Kyiv Post | 03May2011 | Associated Press
Defense lawyer assails case
MUNICH (AP) -- John Demjanjuk's lawyer
assailed Germany's prosecution of the 91-year-old on Tuesday, arguing
that investigators have failed to offer concrete evidence of his
involvement in Nazi war crimes and have been inconsistent in their
efforts to pursue suspects.
Attorney Ulrich Busch argued that, whether or not he is convicted, the
retired Ohio auto worker is already "a victim of German justice."
He complained as he started his closing arguments that the court
hearing the case has failed to consider potentially important documents
The Ukrainian-born Demjanjuk went on trial in November 2009, months
after he was deported from the United States.
Demjanjuk is charged with 28,060 counts of accessory to murder for
allegedly serving as a guard at the Sobibor death camp in occupied
Poland. He denies the charges.
Prosecutors have called for a conviction and six-year prison sentence.
They argue that he should be found guilty because, as a guard, he was
part of the Nazis' machinery of death.
However, Busch said that wasn't enough for a conviction and pointed to
the lack of specific evidence that he was involved in any crime.
"There is no way that anyone can say that John Demjanjuk could
influence the number of victims in Sobibor," Busch told the Munich
The number of counts is based on records of how many people were
transported to Sobibor and killed during the time Demjanjuk allegedly
The prosecution argues that after Demjanjuk, a Soviet Red Army soldier,
was captured by the Germans in 1942, he agreed to serve under the SS as
Demjanjuk denies ever serving as a guard. He says he spent most of the
rest of the war after his capture in Nazi camps for prisoners of war
before joining the so-called Vlasov Army of anti-communist Soviet POWs
and others, formed to fight against the encroaching Soviets in the
war's final months.
Busch said West German officials argued in the 1980s that their country
didn't have the right to pursue crimes carried out abroad by
foreigners; and that, for decades, they considered non-Germans who -- as
Demjanjuk is accused of doing -- trained at the Trawniki SS camp too
insignificant to prosecute.
Demjanjuk deserves an unspecified quantity of compensation from Germany
for the time has spent in custody both there and earlier in Israel,
Busch said, arguing that Germany is ultimately responsible for his
client's troubles over the decades.
In Israel, Demjanjuk was convicted in 1988 of being the notorious guard
"Ivan the Terrible" at another death camp, Treblinka. That conviction
was overturned by Israel's high court five years later as a case of
"Anyone who is innocent and sits for five years in a death-row cell has
certainly atoned for everything he did in his life to that point,"
Demjanjuk, as he has for much of his trial, lay in a bed wearing
sunglasses during the proceedings.
The trial resumes Wednesday, with Busch set to continue his closing