House Gets Resolution Urging Bonn to Extend Period for War Crimes Prosecution

A member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee introduced a House-Senate concurrent resolution today calling on the West German Government to extend the period before the statute of limitations on Nazi war crimes goes into effect. Rep. William Broomfield, Michigan Republican, noted that the initiation of new cases against Nazi war criminals will cease when the statute of limitations becomes effective at the end of next year. He also noted that the Bundestag, West Germany’s lower house, his passed a resolution calling on the Bonn Government to report to it on the issue of setting back the statute of limitations on Nazi war crimes.

His resolution, which provides for Senate concurrence, would tell Bonn that the U.S. Congress urges “such steps as may be necessary” to extend the period of time for prosecution of criminals of the Hitler era. “Nazi criminals still at large must not he permitted to escape punishment,” the Congressman said.

The statute of limitations, scheduled to go into effect after Dec. 31, 1969, applies to war crimes involving murder. There Is already a statute of limitations in effect that bars the prosecution of Nazis accused of lesser crimes. The outright abolition of the statute of limitations has been proposed by prominent Germans and by many leaders outside of Germany. But the major German political parties appear to be opposed to such a step and to any further extension of the period in which war crimes prosecutions may be undertaken.

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