Hungary acquittal of accused Nazi to be appealed by prosecution, defense

[JURIST] Both the prosecution and the defense in the case of alleged Nazi Sandor Kepiro have announced they will be appealing a Hungarian court's decision to acquit [JURIST report]. Kepiro was acquitted of participating in the 1942 Novi Sad massacre in Serbia. Prosecutor Zsolt Falvai declared the acquittal unfounded [AP report] and said the three-judge panel had misinterpreted his evidence. The panel found two of his three key pieces of evidence inadmissible: the testimony of a Hungarian Lieutenant in the 1940s who had lied on-record before and was likely under duress, and a prior conviction of Kepiro for the raids that had been annulled. Kepiro persistently denied involvement in the raid and continues to even after his acquittal. His defense lawyer, Zsolt Zetenyi has appealed to the judges to record the acquittal as decided by Kepiro's lack of involvement in the massacre [AP report], not a lack of evidence. Zetenyi and Kepiro's pleas for vindication may not be unfounded, as Kepiro is still being publicized as a war criminal by several Jewish groups. The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) [advocacy website], a Jewish human rights organization committed to finding and prosecuting Holocaust war criminals, located and apprehended Kepiro in 2006. They released a statement [text] after the acquittal, calling the judgment, "an outrageous miscarriage of justice which directly contradicts the extensive evidence of Kepiro's direct involvement and responsibility." A spokesperson for the Novi Sad Jewish community said that a global campaign will be launched to inform the world if the acquittal stands.

Kepiro's prosecution was likely one of the last of an accused Nazi. In May, the trial of accused Nazi guard John Demjanjuk [NNDB profile, JURIST news archive] ended when he was convicted [JURIST report] but released because of his advanced age. An appeal [JURIST report] of his release is pending. In November, Nazi guard Samuel Kunz [Trial Watch profile], 89, passed away [JURIST report] in his home before he could be brought to trial. He was accused of aiding in the killing of hundreds of thousands of Jewish people at the Belzec concentration camp [HRP backgrounder].

 

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