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Supreme Court orders retrial for WWII massacres

Judges uphold life sentences against three former Nazi officials

20 March, 13:40
Supreme Court orders retrial for WWII massacres (ANSA) - Rome, March 20 - The supreme Court of Cassation on Wednesday upheld a guilty verdict against three former Nazi officials and ordered a new appeals-level trial for them and a further two for their roles in the deaths of hundreds of civilians in central Italy during World War II.

The all-female college of judges confirmed the life sentences handed down by a military appeals tribunal in October 2012 to Hans Georg Karl Winkler, 92, Alfred Luhmann, 89, and Wilhelm Stark, 93, all members of the Hermann Goering division, for their part in two massacres in the Spring of 1944 at Monchio, Susano and Costrignano and Monte Falterona in the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines, in which over 350 civilians including many elderly people, women and children died. The judges also ordered a new appeals-level trial against two former colleagues, Helmut Odenwald, 95, and Erich Koeppe, 95, for their part in two other civilian massacres at Monte Morello near Florence and Mommio di Fivizzano near Massa Carrara, which took place in the same period.

Odenwald and Koeppe were both acquitted in the 2012 trial, along with a sixth defendant, Ferdinand Osterhaus, who has since died, effectively leaving the Monte Morello and Mommio di Fivizzano massacres without culprits.

The new appeals trial will also establish whether Odenwald and Koeppe were involved in the Monchio, Susano and Costrignano and Monte Falterona massacres and whether Winkler, Stark and Luhmann were involved in the Monte Morello and Mommio di Fivizzano massacres.

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