Slovakia's Jewish community said Wednesday it wanted alleged Nazi-era war criminal Laszlo Csatary, detained last week in neighbouring Hungary, to stand trial on Slovak soil for alleged crimes he committed against Jews in a former Hungarian province.
Csatary is accused of organising the World War II deportation to their deaths of some 16,000 Jews from the ghetto of Kosice in present-day southeast Slovakia while serving as a police officer there in 1944.
The 97 year-old most-wanted Holocaust-era alleged Nazi was located by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre earlier this month and detained by Hungarian authorities last week, charged with “unlawful torture of human beings”.
"We are calling on Slovak authorities to ask for Csatary's extradition to Slovakia so that he can stand trial here," Jaroslav Franek, spokesman for the Federation of Jewish Communities, said.
His arrest followed global appeals from the Jewish community for justice to be served on the suspected war criminal, who now faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Slovakia’s Justice Minister declared it is studying the case to determine how best to proceed.
Csatary, full name Laszlo Csizsik-Csatary, helped run the Jewish ghetto in Kosice, a town that was visited in April 1944 by Adolf Eichmann, a key figure in the Nazis' Final Solution, the Wiesenthal Center says.
While there between 1941 and 1944, Csatary beat and brutalized Jews and sent 16,000 to their deaths in Ukraine and to the gas chambers at the Auschwitz extermination camp, it said.
In 1948, a court in then-Czechoslovakia condemned Csatary to death in absentia, but he made it to Canada where he lived and worked as an art dealer before being stripped of his citizenship there in the 1990s.
He ended up in Budapest where he has lived freely ever since, until the Wiesenthal Center alerted Hungarian authorities last year.
British tabloid The Sun focused attention on his case with a report at the weekend after tracking down the old man, photographing him and confronting him at his front door.