Soviets Protest U.S. Inaction on Extradition Request
MOSCOW (AP) _ The Foreign Ministry on Thursday complained to the American Embassy that the United States has ignored a 10-year-old request for extradition of a man the Soviet government says is a Nazi war criminal.
The official Tass news agency said the Soviet Union’s initial request for extradition of S.D. Kovalchuk was made May 7, 1976, and documentary evidence of his crimes during World War II was delivered to U.S. Justice Department officials in 1980.
″The American authorities still evade meeting the legitimate demand for the extradition of war criminal S.D. Kovalchuk, and continue harboring him in the United States,″ Tass quoted the protest note as saying.
″It is well known to the U.S. authorities that Kovalchuk took a direct part in the extermination of Soviet citizens on the territory of the Volyn region that was temporarily occupied by Nazi invaders,″ it said.
The Volyn region is in the northwestern Ukraine near the border with Poland.
The protest note added: ″The Soviet side insists that the U.S. adopt at last measures for the immediate extradition of Kovalchuk to the Soviet authorities for him to be put on trial for the grave crimes against humanity.″
It gave no details of Kovalchuk’s alleged crimes.
In Washington, Justice Department spokesman John Russell said the Soviets were referring to Serge Kovalchuk of Philadelphia. He noted that there is no extradition treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Russell said a denaturalization order for Kovalchuk was issued some time ago. Kovalchuk appealed to the Supreme Court but was turned down. The government then instituted deportation proceedings against him that are pending, with no date set yet for a hearing before a U.S. immigration judge.
In a separate commentary titled ″When the U.S. Judiciary Look Away,″ Tass accused the United States of sheltering Nazi war criminals who could help the CIA in drawing up plans for ″rolling back communism.″
″Alongside 10,000 other Nazi criminals, the traitor and butcher Kovalchuk fled after the route of Hitler Germany to the United States where everyone who proclaimed hatred for the Soviet Union was given a hospitable welcome,″ Tass said.
The Soviet Union won extradition of another accused war criminal, Fyodor Fedorenko, from the United States in December 1984. Soviet media have not reported on that case, but Ukrainian officials who were asked about Fedorenko at a news conference here in February said preparations for his trial were still under way.
The Soviet Union was last reported to have carried out death sentences for war crimes in December 1984, when three men were executed.