SYDNEY, Oct. 8 (JTA) – The only Australian to face trial for participating in Nazi crimes has died at the age of 81. In 1990, Ivan Polyukhovich was arrested and charged with murdering Jews and of being involved in the deaths of up to 850 others in Nazi-occupied Ukraine in 1942 and 1943. The day before his hearing was due to commence in 1990, he attempted suicide. He had earlier said that he had never killed anyone and that the charges were baseless. The injuries he suffered as a result of the suicide attempt, court challenges by the defense and his ill health resulted in a long delay before his case came to trial. Nine members of the Ukrainian community in the Rovno region, where the atrocities of which he was accused took place, testified in his 1993 trial. After the judge instructed the jury that a guilty verdict would require an absence of reasonable doubt and that after five decades it would be extraordinary if no doubt existed, he was acquitted after less than 90 minutes of deliberation. Of more than 800 people investigated by the Australian government since 1989 for participation in Nazi war crimes, only three have faced charges.
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