Case could be dropped against genocide suspect

  • 2001-02-08
  • BNS
VILNIUS - The chief prosecutor of the special investigations unit at the general prosecutor's office, Rimvydas Valentukevicius, expressed regret on Feb. 2 that Nazi war crimes suspect Kazys Gimzauskas could not attend proceedings, face trial and understand his punishment for the most serious of all crimes against humanity, genocide.

Valentukevicius said he believed Gimzauskas deserved severe and just punishment, but that it was no longer possible.

He asked a court to find Gimzauskas complicit in the genocide against Jews in Lithuania during the Nazi occupation and to find his actions criminal but asked the court during arguments to drop the case against the 92-year-old defendant, arguing he could not be realistically expected to serve a sentence. Gimzauskas is reportedly suffering from mental disorders.

The court is to announce its verdict on the Gimzauskas case on Feb. 14.

In the prosecutor's closing statements, he said Gimzauskas had been deputy chief of the Vilnius area Lithuanian Security Police from 1941 to 1944. Being subordinate to the German occupational government, the security police and the special bureau, all of which sought to murder Jews, Gimzauskas was responsible for the detention of Jews and those who helped them, the prosecutor said.

Gimzauskas lost his U.S. citizenship in the 1990s for hiding his past and returned to Lithuania.

The case against Gimzauskas was initiated on November 19, 1997. It took several years for the case to come to trial, after which the defendant's poor health prevented him from ever attending hearings.

Gimzauskas is no longer facing criminal charges. When the court finishes its deliberations, it will not announce a sentence, but simply a verdict on whether Gimzauskas committed crimes against humanity.