Supreme Court Rules Against John Demjanjuk, Authorizes Deportation

Supreme Court Rules Against John Demjanjuk, Authorizes Deportation

John Demjanjuk

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The U.S. Supreme Court rules against John Demjanjuk, an accused Nazi concentration camp guard and war criminal, ordering him to be deported to Germany where he can stand trial for crimes against humanity.

This will not be the first time for John Demjanjuk to stand trial on charges like these. In 1986, he stood trial in Israel for being "Ivan the Terrible," an especially vicious and brutal guard at the Treblinka death camp.

Demjanjuk was found guilty, but the Israeli Supreme Court latere overturned the verdict. The court concluded that while he was probably a guard at one or more concentration camps, the evidence that he was a particular guard who committed particular crimes was too poor to justify the verdict and being sentenced to death.

In Germany, however, the prosecutors won't be trying to prove that John Demjanjuk was a particular guard who committed particular criminal acts. Instead they will only be trying to prove that he was a guard stationed at the Sobibor death camp and then argue that this justifies finding him guilty of being an accessory to all of the murders committed at Sobibor during his time there.

This is a novel legal argument, never before used in Germany despite the many war crimes trials that have occurred there. It's also an argument that is criticized by many, including some Germans, because it eliminates the responsibility of the state to demonstrate that a particular person has committed particular acts in order to judge them guilty of crimes.

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Is John Demjanjuk too sick to be deported?

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