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German Auschwitz trial: Justice system criticized by lawyers

Former SS officer Oskar Groening waits in a courtroom in Lueneburg, northern Germany, Wednesday July 8, 2015. German prosecutors sought a 3

BERLIN (AP) — Attorneys representing dozens of Auschwitz survivors and their relatives criticized the German justice system Wednesday, saying it moved far too slowly in bringing to trial a former SS sergeant who served at the death camp.

In closing arguments at Oskar Groening’s Lueneburg state court trial, attorney Cornelius Nestler questioned why it took 70 years after the end of World War II to try the 94-year-old on 300,000 counts of accessory to murder.

Groening has testified he guarded prisoners’ baggage after they arrived at Auschwitz, and collected money stolen from them. Prosecutors say that amounts to helping the death camp function.

Nestler said Groening could have been prosecuted anytime over the past decades, and accused the justice system of being more interested in avoiding such cases than bringing them to trial.

“Proceedings of this kind only materialize anymore where a willing, dedicated and fast-working prosecutor happens to encounter a willing court and where the accused is still able to stand trial,” he said.

Prosecutors have asked for 3

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