Archive/File: holocaust/france ap.102193 Last-Modified: 1993/10/21 Subject: TOUVIER-A-FRENCH-NAZI-WAR-CRIMINAL euro - french Ruling Clears Way for Trial of accused Nazi Collaborator PARIS, oct. 21 (AP) - A criminal court Thursday threw out a last-ditch appeal by Nazi collaborator Paul Touvier, removing perhaps the final obstacle to the first trial of a Frenchman for crimes against humanity. Touvier, 78, is charged for his role in the execution of seven Jewish hostages in June 1944 in Lyon as revenge for the Resistance assassination of Vichy Propaganda Minister Philippe Henriot. Touvier's laywer had argued that the executions constituted a war crime for which the statute of limitations had expired. The court, however, ruled that the murders were racially and religiously motivated, part of broader political and ideological scheme -- "The Final Solution." Therefore, they were crimes against humanity, for which there is no statute of limitations in France, the court ruled. Earlier Thursday, prsecutor Rene Hamiel released a report emphasizing that Touvier had, in fact, freed an eighth hostage because he was not Jewish. The report also stressed that Touvier voluntarily joined the Vichy militia, a group dedicated to "the elimination of Jewish leprosy and the safeguard of French purity." "Touvier has no more arrows left in his quiver," Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld said in a telephone interview. "He will have to face trial, if he lives long enough." Touvier suffers from prostate cancer. Klarsfeld said the trial could begin sometime next spring. Civil parties have requested that it be held in Lyon. Touvier would be the first Frenchman brought to trial for crimes against humanity. Rene Bousquet, the head of the Vichy government's national police during World War II, was charged for his role in the deportation of thousands of Jews, but was assassinated by a publicity-seeking gunman last June. The case against Maurice Papon, a former budget minister under former President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, has been stalled in the courts for more than a decade. Touvier's appeal was based on a examination of whether proper legal form had been respected. Last year, a court dismissed six other charges against Touvier, an officer in the pro-Nazi militia that worked closely with Gestapo official Klaus Barbie, the "Butcher of Lyon." Barbie, a German, was convicted of crimes against humanity after a three-month trial in 1987. He died in prison in 1991. Touvier was arrested in 1989 in a Roman Catholic priory outside Nice after 40 years on the run.
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