Court to try alleged war criminal in absentia

  • 2000-10-19
VILNIUS (BNS) - A Vilnius district court decided on Oct. 13 to start the trial of Kazys Gimzauskas, accused of genocide, in absentia.

The court hearing was postponed until Nov. 13 because the prosecution failed to produce the originals of all the documents in the case. On the orders of the prosecution, the original documents are to be presented to the court by Nov. 10.

During the Nazi occupation Gimzauskas was deputy chief of the Vilnius region security police subordinated to the Nazis. At that time Aleksandras Lileikis, who died last month without having been tried, was his boss.

Psychiatric examination has established that Gimzauskas, 92, suffers from a progressive psychiatric disorder. He is unable to understand or control his actions and, as a result, to appear in court in person.

The court will examine the case in absentia and decide whether there is a case to answer.

There have been a number of cases in Lithuania where defendants suffering from psychiatric disorders and accused of having committed serious crimes are subjected to compulsory treatment on court orders at special clinics. Their cases have usually been suspended until their recovery.

The team of medical experts established that Gimzauskas had been suffering from an incurable psychiatric disease since 1998. The team said that as the defendant did not pose any danger to the public, forced medical treatment would not be required.

The Gimzauskas' criminal case was re-opened on April 26, having been suspended in February 1999 because the defendant's poor health prevented him form appearing in court.

The bill of indictment names five Jews whom Gimzauskas supposedly sent to their deaths in July 1944. Two witnesses in the case have died since proceedings begun, including Lileikis.