Wiesenthal Center says Nazi criminals go unpunished

  • 2002-04-11
  • Staff and wire reports

In a report released in Jerusalem, the Simon Wiesenthal Center said Estonia's attempts to prosecute Nazi war criminals of Estonian origin were insufficient and had failed.

The efforts the Estonian government have made to investigate and prosecute Nazi war criminals were categorized as "insufficient and unsuccessful" in the center's Annual Status Report on the Worldwide Investigation and Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals, issued on April 8 .

Despite the findings of the Estonian International Commi-sion on the participation of four Estonian police units in genocide and crimes against humanity during World War II, not a single new investigation has been initiated against any of the men who served in these units, reads the report.

Data on the convictions of Nazi war criminals obtained all over the world, new indictments filed, new investigations initiated and ongoing investigations are compiled in the report

Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Center's specialist who put together the report, pointed out a lack of clarity surrounding the special investigative commission to handle Nazi war crimes, which - according to former Prime Minister Mart Laar - was established last August.

"Such a commission, if run properly with the necessary resources, could make a significant contribution toward bringing Estonian Holocaust perpetrators to justice, but based on the response of the Estonian Security Police Board we have absolutely no idea if it is functioning and what, if anything, it has achieved," said Zuroff.

Zuroff pressed the Estonian authorities to maximize their efforts in bringing Estonian perpetrators of the Holocaust to justice while such work can still be done.