msnbc | 12Aug2009 | Associated Press
Demjanjuk lawyer calls for case
to be closed
Alleged Nazi death camp
guard’s attorney says charges violate precedent
BERLIN - John Demjanjuk's attorney filed a motion Wednesday calling for
the Nazi death-camp case against his client to be closed, saying the
charges against him violate German legal precedent.
Attorney Ulrich Busch said in a filing faxed to the Munich state court
that even if it could be proved that Demjanjuk trained as a death camp
guard at the SS's Trawniki camp and served at Sobibor in Nazi-occupied
Poland, he shouldn't have been charged.
Busch argued that previous German courts have ruled that others in
similar situations could not be held criminally responsible, because
they risked serious punishment if they did not follow orders. The
filing was provided to The Associated Press by Demjanjuk's son.
The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk denies the accusations against him. He
maintains that he was a Red Army soldier who was held as a prisoner of
war and never hurt anyone.
He was taken to Munich from his suburban Cleveland home in May after
losing a court battle to avoid deportation from the United States, and
was formally charged by Bavarian prosecutors last month as an accessory
to the murder of 27,900 people at the Sobibor death camp.
The Munich state court must now decide whether to accept the charges --
usually a formality -- and set a trial date.
Among the documents obtained by the Munich prosecutors is an SS
identity card that features a photo of a young, round-faced Demjanjuk
along with his height and weight. It says he worked at Sobibor.
German prosecutors also have a transfer roster that lists Demjanjuk by
his name and birthday and also says he was at Sobibor, as well as
statements from former guards who remembered him being there.
Still, Busch maintained in his motion that "There's not a thread of
evidence that he even served in Trawniki or Sobibor."
In a second motion Busch filed Wednesday, he called for the dismissal
of the case saying that the charges from Munich prosecutors are based
on "pure speculation."
It was not clear when the court would rule on the motions.