The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem has formally asked the government of Costa Rica to expel and accused war criminal.
The presence of Bodhan Koziy, 73, a Ukrainian police official during World War II, “brings shame on Costa Rica,” Efraim Zuroff, director of the center’s Israel office, said in a recent letter to Juan Diego Castro, the Costa Rican minister of public security.
Zuroff also said in the letter that Koziy’s presence in Costa Rica is a “source of frustration for Jews the world over” and urged Castro to “end the disgrace of having this murdered of children continue to reside in your country.”
Castro said he had asked for a report on Koziy’s immigration status, adding that Koziy could be expelled if he is in Costa Rica illegally and if Costa Rica receives a request for extradition.
The letter comes one month after Zuroff was in Costa Rica to meet with government officials and members of the Jewish community. During that visit, Zuroff went to Koziy’s home – with a BBC television crew in tow – to approach the accused man, who turned out not to be home at the time.
Koziy apparently has been living a suburb of San Jose for the last decade.
In 1982, Koziy, the owner of a Florida motel, was stripped of his U.S. 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 par in the investigation that led to the revocation of citizenship.
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.
Koziy had been accused by the Soviet Union of killing Jewish children and their parents. But he was never extradited there by Costa Rica because the Soviet Union, saying that it had not influence over Ukrainian courts, could not promise Costa Rica that Koziy would not face the death penalty.
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 September, Sonia Picado, the Costa Rican ambassador to the United States, said she was “hopeful” that the extradition of Koziy would take place soon.