, the highest figure in the past decade;
2. a remarkable increase in the number of new investigations opened from three hundred and fifteen to four hundred and fifty-six, with Germany more than tripling the number of new cases initiated;
3. a significant increase in the number of ongoing investigations from seven hundred and six to eight hundred and fifty two, with Germany increasing its figure almost six-fold.
4. For the first time ever, Germany received the highest grade possible, a result of the expansion of its prosecution policy which yielded two convictions, three indictments, one hundred and thirty new cases and one hundred seventy-seven ongoing cases.
5. The continued lack of political will to prosecute Nazi war criminals in numerous countries which continues to be the major obstacle to the prosecution of Holocaust perpetrators.
6. Dr. Sandor Kepiro of Hungary heads the report’s Most Wanted List. He was among the officers who carried out a massacre of at least 1,250 residents of the city of Novi-Sad, Serbia on January 23, 1942. Hungary’s failure to bring him to trial more than three years after it began an investigation against him is the reason for the failing grade it received this year.
The author of the report, the Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, emphasized that the report’s findings clearly indicate that it is still possible to bring Nazi war criminals to justice and pointed to its role in informing the public of the actions, or lack thereof, of all the countries which should be actively dealing with this issue.
According to Zuroff:
“The passage of time in no way diminishes the guilt of the killers and old age should not afford protection to those who committed such heinous crimes. In addition, we must remember our obligation to the Nazis’ victims to try and find the perpetrators and hold them accountable for their crimes. This report clearly demonstrates that it is still possible, even at this late date, to fulfill that mission in a meaningful manner.”
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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).