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Poland May End Nazi War Crimes Trials

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Poland has indicated that it may soon stop initiating new investigations into Nazi war crimes because of increasing procedural difficulties. Polish officials also favor a statute of limitations on war crime prosecutions beginning in 1979, according to Dr. Hans-Joachim Seeler, a Social Democrat Senator from Hamburg who just returned from a visit to Poland. He said he agreed.

Seeler met with the Polish Minister of Justice, Prof. Jerzy Bafia and with Dr. Czeslaw Pilichowski, head of the Nazi war crimes investigation committee in Poland. He said the latter suggested that no new investigations be initiated. He said the current Nazi war crime trials will have ended “by the next decade at the latest.”

After that, trials would be “impossible” Seeler said because of memory lapses and the advanced age of the accused. Seeler defended immunity after 1979 on grounds that the major Nazi crimes have been adjudicated by the courts and “I do not believes there are still any completely unknown areas.”

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