NEW YORK (Jun. 9)
Costa Rica’s Jewish community has located a Nazi war criminal who has been living freely in that country since fleeing the United States 10 years ago.
Bohdan Koziy, a Ukrainian police official during World War II who was found to have shot and killed a 4-year-old Jewish girl at point-blank range, has been living in a suburb of San Jose, the capital, only minutes away from the city’s Jewish community center.
Koziy, 72, escaped to Costa Rica from the United States in June 1984 after the U.S. Justice Department obtained a court order to deport him to the Soviet Union.
The former owner of a motel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., he had been stripped of his American citizenship in 1982 after a trial in Florida in which eyewitness testimony described his murdering a Jewish family in Ukraine, including the 4-year-old girl.
Koziy was also charged with killing Jews in the Ukrainian town of Stanislau and with lying about his wartime past when he applied for a visa in 1949 and for U.S. citizenship in 1956.
Supporting the Costa Rican Jewish community, the World Jewish Congress here said it was launching a global campaign to expel Koziy from Costa Rica.
“Jewish communities in 80 countries around the world will call on the Costa Rican ambassadors in their capitals to demand an end to this intolerable situation,” the WJC said in a statement.
“For a decade now, Costa Rican authorities have rebuffed all efforts to have this murderer expelled and brought to justice for his heinous crimes,” the statement said.
The Soviets requested Koziy’s extradition in 1986, but Costa Rica refused.
A year later, Koziy was ordered extradited to the Soviet Union by the Costa Rican Superior Penal Tribunal of Alajuela. Costa Rica’s public prosecutor said that ruling could not be appealed, but the government overruled the tribunal.
Kalman Sultanik, a WJC vice president, said Costa Rica “must demonstrate to the world that it is not a sanctuary for mass murderers.”