Former SS soldier charged over 1944 Nazi massacre

An 88-year-old former SS soldier has been charged in Germany over the Second World War massacre of an entire French village in which 642 men, women and children were killed.

The man, who has not been named, faces 25 counts of murder. Cologne state court said he was also charged with hundreds of counts of accessory to murder in connection with the 1944 atrocity.

Prosecutors say he shot 25 men as part of a firing squad, and then helped as troops blockaded and then set fire to a church, where dozens of women and children were killed.

The suspect's lawyer, Rainer Pohlen, said he did not deny being at the village but said he never fired a shot that day and was not otherwise involved in any killings.

The court now needs to decide whether to move ahead with a trial, but the suspect first has until 31 March to respond to the charges.