Convicted War Criminal Loses His Appeal Against a Prison Sentence

Pieter Menten, a convicted Nazi war criminal, has lost his appeal to the European Human Rights Commission in Strasbourg to intervene against the 10-year prison sentence given him by a Rotterdam district court in July, 1980. The court also fined him 100,000 Guilders.

Menten, 82, was found guilty of complicity in the murders of 30 persons, mostly Jews, in the village of Podhorodze in eastern Galicia in June, 1941 where he served with the SS. He appealed to the Strasbourg court on grounds that his trial was conducted in contravention of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights. The panel ruled that it was not authorized to hear his complaint and in effect rejected it.

That decision ended the appeal process for the Dutch born Nazi collaborator who was once an art dealer and was described as a multi-millionaire. His arrest in 1977 marked the beginning of one of the longest and most complicated war crimes prosecutions ever held in Holland. In December, 1977, Menten was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment by an Amsterdam district court. He claimed immunity, however, on grounds that the Netherlands Justice Minister had promised in 1952 that Menten would not be prosecuted for his wartime activities.

Although the minister, long since deceased, could not confirm this. The Hague district court quashed the sentence. The public prosecutor appealed that decision and Menten was brought to trial a second time in Rotterdam and convicted again.

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