Germany can prosecute ex-SS man living in America, court rules
Berlin says Michael Karkoc held a ‘German office’ even though he is not German and his alleged crimes were not committed on German soil
BERLIN — Germany’s highest criminal court has ruled that the country has jurisdiction over the case of a retired Minnesota carpenter that an Associated Press investigation exposed as a former commander in a Nazi SS-led unit.
The Federal Court of Justice said in its ruling published Thursday that 95-year-old Michael Karkoc’s service as a commander in the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion made him the “holder of a German office.” This gives Germany the legal right to prosecute him even though he is not German, his alleged crimes were against non-Germans and they were not committed on German soil.
Someone in that role “served the purposes of the Nazi state’s world view,” the court said.