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Israel Spear Heads U.N. Move to Outlaw Nazi War Crime Trial Limits

March 25, 1966
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Backed by five other delegations, including those of the United States and France, Israel’s representative on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights insisted here today that the U.N. adopt a special Convention banning statutes of limitations for the trial and punishment of war criminals throughout the world.

Israel’s delegate, Associate Supreme Court Justice Haim H. Cohn, told the Commission that adoption of such an international instrument was urgent, pinpointing the situation in West Germany as an example of the need for the Convention. After recent revisions of its laws, West Germany still has a deadline of December 1, 1969, beyond which date major Nazi war criminals need not be tried.

Justice Cohn introduced a resolution calling for the drafting of the proposed Convention and the preparation of the document for final voting a year from now. Poland presented its own draft resolution, endorsing the principle of a ban on statutes of limitations regarding war criminals, but sidestepping the need for a formal Convention. The Soviet Union proposed that a committee be appointed to reconcile the Israeli and Polish stands, and Justice Cohn accepted that proposal.

The Israeli draft was co-sponsored, in addition to France and the U.S.A. by New Zealand, Austria, and the Netherlands. The Dutch delegation noted in its endorsement that its thinking on the subject had been aided by a memorandum submitted by one of the nongovernmental groups having consultative status before the Commission, the Coordinating Board of Jewish Organizations. The latter represents B’nai B’rith and the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

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