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August 5, 2009

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Nazi hit man to finally face trial

Admitted Nazi hit man Heinrich Boere will go on trial in October for the execution-style killings of three Dutch civilians during World War II, a German court spokesman said yesterday.

The Aachen State Court has scheduled 13 court sessions for Boere's trial on three counts of murder, to begin on October 28 and run through December 18, spokesman Georg Winkel said.

Boere, 88, was ruled fit to stand trial last month, despite suffering medical problems. A Cologne appeals court overturned a lower court's decision earlier this year not to put him on trial.

It was not yet clear whether the trial sessions would be limited in length in deference to Boere's age and health issues, Winkel said, though that is usually the case in such situations. He said more trial dates could be added if necessary.

Boere's attorney, Gordon Christiansen, was not available for comment.

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 killings for resistance attacks.

Boere was 18 when he joined the Waffen SS - the fanatical military organization faithful to Adolf Hitler's ideology - at the end of 1940, only months after the Netherlands had fallen to the Nazi blitzkrieg.

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 that he might have German citizenship. Germany had no provision then to extradite nationals.

An Aachen court ruled in 2007 that Boere could legally serve his Dutch sentence in Germany, but an appeals court in Cologne overturned that ruling, calling the 1949 conviction invalid because Boere had fled to Germany.


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