JERUSALEM (Feb. 15)
A Tel Aviv magistrate’s court has finished taking testimony from Israeli witnesses in the case of accused war criminal Imre Finta, who is on trial in Canada.
The proceedings, which ended last week, were held in closed court, and the testimony was classified in compliance with Canadian law. The hearings were attended by attorneys for the prosecution and defense.
The Hungarian-born Finta, 77, is charged with transporting 8,000 Jews from Szeged in Hungary to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland in 1944, when he was an officer in the Nazicontrolled police.
He is the first Canadian charged under a 1987 amendment to Canada’s criminal code which allows Canadian courts to try persons for crimes committed on foreign soil.
The amendment was aimed specifically at former Nazis and Nazi collaborators living in Canada.
Finta’s lawyer, Douglas Christie, was present. Only a month ago he had refused to go to Israel, claiming a “hostile environment” there endangered his life.
He cited as evidence the suicide of Dov Eitan, an Israeli lawyer participating in the appeal of convicted war criminal John Demjanjuk, and the assault on Demjanjuk’s Israeli defense attorney, Yoram Sheftel, at Eitan’s funeral.
A Holocaust survivor hurled acid in the face of Sheftel, who was slightly injured.