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Court to decide on war-time criminal Csatáry’s sentence in September

The Košice Regional Court will decide on September 26 how László Csatáry (aged 98) will serve his life sentence. Csatáry, who lives in Budapest, was sentenced for war-crimes dating back to the Second World War, the TASR newswire wrote.

The Košice Regional Court will decide on September 26 how László Csatáry (aged 98) will serve his life sentence. Csatáry, who lives in Budapest, was sentenced for war-crimes dating back to the Second World War, the TASR newswire wrote.

The nature of his sentence should have been decided on July 11 but the defendant failed to attend the trial, and there was some uncertainty over whether he had received the subpoena.

Meanwhile, the Budapest appellate court ordered a lower-instance Hungarian court to renew the trial with Csatáry, which was suspended a month ago. The SITA newswire quotes the public RTVS Radio and Television as claiming that the lower-instance Budapest court halted the trial on the basis that Csatáry had already been sentenced to death for his war crimes in 1948 by the then Czechoslovak court, and that his sentence was changed to life imprisonment in spring 2013 by a Slovak court. RTVS doubts whether these sentences are valid in Hungary, and if they are, whether Csatáry could serve out his sentence there. Budapest’s Prosecutor’s Office appealed this ruling and argued that the Czechoslovak (or the Slovak) verdict is not registered in the European Registry. RTVS expect Csatáry to stand trial in autumn 2013 for the first time (the Czechoslovak and Slovak verdicts were pronounced in absentia).

Csatáry, now 98, served as a commander in the Košice Jewish ghetto during WWII and is suspected of assisting in the murder of as many as 15,700 Jews who were deported from Košice (then under Hungarian occupation, and known as Kassa) to concentration camps. According to the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Csatáry also played a key role in the deportation of 300 Košice inhabitants to Ukraine, where most of them were killed in the summer of 1941 in the town of Kamenyets Podilsky.

Košice police are still investigating Csatáry’s war crimes, including the case of imprisonment and deportation of a Košice inhabitant, aged 17, to forced labour in Germany in January 1945. The criminal complaint was filed by the son of the victim last August and Csatáry has not been prosecuted for this case. A Czechoslovak court sentenced him to death in absentia back in 1948. He fled to Canada and lived abroad, but the UK’s Sun newspaper tracked him down in Budapest last July. The Košice Regional Court on January 31, 2013 changed his original death sentence to a life sentence.

(Source: TASR, SITA, RTVS)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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