Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lithuanian War Crimes Trial Proceeds




VILNIUS, Lithuania -- The trial against alleged Nazi war criminal Kazys Gimzauskas will proceed despite a medical panel's ruling that he is mentally unfit to participate, a prosecutor said Tuesday.


The court will reconvene Sept. 11 to hear the case against the 92-year-old genocide suspect who is accused of sending Jews to their deaths when he was an officer in the Vilnius security police during the 1941-44 Nazi occupation.


Prosecutor Rimvyvas Valentukevicius said he would press his case without the defendant.


"The court should decide whether Gimzauskas committed a crime, but we shall not sentence him due to his mental incompetence," Valentukevicius said Tuesday. "It doesn't matter if the person isn't punished, the historical justice will be established."


Gimzauskas, who has pleaded innocent, first faced trial in 1998, but it was suspended for medical reasons before he ever appeared in court. The trial resumed in late April under new legislation allowing for war crimes trials to be held in absentia.


But defense lawyer Valentinas Staugaitis argued that his client was not mentally fit to stand trial and insisted on a series of tests to prove it. A medical panel ruled last week that Gimzauskas was too sick to understand the facts of the case or the aim of his punishment.


Gimzauskas emigrated to the United States in 1956 and lived in St. Petersburg, Florida. He returned to Lithuania in 1994 after a U.S. court moved to strip him of his citizenship for lying about his Nazi past.