Supreme Court wants to include the Butcher of Mauthausen in lawsuit
THE Supreme Court is to investigate four alleged former Nazis over the deaths of Spaniards in concentration camps during World War II.
Judges at the Supreme Court in Madrid back a petition by human-rights group Equipo Nizkor and the surviving family members of six Spanish nationals, who died in concentration camps.
It seeks to extradite and try the four, who all now live in the United States.
The legal action names the alleged war criminals as Johann Leprich, Anton Titjung, Josias Kumpf and Ivan Demjanjuk. It claims they were members of the SS Totenkopf division all were guards at the Mauthausen, Sachsenhausen and Flossenbürg concentration camps.
An estimated 10,000 Spaniards, who had fled General Franco’s dictatorship at home, were kept at these camps – with around 5,000 losing their life.
Equipo Nizkor wants the four, who allegedly lied about their Nazi past on their entry papers to the US, to be tried for genocide and crimes against humanity.
Madrid, however, wants to extend the petition to include a fifth name: Austrian doctor Aribert Heim. This follows claims that Heim – known as the Butcher of Mauthausen – is in hiding in Chile.
Heim, who is responsible for conducting vicious experiments on inmates in the concentration camp, was tracked to the South American country by Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff.
The Butcher of Mauthausen, now aged 92, is the most wanted Nazi in the world. He vanished as he was due on trial in Germany in 1962, but was later found living in Alicante.
He fled Europe ten years ago as German authorities sought his extradition from Spain.
The Equipo Nizkor lawsuit has been presented under Spain’s principle of universal jurisdiction. This states that war crimes, crimes against humanity, terrorism and torture can be prosecuted here even if they have been committed abroad.
Spanish judges have used this to go after the late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.