Friday, March 02, 2007


A Budapest court said the 1944 conviction of Sandor Kepiro for atrocities committed in Novi Sad cannot be enforced.

Sandor Kepiro, 93, was convicted but never punished for his role in killings committed by Hungarian forces in Novi Sad, during the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia in World War II, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Specifically, Kepiro was charged and found guilty along with 14 other Hungarian Army and gendarme officers of taking part in the Novi Sad massacre in January 1942, during which over a thousand people, the majority of them Jews, were killed

The Budapest Municipal Court issued a statement saying the 1944 ruling by a Hungarian military court cannot be enforced because a retrial shortly afterward annulled the sentence.

Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wienenthal Center said, "Kepiro was convicted in independent Hungary and he was only pardoned because Hungary was occupied by the Nazis,"."

The following appeared on the Javno Web Site (Croatia)

Court Will Not Reopen Nazi War Crime Case

A Hungarian court has decided not to reopen the case of a Sandor Kepiro 93-year-old accused by Nazi hunters of war crimes.Reuters

Sandor Kepiro was accused for killing of 1,000 Jews, Serbs and Gypsies in Serbia in 1942.

The Budapest Court said in a ruling published on Thursday the case against former gendarme Sandor Kepiro, who has always denied his guilt, could not be reopened because a previous verdict convicting him of the murders had been overturned.

Kepiro was in a Hungarian gendarme unit raiding partisan forces in occupied Serbia in the town of Novi Sad, and was accused of taking part in the killing of over 1,000 civilians in January 1942. He was sentenced to 10 years in jail in 1944.

Both that verdict and acquittal later the same year were made when Hungary was under fascist rule, an ally of Nazi Germany and seeking to regain land it lost after World War One.

Kepiro said he was pleased with the decision, which was originally made on Feb. 19, but made public on Thursday.

"This was a fair ruling because I committed no crime. In the area under my supervision we did not once resort to the use of weapons. I have a clean conscience and I live my life accordingly," he told a press conference.

The ruling, which is open to appeal for eight days, came after a call for Kepiro's prosecution by the Wiesenthal Centre in Jerusalem.

The centre, which pursues Nazi war criminals, said the ruling was morally unjust and legally flawed. It urged the prosecution to appeal and initiate a full investigation into Kepiro's activities between 1942 and 1944.

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