cbc.ca | 02Dec2009 | Associated Press

Demjanjuk too ill for court

The trial of accused Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk was called off Wednesday after a doctor said he was too ill to attend court.

Demjanjuk, 89, is on trial in Munich on allegations that he helped to kill 29,000 Jews as a guard at a camp in 1943 in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Presiding Judge Ralph Alt said a doctor determined that Demjanjuk had a rising fever caused by an infection. Alt said the doctor ruled it was not safe to transport Demjanjuk to court.

"This chamber has determined not to proceed because it is not that the defendant does not want to come, but that he cannot come," Alt said.

The day was to have featured more testimony from some of the roughly 40 co-plaintiffs who are relatives of victims.

An attorney for about 30 co-plaintiffs, Michael Koch, said his clients were "slightly frustrated" by the delay.

All in all, there were two good days," he said about court proceedings on Monday and Tuesday.

Demjanjuk faces up to 15 years in prison if he is convicted of the charges against him. The case is slated to last through May.

Demjanjuk, who was born in Ukraine and after the war moved to the United States where he worked at an auto plant near Cleveland, has denied any role in the killings. He says he was a Red Army soldier who spent the Second World War as a Nazi prisoner of war.

He was deported from the United States to Germany in May to stand trial.