The Simon Wiesenthal Center has launched the latest campaign to force Costa Rica to expel an accused Nazi war criminal.
Efraim Zuroff, director of the center’s Israel office, even went to the home of Bodhan Koziy – with a BBC television crew in two – during the three-day visit to this Central American nation.
Koziy was not at home at the time, according to neighbors.
Koziy, 73, who apparently has been living in a suburb of San Jose for the last decade, was a Ukrainian police official during World War II.
In August, Rep. Michael McNulty (D-N.Y.) personally handed a letter – signed by 60 other congressmen – to Costa Rican President Jose Figures that said, “Judges in the United States and prosecutors in Germany affirmed that Koziy was a Nazi policeman in Ukraine, where he shot and killed – amongst others – a 4-year- old.”
In 1982, Koziy, the owner of a Florida motel, was stripped of his citizenship. The U.S. Justice Department obtained a court order to deport him in 1984, but he fled to Costa Rica.
Zuroff, then an investigator for the Office of Special Investigations of the Justice Department, had taken part in the investigation that led to the revocation of citizenship.
In 1986, Costa Rica refused the Soviet Union’s request for Koziy’s extradition. A year later, the Costa Rican government overruled a local court order to extradite him to the Soviet Union.
When Zuroff was in Costa Rica this week, he also met with high-ranking government officials as well as with members of the Jewish community.
“Our mission here was to see what it will take to see Koziy is kicked out of Costa Rica and hopefully put on trial,” Zuroff said in an interview.
Zuroff said the center wants either Ukraine to ask for an extradition or Costa Rica to throw him out.
He added that throwing Koziy out “is more easily doable because it depends only on the Costa Rican government.”
Zuroff also said of Koziy, “This man is a hands-on murderer.”
In September, the Costa Rican ambassador to the United States, Sonia Picado, said in a statement that she was “hopeful” that the extradition of Koziy would take place soon.