PARIS (Jan. 7)
Judge Christian Riss, the investigating magistrate compiling evidence to try Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, completed his file Saturday and passed it on to the public prosecutor’s office which will decide what formal charges will be brought against Barbie and when his trial will begin.
According to court sources, the trial could be held before the end of this year. The sources said Riss dropped five of eight possible charges against Barbie because of insufficient evidence or because they are covered by the statute of limitations.
The three charges retained and passed on to the public prosecutor concern the 1943 deportation to death camps of 90 members of the Union of French Jews in Lyon where Barbie was gestapo chief; the deportation of 650 people whom he forced to board the last train to leave Lyon for the death camps before the end of the war; and the deportation of 52 Jewish children and two teachers from a children’s home in the town of Izieu.
Riss’ investigation took 33 months to complete. He interviewed hundreds of witnesses during that time. Barbie, 71, has been confined to the same prison in Lyon where he and his henchmen once interrogated and tortured their victims. He has been there since February, 1983.
Barbie, who had lived in Bolivia for 30 years under the alias Klaus Altmann, was expelled from that country in January, 1983 and handed over to French authorities. He was imprisoned for crimes against humanity. The public prosecutor will draw up the specific charges for which he will be indicted.