West German Justice Minister Will Offer Bill to Abolition Statute of Limitations

Dr. Gustav Heinemann, West Germany’s Minister of Justice, has prepared a bill that would abolish the statute of limitations on Nazi war crimes which is due to go into effect at the end of 1969. At a press conference yesterday in connection with the United Nations Human Rights Year, Dr. Heinemann said it would be impossible to complete investigations in all outstanding cases before the deadline. The statute covers Nazis charged with murder and genocide. A statute of limitations already in effect bars prosecution for lesser crimes. Dr. Heinemann said that if his bill is passed by the Bundestag, the lower house, and the statute abolished, criminal trials would continue well into the 1970s.

Eight prosecutors from the Ludwigsburg Central Office for Nazi war crimes prosecution went to Moscow Monday to inspect documents relating to Nazi war criminals. The development was considered significant here since the Soviets have given German state prosecutors little cooperation in the past; it was believed to be the result of a meeting two months ago between Soviet Ambassador Sernyon Tsarapkin and West German Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger who reportedly complained of the lack of Soviet assistance in war crimes prosecutions.

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