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Bonn Minister Foresees Abolition of Time Limit in Prosecuting Nazis

Gustave Heinemann, West German Justice Minister, said in a radio interview today that the abolition of West Germany’s statute of limitations for prosecution of charges of murder and genocide might be possible. He cited the draft Convention discussed this month at the session of the Human Rights Commission calling for abolition of all such deadlines on prosecution of major Nazi war criminals.

The commission was unable to agree on some legal aspects of the draft and decided to refer the matter to the next session of the United Nations General Assembly for a final decision. The present German law sets December 31, 1969, as the deadline for prosecution of major war criminals.

The Justice Minister also reported that, since 1945, investigations into Nazi war crimes had been made against 74,000 suspects in West Germany. He said sentences were implemented in 6,179 cases, and investigations were continuing against 20,030 suspects. He criticized East European countries which possess material about former Nazis which they have refused to hand over to West German courts.

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