The Ministry of Justice announced on Thursday that the Supreme Court has cleared
the way for the extradition of Janusz Dern. The ruling rejected Dern’s appeal of
the decision to extradite him by the Jerusalem District Court.
his brother Wlodzimierz allegedly ran a criminal organization in Poland, which
stole and coordinated schemes by others to steal a range of items, from heavy
equipment to electronics, totaling at least NIS 3.5 million.
In order to
carry out their criminal activities, the Dern brothers also allegedly
perpetrated the systematic forging of documents relating to their crimes. Most
of their alleged activities occurred from 1993- 1996. In 1998, the Polish
authorities opened an investigation into Janusz’s activities.
September 17, 1999, Poland issued a warrant for his arrest.
locate Janusz in Poland, the authorities issued an international arrest warrant
on July 22, 2002. Initially, Israel was not carefully checked as a likely
location where Janusz may have fled.
However, on March 3, 2005, the
Polish Ministry of Justice received new information indicating that Janusz had
fled to Israel.
Later, the Polish authorities learned that Janusz had
already obtained Israeli citizenship on May 15, 1996, allegedly to escape
prosecution and to cover-up his identity.
On September 10, 2006, Poland
submitted its initial extradition request for Janusz to the Israeli Ministry of
From 2006 to 2010, Israel and Poland cooperated on building a
case against Janusz and Wlodzimierz, adding additional offenses to the case as
new evidence was uncovered.
In June 30, 2010, the Department of
International Affairs in the State Attorney’s Office petitioned the Jerusalem
District Court to approve the extradition of Janusz for the offenses of
conspiracy, theft, fraud under aggravating circumstances, basic fraud and other
On July 9, 2010, after his arrest in Israel and after filing the
petition to declare him extraditable to Poland, Wlodzimierz consented to being
extradited voluntarily, avoiding the need for standard extradition proceedings.
Wlodzimierz had fled Poland after being convicted and sentenced to fiveand-
a-half years in prison by a Polish court, but before he began serving his term.
He agreed to serve his sentence in Poland and is currently serving his prison
Janusz disputed his extradition and proceedings continued
against him, culminating in the district court’s February 23, 2011, decision to
declare him extraditable. His extradition was temporarily stayed pending his
appeal before the Supreme Court. In rejecting Janusz’s appeal and upholding the
lower court’s ruling, the Supreme Court held that Janusz’s crimes would
constitute crimes in Israel, that there was no statute of limitations barring
his extradition and that there is no public policy value contradicted by
One of the major difficulties in extraditing Janusz was
the passage of time, 14 years from the start of the Polish investigation until
now. Janusz’s attorney argued that the primary crime his client was accused of
was a theft misdemeanor, not a felony crime, which requires a case to be brought
within five years of an offense, or by 2003.
The state’s attorney, Illit
Maidan, successfully argued that if Janusz had been charged in Israel, his
actions would have led to being tried for more serious crimes, including
felonies. Israeli law allows a 10-year gap between the commission of a felony
and when a case is filed.
According to this argument, the case could have
been brought as late as 2008, and Poland filed its extradition request in 2006.
Israeli law and most other modern legal systems recognize an extradition request
as equal to bringing a regular case, so the “case” against Janusz was started in
In essence, the underlying basis of the argument was that Janusz
should not be rewarded for fleeing from Polish authorities by a selective
application of the most lenient parts of both Polish and Israeli
Rather, the state argued, the law should be interpreted, if
possible, in a manner which advances holding Janusz responsible for his
The case was handled by the Department of International Affairs
in the State Attorney’s Office, headed up by attorney Gal Levertov, in
cooperation with the Israel Police Interpol squad.