Despite the more than 60 years that have passed since the Holocaust, the number of Nazi war criminals being convicted is on the rise, a report released Thursday by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles shows. Nineteen Nazi war criminals were convicted over the last year,up from 16 a year earlier and five the year before that, according to the center's seventh annual report. Fourteen of the 19 Nazis found guilty last year were convicted in absentia in Italy.
The report slams Germany, Austria and Poland for failing toachieve "any progress" against the war criminals over the lastyear despite hundreds of cases under investigation.
"While it is generally assumed that it is the age of the suspects that is the biggest obstacle to prosecution, in many cases it is the lack of political will, more than anything else, that has hindered the efforts to bring Holocaust perpetrators to justice, along with the mistaken notion that it was impossible at this point to locate, identify, and convict these criminals,"Zuroff said.
The center commends Italy for becoming the second most successful country, after the United States, in the prosecutionof Nazi war criminals, even if the Italian convictions were carried out in absentia and the criminals have yet to be extradited or to serve jail terms.