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Christian Democrats Offered ‘compromise’ Solution on Statute of Limitations

The parliamentary bloc of the Christian Democratic Union, Senior partner in the West German Government coalition, debating the question of abolition or prolongation of the statute of limitations on war crimes involving murder and crimes against humanity, was offered a “compromise” solution today. It appeared that the bloc might be able to reach agreement on the new proposal within the next two weeks.

Under existing law, investigation and prosecution of Nazi war crimes and crimes against humanity can be initiated only until Dec. 31 after which date no legal action can be taken against persons who had not been previously charged. The government is under pressure to cancel the statute of limitations or at least to defer it once again.

The new proposal being weighed by the Christian Democrats is that the statute should be deferred or cancelled only in cases involving the actual commission of murder. Cases involving “desk Nazis”–those who gave the order to kill Jews and others considered enemies of the Nazi regime but who did not actually participate in the killings–would come under the statute of limitations and would not be subject to prosecution after Dec. 31st.

There were no indications about the possible reaction to this proposal by the Social Democrats whose votes would be necessary for the adoption of new legislation.

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