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ePoshta | 28Mar2012 | Editorial

What John Demjanjuk's trials told us about ourselves

When the law or the practice of it loses its integrity and humaneness, it becomes a parody of justice and inevitably receives history's denunciation. This has already begun in the case of John Demjanjuk's trials. Because guilt was proclaimed by failing "to follow elementary rules of fairness, due process and the rule of law", then participants in that process and supporters of it should not demean us and humanity any longer by attempting to justify their complicity (e.g. What John Demjanjuk could have told us by Stephen Paskey, who served as lead attorney on the U.S. government’s deportation case against Demjanjuk.

As have so many others, international immigration lawyer Andriy Semotiuk voices what many consider will be history's unforgiving judgement: In the end, however, this case was not really about the trial of Ivan Demjanjuk. It was about the trial of modern-day Germany, of Israel before that, and by extension, since the case started there, of the United States. In their desire to condemn the transgressions of Germany’s past, the prosecutors and judges in the Demjanjuk case, from its beginnings in the United States to Munich, failed to follow elementary rules of fairness, due process and the rule of law. They employed immigration instead of criminal rules to lower the standard of proof for the prosecution, they knowingly withheld key evidence from the defence and were found by a U.S. appeals court to have committed prosecutorial misconduct, they deported instead of extradited Demjanjuk to Germany, they invented new theories of guilt unknown to the law and detached from personal responsibility and they allowed the case to be politicized to become a show trial over and over again.

Read more below in ePOSHTA:

But John (Iван) Demjanjuk has the last word …

DECLARATION of the accused John Demjanjuk

(On John Demjanjuk's behalf, this Declaration was read in the German language by his attorney, Dr. Ulrich Busch, during the April 13th 2010 public court session in Munich, Germany.)

I am grateful to all the people who help me in a helpless patient - both in prison and in the courtroom. So I especially thank the medical staff that facilitates my pain and helps me through this trial, which is torture for me.

In fact, I want to point out the following:

  1. Germany is to blame for that because of its war of attrition against the Soviet Union, I lost my house and my home.
  2. Germany is to blame for that because of her I became a prisoner of war.
  3. Germany is guilty of creating camps for prisoners of war, where the deliberate restriction of food, I and millions of other prisoners of war were condemned to starvation, and only with God's help I survived.
  4. Germany is to blame for forcing me to become a servant in the German POW camp.
  5. Germany is guilty of during the war, in which 11 million of my fellow Ukrainian Germans were killed and many more millions - including my beloved wife Vera - were taken to Germany for forced labor and slavery.
  6. Germany is guilty of thousands and forced hundreds of thousands of my fellow citizens without their consent, become complicit Germans in wild plans for the genocide of Jews, Roma, Gypsies, Slavs, Ukrainian, Polish and Russian.
    It did so by threatening death to those hundreds and thousands who did not want to take this part and who was killed by a German. Moreover, hundreds of thousands of people were deported and executed by Stalin or felt very painful decades in Siberian HULAZi and worked as slaves for the Communists.
  7. Germany is to blame for forcing me to a marginal existence in the camp of displaced persons still years after the war.
  8. Germany is to blame for my forced deportation to Germany toward the end of life in 90 years.And this after 30 years of legal proceedings in Israel, USA and Poland - as well as after 10 years in prison, 5 of which I spent on death row in Israel.
  9. I blame Germany that she nominated me against false accusations of complicity in murder and the charges were filed at the end of my life and strength - in violation of law on claims for persons over 65 years, and in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
  10. I blame Germany in that it forced me to live more than 9 months in jail Shtadelhaym - prisoner, though not convicted.
  11. I blame Germany that I ever lost my second home - United States - without a chance to return.
  12. I blame Germany that I lost all sense of his life, his family, happiness, and any hope for the future.

Every minute, every hour, every day and every month I feel like a prisoner of war in Germany. I feel this process as an extension of my terrible memories of the Germans, as a continuation of unspeakable iniquity caused me the Germans. Again I'm an innocent victim of the Germans.

It seems extremely unfair that Germany is using the court makes me a prisoner of war for war criminal.

Is intolerable arrogance of Germany, using me to distract attention from war crimes committed by the Germans, that these crimes have been forgotten and to falsely declare - say, the real perpetrators of crimes nations were I, Ukrainian and other European neighbors of Nazi Germany.

I believe that this court, which shall only me, a foreigner in the camp Travniki in violation of the principles of equal treatment of the Germans-SS members and many other Germans in Travnik, has nothing to do with the principles of justice and law.

I already had to defend himself in Israel - from the Munich prosecutor's charges. In Israel, I was accused of complicity in Nazi crimes in the camp of Sobibor.

Israeli High Court held that allegations of Israeli prosecutors did not prove - with removal of the sentence was based on that I was arrested more than 7.5 years. Of these five years I spent on death row.

I feel incompatible with justice and humanity, that more than 35 years, I was forced to defend themselves as constantly persecuted by the Office of Special Investigations U.S. Department of Justice and the World Jewish Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.

Now at the end of his life and energy, made the 30th or 40th trial of the same things - and I have no strength to fight. I am helpless against this judicial war that is now the Office of Special Investigations U.S. intercepted Germany.

My beloved wife, Vera Demjanjuk, with whom I lived in wedlock 50 years old, also suffered in Germany. That the Germans deprived my wife of his youth, taking force in Germany for many years of forced labor.

The suffering that we have been through the German war of extermination of the Slavs, it is difficult to describe. Why do Germany and again decides to torment me and my family - is to me incomprehensible."

John Demjanjuk

[W.Z. Read xoxol.org version.]