A former Nazi SS member has testified via video link from the Netherlands in the German trial of a comrade from his unit accused of three murders in 1944.
An accomplice of Heinrich Boere, the former Nazi SS member on trial for murdering Dutch civilians during World War II, has testified that the SS were afraid of what would happen if they didn't follow orders.
Dutchman Jacobus Petrus Besteman testified on Friday by video link from the Netherlands.
"All those who participated were afraid of not following orders. It was very dangerous," he told the state court in the western German border city of Aachen.
Besteman added, however, that he never witnessed officers being punished for not following execution orders.
Only following orders
Boere was sentenced in absentia by a special post-war tribunal in Amsterdam in 1949.
Germany, though, refused to extradite the former SS member, saying it was unable to determine Boere's nationality. The 88-year-old was born in the western German town of Eschweiler, but his family moved to the Netherlands when he was two.
He told the court he volunteered for the SS in 1940 and served on the Eastern Front and in the Netherlands.
Boere admitted on the stand that he was involved in the 1944 killing of three civilians in the Dutch towns of Breda, Voorschoten and Wassenaar.
He has confessed to the three killings on previous occasions, claiming that he was merely following orders.
"Yes, I got rid of them," he told Focus magazine in 2008. "It was not difficult. You just had to bend a finger."
If convicted the wheelchair-bound Boere, who lives in a nursing home, is facing the rest of his life behind bars.
Editor: Tony Dunham
Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was jailed for a decade on grounds condemned as politically motivated, has applied for residency in Switzerland. He was freed in December, after German intervention.
A makeshift border is now under construction between Ukraine's mainland and its Crimean peninsula. While it might be a sign of Russian confidence in Crimea, for now the ad-hoc "crossing" has the makings of a farce.
Borussia Mönchengladbach have confirmed Marc-Andre ter Stegen will leave Borussia-Park this summer - probably to join FC Barcelona. Yann Sommer from FC Basel will be his successor.