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Knesset Passes Legislation Enabling German Lawyer to Defend Eichmann

The Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, today approved the final reading of an amendment to the Advocates Ordinance which will enable the Minister of Justice to formally approve the appointment of Cologne attorney Robert Servatius as the defense lawyer for Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi war criminal due to go on trial March 6 for his part in the mass killing of Europe’s 6,000,000 Jews.

Under the Advocates Ordinance, only members of the Israeli Bar were permitted to appear before an Israeli court. The amendment authorizes a non-citizen of Israel to appoint–with the approval of the Minister of Justice–a defense counsel who is not an Israeli lawyer.

The amendment was passed without debate by agreement among all parties in order to avoid discussion which would inevitably involve both the entire issue of the Nazi holocaust and the Eichmann case which is pending before the court. The final version of the amendment, however, includes a provision authorizing the Minister of Justice to cancel–with the court’s approval–the appointment of a non-Israeli defense attorney even during the trial, should “special circumstances arise.”

The provision is believed to be aimed at providing the means of preventing the non-Israeli defense attorney, who is not bound by the rules of conduct of the Bar Association, from engaging under immunity, in anti-Israel or even anti-Semitic discourses.

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