June 21, 2011
Alleged war criminal dies in Austrian retirement home
An alleged Nazi war criminal has died in an Austrian retirement home.
Milivoj Ašner, 98, died Monday in the Carinthian city of Klagenfurt, the English-language Austrian Independent reported. As the chief of police in the Croatian town of Pozega during World War II, Ašner allegedly ordered the deportation of local Jews, Serbs and Roma to concentration camps run by the Croatian fascist Ustasha regime.
He moved to Austria and after the war became an Austrian citizen.
The Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center criticized Austrian authorities for failing to bring Ašner to justice.
“The recent death of Milivoj Ašner in Austria unprosecuted for his crimes, is a travesty of justice which reinforces the total failure of the Austrian judicial authorities to adequately deal with the issue of Nazi war criminals during the past more than three decades,” Ephraim Zuroff, the center’s chief Nazi hunter, said in a statement.
Zuroff said that Austrian authorities had mishandled the case.
“To Croatia’s credit, they asked for his extradition from Austria in 2005, but Ašner was able to escape justice due to faulty handling of his case by the Austrian authorities, who instead of doing everything possible to bring him to justice allowed sympathetic doctors to prevent his prosecution by declaring him unfit for trial, although he gave numerous media interviews in which he described his past in a very lucid manner,” he said.