July 17th, 2012

Hungarian prosecutor downplays reports on alleged top WWII war crimes suspect amid calls for trial by opposition, French authorities

British tabloid The Sun’s recent report on Hungarian WWII war-crime suspect Laszlo Csatary contains no new evidence, Budapest’s chief prosecutor’s office told MTI in a statement on Monday.

Earlier in the day, the opposition Socialist Party urged Csatary’s detention and indictment.

French Foreign Affairs Spokesman Bernard Valero also said on Monday that the suspected war criminal should be held to account. “Nazi crimes are imperishable. Nazi criminals, wherever they may be living, should answer for their actions in court,” Valero said. “It is up to the Hungarian authorities to take appropriate action,” he added.

The prosecutor’s statement pointed to the fact that conducting an investigation into events that happened more than half a century ago in territories now belonging to another country is rather complicated. The prosecutors have analysed documents of criminal procedures created in Hungary and in Czechoslovakia, dated 1945-1948. They also intend to track down witnesses with international legal aid, the statement added.

The Sun, the largest circulation tabloid in Britain, carried in its July 15 edition a two-page report by investigative journalists from Budapest including photos on Csatary, 97, listed by the Jerusalem-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre as the world’s most-wanted Nazi war criminal.

In its statement, the Socialist Party said it welcomed the report, even if it showed that “investigative journalists of a British tabloid have been more successful in tracking down still living Nazi war criminals than the Hungarian prosecution.”

According to the Centre’s records, 95-year-old Csatary was police chief of a camp in Kassa, northern Hungary (now Kosice, Slovakia), in 1944 and is believed to have played a key role in the deportation of 15,700 Jews to the Auschwitz death camp. He emigrated to Canada after the war, but was stripped of his Canadian citizenship when his war-time activities came to light in 1995, the centre said earlier. Efraim Zuroff, the centre’s head, said earlier in an annual report that Csatary had been sighted in Hungary.

The Budapest Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into Csatary’s case last September, based on a report by Zuroff.

Zuroff, who in Budapest last week, said he had asked Hungarian authorities to speed up legal proceedings against Csatary, considering the man’s old age. In an interview to German news agency dpa on Monday, however, Zuroff voiced doubt concerning the commitment of Hungarian authorities, and suggested that there may be no political will in Hungary for Csatary’s indictment. Zuroff insisted that he had provided evidence to Hungary’s prosecutor back in 2006.

According to reports by news agencies on Sunday, the Wiesenthal Centre said it had provided “new evidence” about Csatary to Hungarian prosecutors. The centre’s director presented to prosecutor Gabor Hetenyi evidence on Csatary’s “key role” in the deportation of around 300 Jews to a camp in western Ukraine’s Kamyanets-Podilsky, where they had been killed in the summer of 1941, AP and AFP said.

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  • Oops I did it again

    I’m all for hanging guilty Nazis, but… what if they are mistaken, this is not the guilty guy, and at 97 years old, the stress will most likely kill him off.

  • nem baj

    What if Slovakia issues an European Arrest Warrant? After all, this is where the man was sentenced.

  • ricsi

    So what did he do wrong ???

    • http://www.allhungary.hu Erik D’Amato

      Helped kill thousands of people. Perhaps you hadn’t heard, but that is generally considered a bad thing.

    • spectator

      - Left you out?

      • Igazi Magyar

        Csatary sounds guilty of murdering Hungarian citizens. Murdering Hungarian citizens is a crime.

        • Neverland

          Murdering any citizens is a crime, but I think you’ll find someone is innocent until proven guilty. I don’t think you can judge based on a news report…

          • …justasking

            @Neverland,

            ‘I don’t think you can judge based on a news report…’

            Around here they do.

          • Anonymous

            Evidence was sufficient for Canada to nullify his citizenship. Justasking is so pathetic – always defending Hungarians no matter what the crime …

          • …justasking

            @ Anon…aka Ugly American in Budapest,

            ‘Evidence was sufficient for Canada to nullify his citizenship. Justasking is so pathetic…’

            Has that $ 500,000 pork-chop around your neck ever delivered friends your way? Nothing like an incentive…eh?

  • Elsbeth

    If this is not prosecuted, it will give the lie to the government’s statements that it is against anti-Semitism.

  • olga

    @ oops

    re: “and at 97 years old, the stress will most likely kill him off.”

    If he is guilty, let’s hope so. Ditto for Biszku

    The only good news is that there won’t be any more of these people to prosecute within a short time. I am going to assume they would need to pass some type of a mental health test showing they were capable of understanding the charges against them so while the lawyers and psychiatrist sort that out, there won’t be anyone to try.

    I am not making light of the horrific crimes perpetrated by the N*azis and the Communists and I believe it’s important for the survivors to have these people tried and hopefully convicted if they are guilty. The reality is that the odds are they will be dead or senile by the time these cases come to court so perhaps it’s time to stop the hunt, especially by a country that protected its own war criminal.

