SYDNEY, Australia (May. 6)
Australia has dropped an investigation of a suspected Latvian war criminal who has held Australian citizenship since World War II.
Police officials cited insufficient evidence against Konrad Kalejs, 84, who is accused of having participated in the killing of 20,000 Jews in Latvia during the war.
In making the announcement, Australian Prime Minister John Howard said that Australian law prevents the country from taking away Kalejs’ citizenship.
A spokesman for Australia’s umbrella body, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, reacted angrily to this statement.
“If Australian law can’t deal with the case of Konrad Kalejs, then it needs to be changed,” he said.
The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center recently said it believes that 64 suspected Latvian war criminals are living in Australia and called on the Australian government to take action against them.
The country began investigating Nazi war criminals under new legislation in 1987, but has yet to conclude a single successful prosecution under that legislation.