Israel Expert Says Statute on War Crimes Extends to 1976
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Israel Expert Says Statute on War Crimes Extends to 1976

The West German statute of limitations on prosecuting major war criminals, until now presumed to expire May 8 will really expire only in 1976, it was said here today by Dr. Aryeh Kubovy, director of Yad Vashem, the Israeli center for documentation on the Nazi holocaust.

Dr. Kubovy based his statement on an interpretation of the West German law. The presumed expiration of the statute has been dated as May 8, 1965, which is 20 years since the official end of World War II. However, Dr. Kubovy said, the West German Government could not conduct its own trials until it formally regained state sovereignty, which was in 1956. For that reason, he said, the statute will not really expire until 1976.

He notes that East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Poland and the Soviet Union had abolished similar statutes of limitation for Nazi crimes, and warned West Germany that, by not doing likewise, was taking the path to “moral isolation.”

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