| 17Jul2008 | IANS

Spain to seek extradition of Nazi war criminals from US

Spain's National Court will seek the extradition of four alleged Nazi war criminals from the US on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, the court announced Thursday [17Jul2008].

The Nizkor human rights group, acting on behalf of victims' families, had requested an investigation into accusations against John Demjanjuk, whom the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, an international Jewish human rights organization, regards as one of the top living Nazi war criminals.

The other suspects are Anton Tittjung, Josias Kumpf and Johann Leprich.

The four are suspected of 'participation in persecuting and punishing' prisoners they guarded at the concentration camps of Mauthausen, Sachsenhausen and Flossenburg, where more than 5,000 Spaniards died.

The suspects, all of whom are over 80 years old, moved illegally to the US, which has stripped them of US nationality after finding out about their past, according to Spanish judicial sources.

The Spanish judiciary deems itself competent to handle the case, because crimes such as genocide come under international jurisdiction, and because many of the victims were Spaniards.