A Slovak court announced Thursday that the death sentence of 98 year-old Laszlo Csatary [BBC backgrounder, JURIST news archive] has been commuted to a sentence of life imprisonment in order to adhere to modern Slovak law. A court in Czechoslovakia sentenced Csatary to death in absentia in 1948, but the country subsequently abolished the death penalty before dividing into Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Csatary was arrested in July 2012 after the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) [advocacy website], a Jewish submitted new evidence [JURIST report] to the Budapest prosecutor's office detailing the war crimes allegedly committed by Ladislaus Csizsik-Csatary, a former senior Hungarian police officer in the Slovakian city of Kosice. Slovakian authorities announced later that month that they intended to seek the extradition [JURIST report] of the Hungarian man to try him on charges of abusing and helping deport thousands of Jews during the Holocaust.
Hungarian prosecutors charged Csatary [JURIST report] in July 2012 with the "unlawful torture of human beings," a war crime that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Csatary was at the top of the SWC's list of most wanted Nazi war criminals [BBC backgrounder], and the SWC had already called on the Hungarian government to prosecute the Nazi war criminal [JURIST report] when the center issued its annual report in April. Nazi prosecution continues regardless of the ages of the criminals. In January the Ingolstadt Prosecutor's Office filed a motion [JURIST report] to jail Klaas Faber, a Dutch native who fled to Germany after being convicted in the Netherlands in 1947 of Nazi war crimes. Germany reopened investigations into former Nazi death camp guards in October, which stemmed from the conviction of John Demjanjuk [JURIST reports], a former guard at a camp in Poland who was deported to Germany to stand trial for his alleged Nazi crimes. Last September alleged Nazi Sandor Kepiro died while he awaited an appeal [JURIST report] on his acquittal on war crimes charges.