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Several cases of Nazi trials in Germany have made news recently, particularly in 2016, at which point Eliza Gray explored the factors leading to that confluence in a story for TIME.As she explained, for decades the German (and previously West German) penal code was “effectively treating deaths in the Holocaust like any other murder,” meaning that a guilty verdict required proof of personal culpability in a specific killing.The man’s family has denied he was involved in any war crimes.AP claimed Mr Karkoc was a founding member and lieutenant in the 2nd company of the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion (USDL) – a battalion organised and sponsored by the Nazi Schutzstaffel, led by the SS.
The USDL allegedly took part in war crimes against civilians in Ukraine and Poland.
That legal change has matched a more widespread evolution of thinking about genocide, by which the idea that “following orders” is essentially an excuse has faded.
Different justice systems have different standards as to what is required in order to prosecute and convict in such cases.
Though investigations continued, those who argued that “they had only been following orders” often got off in Germany, though in other countries “perhaps 1,000 camp personnel faced trials.” In recent years, however, German law has changed.
After the 2011 conviction of John Demjanjuk, in which it was held that he had come to the U. after serving as a guard at Sobibor, prosecutors saw that they could successfully go after those who had participated in the Holocaust for facilitating death, even if their personally committing a particular murder could not be proved.