LTE: The Demjanjuk Deportation
Opinion; Posted on: 2009-06-27 19:33:42 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
It is understandable that journalists might misunderstand basic legal
principles. It is not excusable for law professors to do so.
Professor Harry Reicher is wrong about John Demjanjuk and wrong about
the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations (which
he mistakenly calls the Office of Special Prosecutions). ["Demjanjuk deportation: a milestone," NLJ, June 8.]
The U.S. government has indeed pursued John Demjanjuk for more than
three decades. The old adage "justice must be seen to be done" is a
good starting point.
For the first decade and one-half, that pursuit consisted of the
DOJ committing fraud on the courts of the United States and Israel.
This fraud, documented by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th
Circuit, consisted of the DOJ failing to disclose documents that showed
that Demjanjuk was not "Ivan the Terrible," a brutal Treblinka guard.
Based on the fraudulent evidence, Demjanjuk was extradited to Israel
and sentenced to death. His family uncovered the truth, and the Israel
Supreme Court acquitted him.
Israel's attorney general said that the acquittal barred prosecution
for other offenses, including the ones now being pressed in Germany.
Ironically, at that time, the Office of Special Investigations (OSI)
allowed Jacob Tannenbaum, a 77-year-old admitted brutal Jewish kapo, to
live out his life at home in the United States due to age and health
Despite the Israeli result, and two independent U.S. court findings
of fraud, the OSI has never apologized to anyone, let alone Demjanjuk
and his family, nor offered compensation. Nor were the perpetrators of
the fraud punished or even reprimanded. Today, with a blind eye to the
case history, Professor Reicher hails these perpetrators of fraud as
News Source: national law journal