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German court rules Nazi suspect fit to be tried

ADMITTED Nazi hit man Heinrich Boere will stand trial for murder in Germany for the execution-style killings of three Dutch civilians during World War II, a court ruled yesterday after years of legal wrangling.

A Cologne appeals court ruled that the 88-year-old is fit for trial despite medical problems, overruling a lower court's decision this year.

Dortmund prosecutor Ulrich Maass, who brought the charges against Boere, said that no more appeals were possible.

Boere is accused of the 1944 killings of three men in the Netherlands when he was a member of a Waffen SS death squad that targeted civilians in reprisal for resistance attacks.

In January, the Aachen state court ruled he was not fit to stand trial on the charges, after hearing he suffered a serious heart condition.

Maass appealed, saying that he should be made to answer for his crimes. In overturning the lower court's ruling, the Cologne court interviewed caregivers from the retirement home where Boere lives and concluded he could stand trial.

The son of a Dutch man and German woman, Boere was 18 when he joined the Waffen SS months after the Netherlands had fallen to the Nazi blitzkrieg in 1940.

Boere was sentenced to death in absentia by a Dutch court in 1949, later commuted to life imprisonment.

The Netherlands has sought Boere's extradition, but a German court refused it in 1983 on grounds he might have German citizenship. Germany at the time had no provision to extradite its nationals.

Maass reopened the case, relying heavily on statements to Dutch police preserved in the court file in which Boere details the killings, almost gunshot by gunshot.

Boere also gave an interview to the Dutch Algemeen Dagblad newspaper in 2006 in which he recalled slaying bicycle-shop owner Teun de Groot.

"I didn't feel anything; it was work," he said. "Orders were orders; otherwise it would have meant my skin. Later it began to bother me. Now I'm sorry."


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