| 30Apr2009 | DPA (German Press Agency)

Nazi war crime suspect unfit to stand trial

Vienna - Nazi war crime suspect Milivoj Asner is unfit to stand trial, an Austrian court spokesperson confirmed on Thursday.

The court had hired a German expert to give a second opinion on a contentious previous verdict by local psychiatrists that the 96-year-old Asner was suffering from dementia.

Asner, who has lived in Austria for decades, is listed as number three among the most wanted war criminals by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Jerusalem.

The Croatia-born suspect, who lives in the southern Austrian town of Klagenfurt, was examined by the Munich forensic psychiatrist Norbert Nedopil.

Earlier tests by Austrian experts had found Asner to suffer from dementia, a diagnosis which had been challenged by the Wiesenthal Centre after Asner appeared appeared well and lucid in an interview with the British daily Sun last summer.

"He is unfit for interrogation or trial," said Norbert Jenny, the spokesperson of the Klagenfurt court.

Croatia has requested Asner's extradition, as he is suspected of having helped to deport Jews, Roma and Serbs to World War II concentration camps.

One of the previous examiners, Reinhard Haller, has told German Press Agency dpa that it is common for demented people to appear lucid about some aspects of their past while not being able to remember what they did in the previous hours.

Asner's case echoes that of the Wiesenthal Centre's most wanted Nazi suspect John Demjanjuk. The 89-year-old alleged Nazi death camp guard is fighting his extradition from the United States to Germany for health reasons. - Sapa-dpa