    As far as the daily lives of the J*ewish community in Hungary is concerned, I*srael is doing a good job of making their lives more difficult, just like the Muslim fanatics make the law abiding Muslims lives difficult all over the Western world.

    • Anonymous

      Olga,

      You are so pathetic. No matter how hard you try to hide, you Hungarians are just pathetic anti-semites at heart.

      Israel is irrelevant to Holocaust. Your reasoning is laughable.

      • Leto. مؤدّب

        @Obnoxious in Budapest:

        Well, you certainly give some very good reasons for people to be anti-J@wish… Anyway, despite your (or judas’) best efforts, I’ll continue to try to not overgeneralize what J@ws are like. It’s becoming more and more difficult though.

  • judas

    we will see how current hungarian authorities deal with this one. My guess they will not… There is no will nor wish to deal with nazi past.

    i am waiting for the diverting arguments:” yes but you jews and israelis did not proscecute Salomon Morel…

    and you did not take responsibility for col.Gaddafi, who had a jewish mother (as was discovered recently.

    and for Lenin etc etc.

    • Leto. مؤدّب

      Yeah, you “forgot” to say anything about Israel’s behaviour and arguments in Morel’s case. How unsurprising.

  • The Unknown Hinton..

    You know, it’s funny…I go to the House of Terrors, and it shows the number of hard core communist that are still alive after brutalizing and terrorizing Hungarian citizens during the communist times, yet here we are going after one 97 yr old alleged Nazi. If the evidence is there, that is great, but I find it surprising that right here in Hungary, there are hundreds if not thousands of communist who participated in putting down the 56 revolution and making life miserable. I forgot that word…what is that word called again for such a situation

    • Ma Jar

      To “The Unknown Hinton” – Very good post!

    • Cnut

      Specifically which hard-core communists are you thinking of to compare with being the police chief of a Jewish camp where they sent 15,700 Hungarians off to Auschwitz?

    • Neverland

      In a way you are right, but even in the west, Stalin is not viewed in nearly such a negative light as Hitler.

  • What about the 600,000?

    Hi folks,

    What about going after the 600,000 Hungarian civilians deported to Soviet gulags and camps (from 1945-1952)? This was against international law and since it started in 1945 while the war was on, it was a war crime.

    • Cnut

      Are the Russians who did it living in Budapest?

  • Liz Aucoin

    It is so interesting to see the comments “what about the communists?” Are you saying that because this guy is old, that he shouldn’t have to pay some sort of price? If you are against prosecuting Nazi’s then say so, but quit with the rediculous argument of … “well….. these people were bad too” just because you don’t have the guts to say what you really feel! The article is NOT about the communists, it is about prosecuting Nazi war criminals. Quit justifying their actions with “what about the communists”! They will get their day too!

    • Leto. مؤدّب

      “what about the communists”! They will get their day too!

      No, don’t say that. They die undisturbed. They only need to flee to the country of the zealot hunters of 100 year old National Socialists.

      -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salomon_Morel

      Okay, of course these Communist killers need to have the right pedigree, too.

  • olga

    @ Liz

    I hope that just like me , you do not have relatives or friends who were exterminated by either Stalin or H*itler.

    It’s not about comparing sheer evil but I wonder (and thankfully I will never know) if someone in my family was tortured and murdered by Communists, would I not resent that the very country that has done an excellent and admirable job of hunting down N+azi war criminals to prosecute for war crimes against their own, invoked the Statue of Limitations clause to protect a Communist criminal?

    re: \Quit justifying their actions with “what about the communists They will get their day too! \

    I assume that’s like rubbing salt in the wound for anyone reading your comment whose family member was exterminated under the Communists.

    • Anonymous

      Olga,

      Your comments are irrelevant diversions as usual. Canada stripped this guy of his citizenship. In other words, the evidence against the guy is overwhelming. What is shocking is that Hungarians always become defensive because they never want to admit that anyone other than a Communist did bad things here.

      Why don’t you just stop the irrelevant comments?

      • …justasking

        @Ugly American,

        ‘Canada stripped this guy of his citizenship. In other words, the evidence against the guy is overwhelming’

        If that was the case….why wasn’t he charged and put on trial back then? Why now?
        ————-

  • Smelly Weasel

    “There is no will nor wish to deal with nazi past.”

    Hope you’re correct on this one. Why should Hungarians take orders from a shady vigilante group?
    How long do we have to deal with the Jewish victims of a war that ended almost 70 years ago? Get over it already.
    No one cares about the millions of soldiers and civilians who died, injured and left with nothing, so why are Jews so special? They have done more than their fair share of their own despicable acts, but they always get away with it. Abba Kovner, who planned the mass murder of 6 million Germans after the war is still considered a hero in Israel. Members and leaders of terrorist organizations, like Mossad, IDF and the so called Nazi hunters never spent a day in prison for the murders and other crimes they commited. Keeping the shoah industry going gives Israel many financial and political advantages, they won’t ever stop, so it’s our duty to ignore their claims, and mind our ouwn failing business.

