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.