Nazi murder trial: Ex-SS man Siert Bruins in German court

Siert Bruins, 2 Sept
Image caption Due to Siert Bruins' age, court proceedings are limited to three hours a day

Former SS officer Siert Bruins, 92, has appeared in court in Germany accused of murdering a Dutch resistance fighter some 70 years ago.

He could face a life sentence if found guilty over the death of Aldert Klaas Dijkema in September 1944.

The incident occurred when Mr Bruins, a Dutch-born German, was stationed on the Dutch-German border.

The trial - which is taking place in the western town of Hagen - is one of the last of its kind in Germany.

Mr Bruins, originally from Groningen in the north-east of the Netherlands, is one of the last suspected Nazi criminals to be detained in Germany.

Another former SS officer, Heinrich Boere, began a life sentence in December 2011 for murdering three Dutch civilians during World War II.

'Shot in back'

Mr Bruins is accused of shooting Aldert Klaas Dijkema, who had been captured, four times in the back, in September 1944 in the Appingedam area east of Groningen.

Although he has already admitted being at the scene, he said he was not the person who pulled the trigger.

When confronted by a reporter for a German TV programme, he said he had been marching beside the prisoner when the shots rang out.

He is accused over the death along with an alleged accomplice who has since died.

After the war, Mr Bruins lived in Germany but the authorities refused to extradite him to face charges in the Netherlands, the BBC's Stephen Evans in Berlin reports.

Separately, in 1980, he was sentenced by a German court to seven years in prison for the murder of two Jewish brothers.

The prosecutor in Dortmund said at the opening of the trial that the defendant's age should not prevent the pursuit of justice.

Mr Bruins became a German citizen in 1943 under the so-called Fuehrer's Decree, which conferred German nationality on all foreigners who worked for the Nazis, our correspondent says.

Accordingly, after the war, Germany refused to extradite him to the Netherlands to face trial, he reports.

More on this story