German prosecutors drop case against Nazi war crimes suspect

Lawyers say 94-year-old former SS officer is unable to stand trial for health reasons

BERLIN — German prosecutors say they are dropping their investigation of a former SS officer suspected of war crimes in Italy.

Prosecutors in Stuttgart say a criminal prosecution is no longer possible because the 94-year-old is unable to stand trial for health reasons.

Wilhelm Kusterer was sentenced in absentia to lifetime imprisonment by an Italian court in 2008 after a court there found him guilty of participating in the 1944 Marzabotto massacre of some 770 people.

Stuttgart prosecutors spokesman Jan Holzner said Wednesday that the facts of the case would also be insufficient for a conviction in Germany.

Holzner said that unlike the Italian court, the German legal system wouldn’t consider membership of an SS division proof someone had been involved in a massacre that was carried out by the unit.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.

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