MOSCOW (Oct. 18)
A panel of Lithuanian doctors has ruled that an alleged Nazi war criminal is fit to stand trial.
The decision of the court-appointed commission raises the likelihood that the trial of Aleksandras Lileikis, a top-ranking official in the Nazi-subordinated Lithuanian security police during World War II, will be completed.
Indeed, the court is expected to set a new date before the end of the month to hear the case against Lileikis, whose trial has already been postponed four times this year.
In making their ruling, however, the doctors warned that any stress could endanger the life of Lileikis, who was stripped of his U.S. citizenship in 1996 for lying about his wartime activities.
“His health could worsen at any moment,” Dr. Henrikas Ulevicius, who headed the medical panel, was quoted as saying.
Lileikis, who during the war headed the Vilnius branch of the Saugumas, is suspected of having handed scores of Jews to Nazi death squads.
He denies the charge of genocide, claiming the case against him was fabricated using documents forged by the Soviet KGB.
Both Lithuanian and international Jewish leaders have repeatedly accused Lithuania of dragging its feet in the case.
If the trial does take place, it would be the first trial for Holocaust crimes in any of the three Baltic states since they gained their independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
During the Nazi occupation of Lithuania from 1941-1944, approximately 94 percent of Lithuania’s prewar Jewish community of 240,000 died in the Holocaust.
Historians say the scale of the tragedy could have been smaller had ordinary Lithuanians not helped with the killings.