Court: 'Ivan the Terrible' can be tried in Germany
A former death camp guard known as "Ivan the Terrible" can be tried in Germany for his alleged role in murdering at least 29,000 Jews during World War II, a federal court said Thursday.
Ukrainian-born Ivan Demjanjuk, who changed his first name to John after emigrating to the United States in 1952, was extradited to Israel in 1986 and sentenced to death two years later. But the conviction was overturned for lack of evidence by Israel's Supreme Court in 1993 and Demjanjuk returned to the United States where he was stripped of US citizenship for having lied about his wartime activities.
Prosecutors in Germany's southern city of Munich last month declined to bring new charges against the 88-year-old, saying they had no jurisdiction over Demjanjuk although he lived near the city before emigrating to the United States.
But Germany's Federal Court of Justice ruled on Tuesday that the Munich court may try him, though charges must still be brought by the state's prosecutor's office, it said in a statement.
"Demjanjuk, who is accused of involvement in the killing of at least 29,000 Jews in the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland in 1943, lived for several months in 1951 in a camp in the current jurisdiction of the court," the court explained in its ruling.