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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/p/priebke.erich/press/extradition-order-overturned-0895



Archive/File: pub/people/p/priebke.erich/press/extradition-order-overturned-0895
Last-Modified: 1995/08/23

	 BUENOS AIRES (Reuter) - An Argentine appeals court Wednesday
overturned an order to extradite ex-SS Captain Erich Priebke to
Italy for its worst wartime atrocity, opening the way for his
immediate release from house arrest.
	 Public Prosecutor Helvecio Martin Barba immediately said he
would appeal the annulment of May's decision to extradite
81-year-old Priebke for his role in the Ardeatine Caves massacre
of 335 civilians in 1944 near Nazi-occupied Rome.
	 ``The extradition has been overturned by the votes of two
judges against one and Priebke should be released from house
arrest today,'' Martin Barba told Reuters by phone from the
southern Andean region where Priebke has lived since 1949.
	 ``But I can advise you that I plan to appeal this ruling,''
he said.
	 Argentine Interior Minister Carlos Corach declared he was
disappointed by a decision that ``damages the image of our
country, definitively among those which repudiate all classes of
totalitarian and racist regimes, and nazism in particular.''
	 The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish group which hunts down
Nazi war criminals, said the ruling was ``a blot on Argentina's
attempt to rid itself of its reputation as a safe haven for Nazi
war criminals.''
	 Priebke was arrested 15 months ago after admitting his role
in the massacre in a book and on U.S. television. Italy's
extradition request was granted in May but Priebke appealed,
insisting he acted on orders of Gestapo chief Herbert Kappler.
	 Earlier this month he refused to answer questions put to him
by an Italian military prosecutor who traveled to Argentina
hoping to hear Priebke's own version of the event.
	 Nazi SS officers took 335 men and boys, 75 of them Jewish,
to the Ardeatine Caves outside Rome and shot them in reprisal
for the killing of 33 German soldiers by Italian partisans.
	 ``We wanted to oppose it but we had to obey or we would join
the list of those who were shot. It was horrendous,'' the ex-SS
captain told reporters this month in Bariloche, the Alpine-style
Andean ski resort he has made his home.
	 Priebke insists he has never hidden from the law and has
been registered with the German embassy here since 1952. A year
under house arrest has made him deeply depressed and he feels
like ``the last Mohican,'' he said.
	 Martin Barba said he has five days to appeal the annulment
before Argentina's Supreme Court, which then has 10 days to make
a final decision. He argued that the evidence presented by
Priebke's attorney, Pedro Bianchi, was suitable for putting to
an Italian court but not for an extradition hearing.
	 ``I'm not going to give an opinion on whether Priebke will
be extradited, but I am going to appeal for his extradition, and
I presume the Supreme Court will not want to delay this,''
Martin Barba said.
	 In a phone interview from Jerusalem, Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean
of the Los-Angeles based Wiesenthal Center, said the center will
urge Argentina to take action against the appeals court ruling
and remove Priebke's passport.
	 The center, Hier said, is also urging the German government
to also seek Priebke's extradition for crimes against humanity.

