An Australian accused of war crimes during the Second World War has won an appeal against a decision to extradite him to Hungary. Australia’s Federal Court has ruled that Charles Zentai, 88, should not be sent to Hungary to face allegations of war crimes because of his age and ill health.
Charles Zentai is accused of murdering a Jewish teenager in November 1944 in Budapest while serving as a warrant officer in the army of his native Hungary.
The 88-year-old migrant, who moved to Australia after the war, has always denied the allegations, insisting that he had left the Hungarian capital the day before the young man was killed.
The allegations against Zentai were initially brought by the Jewish human rights group, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which is dedicated to hunting down Nazi war criminals.
It listed Zentai as one of its 10 most-wanted suspects, alleging that the elderly man had previously taken part in the “persecution and murder” of Jews in Budapest in 1944.
The center has called on the Australian government to appeal the court’s ruling that the suspect should not be extradited.
The argument that a defendant’s age or health can rule out a trial is controversial. It is an argument which seems to be mainly used in cases of international justice.
Since when did crimes against humanity have a time limit?