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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/t/touvier.paul/press/ap.1093

Archive/File: holocaust/france ap.102193
Last-Modified: 1993/10/21


euro  - french Ruling Clears Way for Trial of accused Nazi

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

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

"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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