    • Anonymous

      Dude,

      Nearly half of world’s Jewish population was exterminated in WWII.

      Did 5 million Hungarians die or 35 million Germans or 50 million Americans?

      By the way any one who talks about a Holocaust industry is just a racist, which includes Leto and a couple of pseudo Canadian Hungarian housewives …

      • Leto. مؤدّب

        “any one who talks about a Holocaust industry is just a racist”

        Do you mean Normal Finkelstein, the inventor of the phrase, whose both parents were actual and real Holocaust survivors? :D :D (Unlike Holocaust industry magnates like Elie Wiesel)

        -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Finkelstein#The_Holocaust_Industry

        • Leto. مؤدّب

          Here is a recent interview with him: -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APQ5Lp8B7XA#!
          I highly recommend watching it.

  • nem baj

    So… There is no will to deal with nazi past. There is no will to deal with communist past.

    Welcome to goulash memory land, the happiest barracks in the camp of let’s do it again.

  • olga

    @ Anonymous. or Obnoxious or whomever:

    re: “Your comments are irrelevant diversions as usual. Canada stripped this guy of his citizenship. In other words, the evidence against the guy is overwhelming.”

    Duh, are you on smack or does your hatred for Hungarians prevent you from reading English when it comes to my postings?

    Canada stripped this guy of his citizenship and deported him because he was found to be as guilty as sin. I am fairly certain that Canada would have had no jurisdiction to prosecute him from a legal standpoint because the crimes did not take place here. Moreover, I am not in the habit of defending war criminals and murderers because that’s your MO, not mine.

    Here is the legal problem I see with Csatary : “The prosecutor’s statement pointed to the fact that conducting an investigation into events that happened more than half a century ago in territories now belonging to another country is rather complicated.” (I personally don’t see the problem with the time lapse, only with the jurisdiction)

    The Slovak authorities ought to ask for extradition just like Poland asked for Morel’s extradition but unfortunately I*srael refused. If the Hungarian protected Csatary when a request comes in for extradition by invoking the Statue or Limitation or mention his age, I would find the Hungarian government’s action as despicable as I*srael.

    BTW,the fact that I would never stand up for my country if I saw a grave injustice being done is what sets me apart from a racist odious jerk like you.

  • Viking

    “in territories now belonging to another country”

    Well, several European countries actually do apply national laws on universial jurisdiction:

    “Britain, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands, have created special war crimes units to conduct investigations across the globe”
    “Universal jurisdiction is the power of a national court to try genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity or torture – even if neither the suspect nor the victim are nationals of the country where the court is located, and the crime took place outside that country. It was most famously utilized in the 1998 arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet on torture charges in London at the request of a Spanish court”

    (-http://www.hrw.org/news/2006/06/28/europe-shrinking-safe-haven-war-criminals)

    So from an international point of view, nothing is stopping Hungary from performing this trial, if Hungary so wants

    • …justasking

      @Viking,

      ‘“Britain, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands, have created special war crimes units to conduct investigations across the globe”

      Was it this body that wanted Ariel Sharon charged with War Crimes for the murders he was responsible for in Lebanon, and I$rael refused to cooperate, simply dismissed the charge as simply bullshit?

      • …justasking

        sorry for the multiple ‘simply’ :)

      • Leto. مؤدّب

        Sharon was to be tried in Belgium for war crimes… but then …

        “Elie Hobeika, who was killed in a massive bomb attack at his house in the Beirut suburb of Hazmiyeh, was one of Lebanon’s most controversial figures. His death at the age of 45 comes at a time when he had agreed to testify against Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon in a war crimes trial that may be held later this year in a Brussels court. ”

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/jan/25/israelandthepalestinians.lebanon

        Subsequently the Belgians quickly changed their law in order to disallow such lawsuits when no Belgian citizen is involved.

      • Viking

        …justasking says:
        July 18, 2012 at 11:29 pm

        I$rael refused to cooperate, simply dismissed the charge as simply bullshit?

        Then this is different countries national courts and the two countries have no treaty that regulates those type of trials between them, the other country has all their right in the world to express what they think about it

        Remember, this was not an International Court, where countries have agreed to following their rulings and co-operate on investigations

        Isr*el had the same attitude to this National Court, as the US Administration have traditionally to any International Court, which the US has refused to co-operate with

        • Viking

          So, to draw parallels – If Csatary was a Slovak citizen, and not an Hungarian citizen, then Slovakia could protest against Hungary putting Csatary on trial in Budapest according to Hungarian law

          Because both Slovakia and Hungary have agreed in the framework of the EU and Council of Europe, to co-operate regarding legal matters/trials, it can be bit more complicated, but just look at Ireland. Ireland is refusing to hand-over the killer of two Hungarian small girls in Hungary, to Hungary for sentencing and Ireland seem to get away with it

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