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'I'm sorry for them.' Kepiro
Photo: AFP
Hungarian man charged with WW2 war crimes in Serbia
Prosecution says Sandor Kepiro took part in 1942 execution of thousands of Serbs, Jews in Novi Sad

A 96-year-old former Hungarian officer has been charged with involvement in the killing of about 1,000 civilians in Serbia during World War Two, the Budapest Prosecutors' Office said on Monday.

 

It said in a statement that Sandor Kepiro, who returned to Budapest from Argentina in 1996, had been charged with war crimes committed in the 1942 execution of civilians in Novi Sad.

 

Kepiro has denied any wrongdoing. The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which works to track down war criminals, has called for his prosecution for five years.

 


'Only because I was a police officer.' Kepiro (Photo: AFP)

 

Hungary launched an investigation into the case in 2007 and the current charges are based on documents obtained from archives in Hungary and Serbia, the prosecutors' office said.

 

"We had to request the documents from Belgrade in several rounds as it happened again and again that relevant new documents were found," said Gabriella Skoda, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors' office.

 

Skoda said it was unclear when the Budapest Court would start the trial. About a thousand civilians -- Serbs, Jews and Roma -- were killed in the 1942 Novi Sad massacre.

 

Parts of Serbia were occupied by Hungarian troops at the time as Hungary, which was allied with Nazi Germany, fought to recapture parts of its territory lost in World War One.

 

Kepiro has denied he committed or witnessed any crimes, saying his job was only to supervise gendarme patrols in a three-day raid against partisans in Novi Sad in 1942.

 

"I'm sorry for them, innocent people died there," he told Reuters in an interview in 2007. "But I did nothing for which I should have been indicted... I don't know why they find out these impossible things, only because I was a police officer."

 

 

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