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A Case to Answer The story of Australia's first European war crimes prosecution

A Case to Answer The story of Australia's first European war crimes prosecution

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On Australia Day 1990, a seventy-three-year-old man was plucked from the Adelaide suburbs and accused of helping massacre nearly nine hundred men, women and children in Nazi-occupied Ukraine. The trial of Ivan Polyukhovich stretched across the world as witnesses gathered to testify from Ukraine, Israel and North America. Australian investigators, lawyers, magistrates and judges had to deal with memories half a century old, and the customs and language of an isolated Soviet village that knew nothing of western criminal justice.

A Case to Answer is compelling courtroom drama. David Bevan describes the events that led to Polyukhovich's arrest, his near fatal shooting, and the extraordinary manoeuvrings as Australia's legal system is tested to the limit.

Praise for A Case to Answer

'David Bevan captures a European war crimes trial held in Adelaide with clarity, fine journalistic detail, and a marvellously steady and fair voice.' - Patrick Allington

'... a fascinating book describing a unique and dramatic event in Australian legal history.' - Australian Law Journal

'... a very good book ... as a journalist, David Bevan makes an excellent historian. Here we have a tightly-written work which neatly develops its story and reads like a racy courtroom drama which is difficult to put down ... This book is an excellent illustration of how fragile the process is, and why we need to seriously question just how far our commitment to those facing danger in other parts of the world should go.' - Paul R. Bartrop, Australian Jewish News

'... a clear and comprehensive account ... an unbiased insight into the multifarious nature of a complex criminal prosecution ... makes a valuable contribution to the literature in this area ... David Bevan has chosen a case replete with all the minutiae of the complex web which makes up our political and legal systems ... a fascinating, easy to read account of a significant Australian case.' - Irene Nemes, Sydney Law Journal

'... a valuable factual record of an event of historic significance.' - Australia Israel Review

'... he has let the courts and evidence speak for themselves and refrained from preaching one point of view or another ... this is a valuable work.' - Frank Cranston

'I recommend A Case to Answer as a chance for Australians to view and question their judicial system through a different lens.' - Kate Callaghan, Herald

'Objective and captivating ... a valuable contribution to forensic literature.' - Nic Klaassen, Flinders Ranges Research

'Thorough and objective ... I would recommend this book for students of law, history, and of language and culture studies. It is a fascinating record that raises many questions for discussion.' - Helen Eddy, ReadPlus

'A must read for those interested in Australian legal history and war crimes.' - Georgina Banfield, Tulpa Magazine

From 1988 to 1993 David Bevan was a court reporter for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the Adelaide Advertiser. After that he covered South Australian politics for ABC Radio and Television News before joining ABC local radio. Since 2001 he has hosted the ABC's Morning and Breakfast programs with Philip Satchell, Matthew Abraham and currently Ali Clarke. Before all this, he studied history, politics and English literature at Adelaide University and journalism at the South Australian College of Advance Education. He lives in Adelaide with his long-suffering wife Janette and their two children Joshua and Ashleigh.