What is next for Michael Karkoc after Nazi SS allegations? - KMSP-TV

What is next for Michael Karkoc after Nazi SS allegations?

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Michael Karkoc, photographed in Lauderdale, Minn. prior to a visit to Minnesota from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in early June of 1990. (AP) Michael Karkoc, photographed in Lauderdale, Minn. prior to a visit to Minnesota from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in early June of 1990. (AP)
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

A 94-year-old Minneapolis man is accused of commanding a Nazi SS-led unit during World War II, and FOX 9 News spoke with a legal expert about what comes next for Michael Karkoc.

Will he be deported? Will he face trial for war crimes? All are questions waiting to be answered as the complex investigations begin -- but they may take years to be answered.

The Associated Press broke the story days ago, and has provided documents that reportedly show Karkoc was a leader of the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, something he apparently admitted in war memoirs he published nearly 20 years ago in his native country.

The group fought on the side of the Nazis and is accused of atrocious war crimes in Poland and Ukraine, including burning villages with women and children inside. While Karkoc hasn't been linked directly to those attacks, evidence allegedly puts him at the scene.

Yet, when Karkoc entered the U.S. in 1949, records obtained by the Associated Press show he claimed he did not serve in the military during the war. If he misrepresented himself to obtain citizenship nearly 65 years ago, that would likely spark American action against him.

"That is standard ground for revoking citizenship," said Fred Morrison, law professor at the University of Minnesota.

Morrison, an expert in constitutional and international law, explained that the government would likely begin deportation hearings even though the process is time consuming. At Karkoc's advanced age, he may not live to see them to completion.

"It's a couple years, at least," Morrison said.

Morrison says it's less clear whether countries like Poland and Germany will file war crime charges 70 years after the fact. So far, both have expressed interest in prosecution.

"It's not really the side of the war you are on," he said. "It's the fact of the annihilation of a village or two as retaliation, which is against the standard laws of war."

The Associated Press also reported that members of the unit Karkoc allegedly commanded were blacklisted from entering the United States.

Karkoc's family vehemently denies the allegations.

"My father was never a Nazi," Andrij Karkos said. "It's allegation, hearsay, implications and associations or conjecture, but it is notably lacking in proof or evidence."

On Sunday, congregants at Karkoc's beloved Ukranian church in his northeast Minneapolis neighborhood made it crystal clear that media attention is not welcome there.

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