Home Secretary Douglas Hurd refused to authorize a police inquiry into alleged Nazi war criminals living in Britain on grounds that the evidence presented is “too sketchy” and the alleged crimes were committed outside British jurisdiction.
Hurd made his position clear at a press conference Monday after receiving a delegation from the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.
The Center had earlier sent his department a list of 17 Latvians, Ukrainians and White Russians alleged to have collaborated with the Nazis in mass murders and other atrocities during World War II and to have settled in Britain after the war.
Hurd denied that Britain ever gave safe haven to war criminals. “I believe we are acting reasonably and sensibly in the situation,” he said.
He told the press conference, which was attended by leaders of British Jewry, that he had asked the Wiesenthal Center delegation to “deepen” the evidence in the documents sent to him. But they were not able to do so, Hurd said.
EXTRADITION TO USSR DISMISSED
He insisted there were no grounds for prosecution. And extradition, especially to the Soviet Union from whose territories most of the accused originate, is out of the question, the Home Secretary declared.
Earlier, Ephraim Zuroff, 34, of New York, who helped compile the dossiers submitted to Hurd, warned that Britain would “stand alone” if it refused to follow the examples of the U.S., Canada and Australia, which have set up government bodies to examine evidence against alleged Nazi war criminals.
So far, only two of the 17 names on the Wiesenthal Center’s list have been published here. But Greville Janner, a Labor Member of Parliament, and a former Nuremberg war crimes investigator, said he would invoke his Parliamentary immunity and disclose more of the names in the House of Commons.
Meanwhile, a Scottish television station has compiled a list of 34 additional names of alleged war criminals which it has turned over to the Director of Public Prosecutions.