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Heinrich Boere

This case summary is being revised and will be updated soon

Court Federal Constitutional Court / Bundesverfassungsgericht, Germany
Case number 2 BvR 1724/09
Decision title Decision on application for judicial review of decision
Decision date 6 October 2009
  • The State Prosecutor
  • Heinrich Boere
Categories War crimes
Keywords extradition, judicial cooperation, Murder, war crimes
Other countries involved
  • The Netherlands
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Procedural history

In 1949 a Tribunal in Amsterdam sentenced Boere to death in absentia, a sentence which was later reduced to life imprisonment. In 1983, in response to a request by the Netherlands, Germany refused to extradite Boere, after it could not determine whether he was German or stateless, with Germany having no legal provision to extradite its nationals. In 2007, a court in Aachen ruled that Boere could serve the sentence handed down in 1949 in Germany, but this decision was overruled on appeal after the Cologne appeals court found that the trial had violated fair trial norms.

In 2008, Boere was indicted by the State Prosecutor of Dortmund (Staatsanwaltschaft Dortmund). However, on 7 January 2009, the District Court of Aachen (Landgerichts Aachen) ruled that Boere was medically unfit to stand trial. Nevertheless, on 7 July 2009, the decision was overruled by the Higher Regional Court of Cologne (Oberlandesgericht Köln). Boere appealed to the German Federal Constitutional Court (das Bundesverfassungsgericht) for judicial review of the decision, arguing that a trial would be in violation of his human rights.

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Related developments

Eventually, the trial of Heinrich Boere began on 28 October 2009 in Aachen, Germany and was ended by a decision on 24 March 2010, sentencing Boere again to life imprisonment. The appeal, filed by the defence, was rejected on 21 December 2010. Boere served his sentence in a German prison, until his death on 2 December 2013.

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Legally relevant facts

During the Second World War Heinrich Boere was a member of the ‘Silbertanne’ Nazi Schutztaffel (SS) death squads composed of Dutch SS members. During ‘Operation Silbertanne’ civilians suspected of involvement in the Dutch resistance movement were assassinated in reprisal for attacks on Nazi collaborators. Heinrich Boere is accused of the murder of three Dutch men: Fritz Bicknese, Teun de Groot, and Frans Kusters. After his capture and incarceration in a prisoner of war camp, Boere escaped and fled to Germany.

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Court's holding and analysis

On 6 October 2009, Germany’s highest court ruled to dismiss his appeal, saying that the Cologne court had given sufficient consideration to his human right to life in deciding that the case could proceed.

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Related cases


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Additional materials

  • Press ReleaseOberlandesgericht Köln (Higher Regional Court of Cologne), 7 July 2009