The world’s most wanted Nazi war crimes suspect has gone on trial in Hungary. 97-year-old Hungarian Sandor Kepiro struggled into the Budapest court to face charges over the murder of 36 Jews and Serbs in Serbia during the 1940s.
Kepiro is accused of ‘‘complicity in war crimes’‘, something he vehemently denies. Describing the proceedings as a circus he said:
“I am completely innocent. I am the last living one, there’s no one else, everyone is dead.”
Kepiro was tracked down by Nazi hunters the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. Efraim Zuroff, head of the organisation said.
“He’s the oldest Nazi war criminal who has ever been put on trial. And I think that sends an important message that if you commit crimes like this, even decades later there will be an effort to bring you to justice.”
Outside the court, some 30 students protested, calling for justice for the hundreds of victims of the Novi Sad massacre in 1942.
A former military officer, Kepiro was convicted for taking part in the killings in Novi Sad two years later in 1944. However, his conviction was later quashed by Hungary’s then fascist government. Kepiro fled to Argentina and stayed there for decades before returning back to Hungary.
Teodor Kovac, survived the slaughter, but lost fifteen members of his family.
“Satisfaction is always a kind of gratification, he, (referring to Sandor Kepiro) must be punished, regardless of his age, he is now 96, 97, this hurts as long as the man is alive, so let’s hurt him as well for what happened. Is this revenge, in a way it is punishment and a warning for others,” Kovac said.
In all, it is thought around 1200 civilians were shot dead and later tossed into the river Danube.