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Milivoj Ašner (born 21 April 1913) is a former police chief in the Independent State of Croatia who enforced racist laws under Croatia's Nazi-allied Ustaša regime, which murdered hundreds of thousands of Serbs, Jews and Roma. He currently resides in Austria.

Ašner fled to Austria at the end of the war in 1945 and adopted the name George Aschner. In 2005, Croatia indicted Ašner for crimes against humanity[1] and war crimes in the city of Požega in 1941 - 1942. In February 2006, Austrian judicial officials said they were close to deciding on whether to arrest Ašner.

Austrian officials initially ruled he could not be handed over to Croatian authorities because he held Austrian citizenship.[1] However, subsequent investigations by the state attorney's office in the province of Carinthia where Ašner lives revealed that he no longer holds citizenship in Austria.

He remains on Interpol's most wanted list,[2] and is considered by the Simon Wiesenthal Center as the number 4 most wanted Nazi at large.[3],[4]

In June, 2008, journalists reported that, despite the Austrian government's claims that he is in poor health, he appeared to be physically fit based on his presence at a European Championship football match involving Croatia in Klagenfurt, where he lives.[5] This has prompted renewed calls for his extradition to Croatia.[6] However, Carinthia Governor Joerg Haider praised Ašner's family and said of Ašner that "he's lived peacefully among us for years, and he should be able to live out the twilight of his life with us". This provoked further criticism, with Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center saying that Haider's views reflected "the political atmosphere which exists in Austria and which in certain circles is extremely sympathetic to suspected Nazi war criminals".[1]

In an interview that aired in Croatia on 19 June 2008, Ašner said that he was involved in deportations, but maintained that those who were deported were taken not to death camps, as is generally believed, but to their homelands instead. He said that his conscience was clear and that he was willing to go on trial in Croatia, but also asserted that his health was a problem. In an examination in the same week, it was again decided that he was mentally unfit. However, Zuroff expressed the suspicion that Ašner was pretending or exaggerating regarding his condition.[1]

See also

References and External links

  1. ^ a b c d "Praise for 'treasured' Nazi suspect revives accusations that Austria is sheltering him", Associated Press (International Herald Tribune), 20 June 2008.
  2. ^ Ašner's entry in Interpol Wanted list
  3. ^ Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC)'s Annual Report and Most Wanted List, released 30 April 2008, accessed 2008-06-17
  4. ^ "Fugitive Hunt", Dateline World Jewry, World Jewish Congress, July/August 2008
  5. ^ Brian Flynn, "We find wanted Nazi at footie", The Sun (UK), 16 June 2008.
  6. ^ SWC's news release of 16 June 2008 - "Wiesenthal Center Urges Immediate Extradition of Wanted Nazi Revealed in Good Health in Austria"


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