Staff Writer   Ukrainian Weekly   04-Sep-1988   Dov Eitan joins Demjanjuk defence

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Former Israeli judge joins Demjanjuk defense

CLEVELAND Dov Eitan, a retired Israeli judge of 17 years, has joined the defense team of John Demjanjuk, who was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to death this past April in Israel.

Midway through the District Court proceedings, Mr. Eitan expressed his concern about the conduct of the three-judge panel.

Mr. Eitan was the youngest judge ever to preside in the history of Israel.  In 1983 he retired to a full pension and joined the legal firm of Bar-On, Eitan, Mandel and Co.  Mr. Eitan has more years of experience than either Judge Zvi Tal or Judge Dalia Dorner, who sat on the panel that convicted Mr. Demjanjuk.

Ironically, Judge Tal, who read the death sentence to Mr. Demjanjuk only months ago, now occupies Mr. Eitan's seat in the District Court of Jerusalem.

On Friday, September 2, Mr. Eitan and Yoram Sheftel, who has represented Mr. Demjanjuk throughout the Israeli proceedings, were scheduled to appear before the registrar of the Supreme Court of Israel.

They were to request the Supreme Court to compel archival centers in West Germany, Poland and other East bloc countries to open their doors to the defense.

These centers contain voluminous files of Treblinka survivor testimony and other material critical to the defense.  Unlike the open archival access policy afforded to the prosecution both in Israel and in the U.S., the doors have remained closed to the defense for the past 12 years, the John Demjanjuk Defense Fund noted.

Additionally, Messrs. Sheftel and Eitan were to petition the court to intervene with the Italian government to gain access to files relating to new allegations that Mr. Demjanjuk was also a concentration camp guard in Triest, Italy, from 1943 to 1945.  This information is critical to the defense as it now places Mr. Demjanjuk in three separate locations at the same time committing war crimes.

The final request to be made on September 2 will be to allow the defense access to the videotapes of the entire trial and isolate the actions of the three-judge panel, in order to point out what it believes to be the court's prejudice towards defense witnesses and defense counsel.

Mr. Eitan's first visit with Mr. Demjanjuk is scheduled to take place Sunday, September 4, at Ayalon Prison, where Mr. Demjanjuk has been held for the past 31 months.

Mr. Eitan was born in Tel-Aviv in 1935.  He served in the Israeli defense forces and completed Jerusalem University's faculty of law in 1962.

He was a lawyer in private practice in 1962-1967, specializing in civil and criminal law.  In 1967 he was elected a magistrate and in the years 1969 to 1974 he was deputy director of Israeli courts and chief magistrate.

In 1974-1978 he was chief magistrate and registrar of the Jerusalem District Court.  Then in 1978 to 1983 he was a district court judge in Jerusalem.

In 1983 he retired and joined the legal firm of Bar-On, Eitan, Mandel and Co., which handles mostly criminal cases.