Israel asked to extradite genocide suspect

  • 2001-11-01
  • BNS
VILNIUS - Lithuanian prosecutors sent another request to Israel's Justice Ministry on Oct. 29 to extradite former high-ranking KGB officer Nachmanas Dusanskis, suspected of genocide against Lithuanian citizens during the early years of the Soviet occupation.

A criminal investigation had been launched in Lithuania into charges against Dusanskis, currently residing in Israel. In the course of the investigation the Lithuanian prosecution twice asked the Israeli authorities for legal assistance, but was on both occasions refused.

The Lithuanian Prosecutor General's Office explained in the latest letter that if Israel, which has joined the 1957 European Extradition Convention, retains the right to refuse the extradition of its citizens, Lithuania will ask the Israeli authorities if it can take over Dusanskis' criminal prosecution.

According to evidence collected by Lithuanian prosecutors, Dusanskis participated in a large number of operations against the supporters of Lithuanian independence as an officer of the Soviet security police during World War Two and in the post-war period.

Among other things, Dusanskis is suspected of heading joint forces of the KGB staff and Soviet militia during the killing of Lithuania's last guerrilla, Antanas Kraujelis, in the central Utena district in March 1965.

In 2000, Israel said it could not render legal assistance requested by Lithuania to question Dusanskis, because this would be regarded as "discrimination against him."

After this statement, Lithuanian prosecutors decided to press genocide charges against Dusanskis in absentia.

The Riga-based Israeli Embassy to the three Baltic states said at the time that the extradition request was immediately and thoroughly discussed at the highest levels of Israel's justice ministry, adding that Lithuania's charges against Dusanskis raised "very serious and troubling concerns."

It added said that Israel held a list of over 20 high-ranking former Lithuanian officers "who served in senior positions in the KGB and NKVD and who presently reside in Lithuania, who were involved in the KGB actions described in the request, of a higher level of command than Dusanskis.

"Israel understands that no criminal proceedings have been commenced with respect to these Lithuanian nationals despite the fact that they are within Lithuanian jurisdiction," the embassy continued.

"The decision to proceed vigorously against Dusanskis while not proceeding at all against those Lithuanian nationals who served as his superiors in the KGB and who currently live in Lithuania, seems to be singling him out in a discriminatory manner."

It is thought that Dusanskis left for Israel in 1989, a year before the restoration of Lithuania's independence.

During the half-century Soviet rule in Lithuania, hundreds of thousands of Lithuanians were imprisoned in labor camps and prisons where many died from the unbearable working conditions.