Last-Modified: 1995/08/24

	 ROME (Reuter) - A military prosecutor who hopes to put ex-SS
Capt. Erich Priebke on trial in Italy for the country's worst
wartime atrocity Thursday slammed an Argentine appeals court
ruling blocking his extradition.
	 ``Technically speaking the judgment is completely without
foundation. War crimes and crimes against humanity do not fall
under the statute of limitations,'' said Italian military
prosecutor Antonio Intelisano.
	 Unruffled by Argentina's rebuff to Italy, Germany quickly
filed its own request for the extradition of ex-Nazi Priebke. A
German Justice Ministry spokesman said the extradition request
was being sent to Buenos Aires immediately.
	 The Argentine ruling disappointed Italy's Jewish community,
who said such leniency could encourage war criminals elsewhere.
	 The court Wednesday overturned an extradition order against
81-year-old Priebke for his role in a Nazi atrocity in 1944 at
the Ardeatine Caves on the outskirts of Rome.
	 German soldiers massacred 335 civilians, including 75 Jews,
several priests and a 14-year-old boy, in reprisal for the
killing of 33 German soldiers by partisans.
	 ``This is victory,'' a beaming ex-SS Capt. Erich Priebke
said late Wednesday in Bariloche, a ski resort in southern
Argentina, the DyN news agency reported.
	 ``I want to take a stroll around the town, I want to see the
lake,'' he said.
	 According to Italian newspapers, the court said the crimes
Priebke was accused of were beyond the statute of limitations,
having been committed too long ago to incur prosecution now.
	 ``There are United Nations regulations that refer to war
crimes and crimes against humanity, saying that the statute of
limitations does not apply in such cases,'' Intelisano told
Reuters from his office in Rome.
	 According to Intelisano, Italy wants to try Priebke for both
war crimes and crimes against humanity.
	 He said some countries including Argentina and France have
interpreted U.N. guidelines as meaning that war crimes cannot be
prosecuted after 20 years. But he said crimes against humanity
were universally regarded as falling outside the statute.
	 ``If Priebke's are not war crimes and crimes against
humanity, you tell me what is. There were 60 people among those
killed at the Ardeatine Caves whose only 'crime' was to be part
of the Roman Jewish community,'' he said.
	 The director general of penal affairs in the Italian justice
ministry, Vittorio Mele, said he was surprised by the ruling and
Italy would appeal against it immediately.
	 ``I wasn't expecting a decision against our request, partly
because the president of Argentina assured us of his full
support and his government has been very helpful,'' Mele said.
	 Priebke was arrested 15 months ago after admitting his role
in the massacre in a book and on U.S. television. Italy's
extradition request was granted in May but Priebke appealed,
insisting he acted on orders of the late Herbert Kappler, the
Gestapo chief in Rome.
	 Claudio Fano, the president of the Jewish community in Rome,
said the Argentine ruling could have wider consequences.
	 ``The idea that if you are clever enough to survive a
certain number of years then your crimes become null and void
could be a bad example for what is happening today in Bosnia and
former Yugoslavia,'' he told Reuters.
	 Argentine lawyers for the Italian government said they would
file an appeal to the Supreme Court in the next few days.
	 ``This is not a definitive decision. It is an uphill
struggle, but I am not too discouraged,'' Intelisano said.

Subject: Former SS officer ordered released in Argentina
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 95 15:00:18 PDT

	 BUENOS AIRES (Reuter) - A former Nazi officer wanted for
Italy's worst wartime atrocity was ordered released  Thursday,
one day after a court blocked his extradition to Italy in a
ruling that angered Jews and Italians.
	 Local media reported federal judge Leonidas Moldes ordered
the release of ex-SS Capt. Erich Priebke, under house arrest in
the Andean ski resort of Bariloche in southern Argentina.
	 Nobody was immediately available for comment in Bariloche,
where Priebke, who is sought in Italy for his role in the
massacre of 335 men in 1944, has lived since 1948.
	 ``This is victory,'' Priebke, 81, was quoted as saying after
an Argentine appeals court overturned an order to extradite him
to Italy.
	 ``I want to take a stroll around the town, I want to see the
lake,'' he exclaimed late Wednesday, anticipating the end of 15
months of house arrest.
	 In 1944, SS officers took the 335 men, including 75 Jews,
several priests and a 14-year-old boy, to the Ardeatine Caves on
the outskirts of Nazi-occupied Rome and shot them in reprisal
for the killing of 33 German troops by Italian partisans.
	 The Italian justice ministry said it will challenge the
Argentine ruling. A military prosecutor who is seeking to put
Priebke on trial in Italy slammed the decision for ignoring that
war crimes are not covered by statutes of limitations.
	 ``Technically speaking the judgment is completely without
foundation. War crimes and crimes against humanity do not fall
under the statute of limitations,'' military prosecutor Antonio
Intelisano said.
	 Unruffled by Argentina's rebuff to Italy, Germany quickly
filed its own request for Priebke's extradition. A German
Justice Ministry spokesman said the request was being sent to
Buenos Aires immediately.
	 The Argentine ruling disappointed Italy's Jewish community,
which said such leniency could encourage war criminals
elsewhere.
	 ``The idea that if you are clever enough to survive a
certain number of years then your crimes become null and void
could be a bad example for what is happening today in Bosnia and
former Yugoslavia,''  Claudio Fano, a Jewish community leader in
Rome, told Reuters.
	 Priebke was arrested 15 months ago after admitting his role
in the massacre in a book and on U.S. television. Italy's
extradition request was granted in May but Priebke appealed,
insisting that he acted on orders of the late Herbert Kappler,
the Gestapo chief in Rome.
	 The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Jewish group that hunts Nazi
war criminals, said the court ruling was ``a blot on Argentina's
attempt to rid itself of its reputation as a safe haven for Nazi
war criminals.''
	 Argentine lawyers for the Italian government said they would
file an appeal to the Supreme Court in Buenos Aires in the next
few days.
	 Military prosecutor Intelisano said Italy wants to try
Priebke for both war crimes and crimes against humanity.
	 ``If Priebke's are not war crimes and crimes against
humanity, you tell me what is'', he said.

