There's a fascinating article today in the New York Times about a 100 year old German who is being charged with 3,518 murders during the time he served as an SS guard at a concentration camp in WWII. Recently a 94 year old woman was charged, who worked as a secretary at a camp while a teenager, and last year a 93 year old man was charged with murder. Since the two in their 90s were teenagers at the time, they were tried in juvenile court.
From the article:
“It took a long time, which has not made things any easier, because now we are dealing with such elderly defendants,” said Cyrill Klement, a prosecutor in Neuruppin, whose office pressed charges against the 100-year-old man. “But murder and accessory to murder have no statute of limitation.”
“These cases are important contextually, but also symbolically,” said Axel Drecoll, director of the Brandenburg Memorials Foundation, which includes the Sachsenhausen and Ravensbrück concentration camps. “It shows that the German justice system takes seriously and continues to pursue these crimes. It is eminently important.”
I find this very compelling in light of what is going on in the United States this week. There are those who argue that, because the former president is out of power there is no point in trying him for his crimes. To that I would echo the words above: it is important contextually, but also symbolically. It shows that the American justice system takes seriously and continues to pursue these crimes. It is eminently important.
Now, I'm not saying that the charges against the former president equate with those of the Holocaust, but they are, however, the most serious charges ever levied against a U.S. president. Prosecuting them is important symbolically and is eminently important.