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U.N. Commission Adopts Resolution Calling for Prosecution of Nazis

March 10, 1988
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Overriding objections from several European countries, particularly West Germany, the United Nations Human Rights Commission adopted a resolution by consensus Wednesday calling for the prosecution and punishment of all Nazi war criminals still at large.

It also condemned “the attempts made even today to deny the acts of genocide committed as a result of Nazi and fascist ideology and practices.”

The resolution, sponsored by the United States, was initiated by Israel, which is not a member of the Human Rights Commission. It was the first time since 1970 that the subject was brought before the commission, which is holding its annual conference here.

The West Europeans were less than enthusiastic. The delegation from Bonn went so far as to appeal to Washington to abandon the resolution on grounds that the matter has been taken up before at other forums, including the U.N. General Assembly. But the United States did not waver.

The Israeli ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, Pinchas Eliav, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the resolution underlined the need for international cooperation to track down Nazi war criminals.

The resolution commended the cooperation among various member states that succeeded in bringing to justice major Nazi war criminals, such as Klaus Barbie, who was convicted in France last year of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life imprisonment.

It urged all states to ensure that this cooperation will continue and that war criminals will be prosecuted, preferably in the countries where their crimes were committed.

In the debate leading up to the resolution, Ambassador Eliav and Nazi-hunter Beate Klarsfeld referred to one of the most notorious Nazis, Alois Brunner, who has found safe haven in Syria.

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