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August 23, 1991 - Image 26

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-08-23

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Sidney, Australia (JTA) —
The Australian High Court
narrowly upheld the
government's war-crimes
legislation clearing the way
for trials against alleged
Nazi war criminals.
The full seven-member
bench of the High Court,
which sits in Canberra,
heard an appeal by lawyers
for Ivan Polyukhovich, the
only person charged under
Australia's war-crimes
Chief Justice Anthony
Mason pointed to Australia's
Paternal Affairs Powers sec-
tion of the Constitution,
which permits Australia to
be involved in legislation
based on the country's par-
ticipation in World War II.
Thus, reasoned the court,
conduct outside of
Australia's territory may be
judged and Parliament may
pass judgments as to what
Australia's legitimate inter-
ests are.
Australia's second-most
senior judge, Justice Gerard
Brennan, supported the ap-
peal against the war-crimes
legislation, saying that
"criminal laws should not
operate retrospectively."
The War Crimes Amend-
ment Act has been con-
troversial since it was pass-
ed by Parliament in
December 1988.
Passage of the act followed
a long campaign by the Ex-
ecutive Council of
Australian Jews to amend
Australian law so that Nazi
war criminals found living
in Australia could be
brought to justice.
Canada adopted a similar
act in 1987 and Britain
finally passed- its own ver-
sion of the law this year.
Mr. Polyukhovich will
stand trial in Adelaide.
David Stokes, the lawyer
representing Mr.
Polyukhovich, refused to
comment on his client's
fitness to stand trial. Ques-
tions have been raised con-
cerning his physical
strength and mental state,
following a series of in-
cidents which police believe
were attempts by the defen-
dant to take his own life.
Mr. Polyukhovich, 74, a
resident of Adelaide, was
formally charged in January
by the director of public
prosecutions with complicity
in the murders of more than
850 people in the Nazi- oc-
cupied Ukraine from 1941 to
He is alleged to have been

"knowingly concerned" in
the murders of Jews in the
Serniki Ghetto and the
murders of 24 other people,
including five children from
the villages of Serniki,
Alexandrove and Brodnitsa.
He has denied any in-
volvement in the crimes.
Mr. Stokes said he believes
there will now almost cer-
tainly be charges against
other alleged war criminals.
Government sources in-
dicate there could be as
many as six additional ar-
rests of alleged Nazi war
criminals made this year.

Growth Of
Hits Germany

Bonn (JTA) — The German
government has promised to
beef up its internal security
machinery in eastern Ger-
many to keep violence-prone
neo-Nazis under tight sur-
veillance and deal with their
propaganda and other ac-
Interior Minister
Wolfgang Schaueble, speak-
ing at a news conference, ex-
pressed grave concern over
the sharp increase in the
membership of neo-Nazi
groups in what was formerly
East Germany. But he could
not confirm news reports
that their strength there has
reached 15,000.
On Aug. 19, 100 neo-Nazis
were arrested in the
Bavarian towns -of Wun-
siedel and Bayreuth, where
they marked the fourth an-
niversary of the death of
Rudolf Hess, Hitler's one-
time deputy.
Despite the presence of
police and other security
agencies poised to crack
down on possible extremist
violence in the small
Bavarian town, dozens of
neo-Nazis defied a court-
ordered ban and demon-
strated near the town's
cemetery, where Hess is
A bigger demonstration
took place in the nearby
town of Bayreuth, the center
of a yearly music festival
dedicated to composer
Richard Wagner, an
ultranationalist and anti-
A much larger
counterdemonstration was
held by more than 2,000 left-
wing protesters. Police
managed to separate the two
groups, and no violent
clashes were reported.

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