BONN (Feb. 25)
The highest court in West Germany, the Bundesver fassungsgericht in Karlsruhe, has promised “to decide within this year” whether to bring three Nazi war criminals to trial. The promise was made in reply to a letter from the international Committee of Former Concentration Comp Inmates in Vienna who have demanded justice for Ernst Boje Ehlers, Constantin Canaris and Kurt Asche.
All were high-ranking members of the Nazi SS and SD held responsible for mass murders in Belgium and northern France during World War II. They were charged with war crimes on Feb.26. 1975. The court in Flensburg refused to open the case but the high court of Schleswig-Holstein ordered proceedings to begin on March 1, 1977.
The accused filed a complaint with the Karlsruhe eourt claiming infringement of their human rights. The court responded to the Vienna group in a letter dated Feb. 7, 1979. The Vienna committee wrote again on Feb. 14 asking for an earlier decision inasmuch as the crimes of which the three men were accused have gone unpunished for 35 years and the defendants, all near 70 years of age, may escape justice.