- Title: ITALY: FORMER GERMAN SS OFFICER ERICH PRIEBKE ATTENDS PRELIMINARY COURT HEARING
- Date: 7th December 1995
- Summary: ROME, ITALY (DECEMBER 7, 1995) RTV (A) - ACCESS ALL 1. SV EXTERIOR COURT BUILDING 0.06 2. SV GERMAN FORMER SS OFFICER ERICH PRIEBKE ARRIVES AT ROME'S MILITARY COURT IN POLICE TRUCK 0.14 3. SV PRIEBKE ESCORTED ALONG CORRIDOR BY POLICE 0.36 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
- Embargoed: 22nd December 1995 12:00
- Location: ROME, ITALY
- Country: Italy
- Reuters ID: LVADC3U5LVKVLQUOUD8L9C38Z4R3
- Story Text: A preliminary court hearing that will decide whether to put German former SS officer Erich Priebke on trial for the deaths of 335 people in Italy's worst World War Two atrocity opened in Rome on Thursday (December 7).
Priebke, 82, arrived at the court from a military prison under Carabinieri paramilitary police guard about one hour before the hearing began.
Last month he was flown under police escort to Italy from Argentina, where he had lived openly since 1948, after losing an 18-month battle against extradition.
Priebke has admitted a part in the killings, carried out at the Ardeatine Caves south of Rome in 1944 in reprisal for a partisan bomb attack on occupying German forces, but says he was following orders. Seventy-five of the victims were Jews.
The military prosecutor in the case, victims' families and Jewish groups, alleges Priebke was one of the chief planners of the massacre.
Complications at Thursday's hearing have arisen over an attempt by victims' families and other groups to play a role in a forthcoming trial. There is no precedent for civil plaintiffs in military trials in Italy and the issue was expected to be referred to the country's Constitutional Court for a ruling.
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