Journal Article

Paying the Debts — Late Nazi Trials before German Courts

Sabine Swoboda

in Journal of International Criminal Justice

Volume 9, issue 1, pages 243-269
Published in print March 2011 | ISSN: 1478-1387
Published online December 2010 | e-ISSN: 1478-1395 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jicj/mqq078
Paying the Debts — Late Nazi Trials before German Courts

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A number of late trials of former Nazi perpetrators have aroused attention in Germany. More than six decades after the war, the German judiciary seems determined to bring to justice all those aged Nazi criminals who have been able to live their lives undisturbed for over 60 years. However, in the case of Heinrich Boere, a former member of a Dutch death squad which performed retaliatory assassinations on Dutch civilians under the auspices of the German ‘Sicherheitsdienst’ in the Netherlands, the European project to create a single legal area of Freedom, Security and Justice suddenly seemed to defeat the German efforts to bring belated justice to the victims and their families. As Boere had already been convicted of the murder of three civilians in the Netherlands, Article 50 of the European Union (EU) Charter of Fundamental Rights now barred a new trial for the same acts in Germany. The Court resolved the dilemma by arguing that Article 50 of the EU Charter must be understood within the concrete terms of Article 54 of the Convention Implementing the Schengen Agreement. Since the Dutch judgement had never been enforced, but was still enforceable in the Netherlands, new prosecutions should not be barred. This solution, however, raises many questions. It seems that the Court simply wanted to bring the proceedings to a close before the accused dies.

Journal Article.  13569 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law ; International Law

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