The Federal Court upheld today a death sentence handed down against convicted war criminal Andrija Artukovic, rejecting an extraordinary appeal by his lawyers, Tanjug news agency reported.
The lawyers, who cited failing health, including degenerative brain disease, heart problems and near-blindness, can still appeal for clemency from Yugoslavia's collective presidency.
The 87-year-old Artukovic was extradited from the United States last Feb. 12. He had lived in Seal Beach, Calif., since shortly after entering the United States in 1948 on a false passport. Yugoslavia says he was interior minister and security chief of the Nazi puppet state of Croatia during World War II.
Zagreb District Court sentenced Artukovic to death by firing squad after finding him guilty on May 14 of war crimes and crimes against humanity. He was held responsible for implementing policies which killed 700,000 Jews, Serbs and Gypsies in Nazi concentration camps
Lawyers Zeljko Olujic and Silvije Degen said in their appeal that Artukovic's health had grown seriously worse since his trial ended in May.