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Europe
Germany tries Nazi 'hit man'
Heinrich Boere appears in court over killing of three civilians during second world war.
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2009 01:04 GMT
Boere confessed to killing the three civilians in 1944 as reprisals for attacks by the Dutch resistance [EPA]

An 88-year-old former member of the Waffen SS has gone on trial in Germany over the second world war killings of three civilians in The Netherlands.

Heinrich Boere, who face son three counts of murder, admitted the killings to Dutch authorities when he was in captivity after the war but has managed to avoid prosecution for decades.

Wednesday's court session lasted just 90 minutes after judges said they needed time to consider a defence motion calling for one of the prosecution to be removed.

Defence lawyers argued that Ulrich Maas, the prosecutor, had made statements to the media that called into doubt his objectivity.

The court said it needed until Monday to reach a conclusion and cancelled a session scheduled for Friday.

'Death squad'

Boere is charged with killing three men: Frans Kusters, a member of the Dutch resistance; Fritz Bicknese, a chemist; and Teun de Groot, a bicycle seller who helped  hide Jews fleeing Nazi persecution.  

In video


Heinrich Boere managed to avoid prosecution for the Dutch killings until recently

He was captured by US forces in The Netherlands after the war.

Boere confessed to killing the three civilians in 1944 while a member of an SS death squad which hunted anti-Nazi resistance fighters.

He escaped and fled to Germany before being sentenced to death in absentia in the Netherlands in 1949, a sentence that was later reduced to life in prison.

After refusing a 1980 Dutch extradition request, a German court indicted him in 2008.

In January, the case nearly collapsed after a court said Boere, who is of Dutch-German origin, was unfit for trial, due mainly to a heart condition.

The ruling was overturned by an appeal court.

Georg Winkel, a spokesman for the court in the western city of Aachen, said Boere would undergo a medical examination every day of the court proceedings. 

Winkel said he did not know if Boere, who on the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's list of top ten second world war criminals, would plead guilty to the murder charges.

Source:
Agencies
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