Last-Modified: 1995/08/25

	 Argentina faced a torrent of outrage from Italians and Jews
after an appeals court this week threw out a ruling to extradite
81-year-old Priebke for his part in Italy's worst wartime
atrocity, the 1944 Ardeatine Caves massacre.
	 Priebke was put under house arrest in the Alpine-style ski
resort of Bariloche in the Andes 15 months ago after admitting
his involvement in a book and on U.S. television.
	 He said he acted on the orders of Gestapo chief Herbert
Kappler when he took part in the massacre. SS officers shot 335
men and boys, 75 of them Jewish, in the caves near Rome in
reprisal for the killing of 33 German soldiers by partisans.

Date: Fri, 25 Aug 95 18:10:12 PDT

	 BUENOS AIRES (Reuter) - A former Nazi captain was put under
house arrest Friday in Argentina and could be extradited to
Germany on war-crime charges, a judge said.
	 Federal Judge Leonidas Moldes ordered the detention of
81-year-old Erich Priebke after Germany requested the former SS
officer's extradition, local news agencies reported.
	 Priebke had just been released from 15 months of house
arrest Thursday after an Argentine court rejected an Italian
request for his extradition.
	 Argentina faced a torrent of outrage from Italians and Jews
after the appeals court this week threw out a ruling to
extradite him for his part in Italy's worst wartime atrocity,
the 1944 Ardeatine Caves massacre of 355 men.
	 Priebke, who has lived in the Andean resort of Bariloche
since 1948, was originally put under house arrest 15 months ago
after admitting his involvement in the massacre in a book and on
U.S. television.
	 He said he acted on the orders of Gestapo chief Herbert
Kappler when he took part in the massacre, in which SS officers
shot 335 men and boys, 75 of them Jewish, in the caves near Rome
in reprisal for the killing of 33 German soldiers by partisans.
	 Priebke eluded Rome's extradition request by arguing that
his was a war crime, not a crime against humanity.
	 This time, however, his lawyers said they would not try to
fight off extradition.
	 ``All that remains now is for them (Germany) to send the
plane tickets and the custodians,'' defense attorney Pedro
Bianchi told the private DyN news agency.
	 DyN said that, unlike the Italian request, the demand from
Bonn cannot be turned down by an Argentine court because Priebke
is a German national sought by his own country.
	 The ex-SS officer was celebrating his release with relatives
and friends at home in Bariloche, 1,000 miles
 southwest of Buenos Aires, when the Moldes himself came to
Priebke's house to tell him he was once again under house
arrest, the news agency said.
	 Earlier in the day Justice Minister Rodolfo Barra said
Argentina's Supreme Court was likely to order Priebke's
extradition.
	 Moldes Thursday ordered Priebke's release and a beaming
Priebke exclaimed, ``This is victory'' before venturing again
into the streets of Bariloche.
	 ``Liberty is a great thing,'' Priebke said after being
released Thursday as he walked with friends in Bariloche. ``I'm
going ... to walk the streets of Bariloche and greet and embrace
all those who support me, because I have no reason to hide.''
	 Germany immediately protested the ruling and fired off its
own extradition request.
	 The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish group which hunts down
Nazi war criminals, described Priebke's release as a ``blot on
Argentina's attempt to rid itself of its reputation as a safe
haven for Nazi war criminals.''


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