On Tuesday, lead defense attorney Ulrich Busch said proceedings should be abandoned because Demjanjuk had been acquitted of similar charges made in Israel between 1986 and 1993. He argued that "double jeopardy," a second trial based on the same facts, was illegal in Germany.
Lead defense attorney Ulrich Busch said proceedings should be abandoned because Demjanjuk had been acquitted of similar charges made in Israel between 1986 and 1993. He argued that "double jeopardy," a second trial based on the same facts, was illegal in Germany.
Busch added that Demjanjuk's custody was illegal because he had been forcibly expelled from the United States while suffering from a terminal illness. Demjanjuk is currently stateless, having lost his US citizenship.
His lawyer also hit out at German justice, arguing that he was being tried as a soldier who had simply been carrying out orders.
The presiding judge, Ralph Alt, said the court would rule on any objections later, but would first hear the 86-page indictment.
Motionless in court
Despite complaints from Demjanjuk, 89, that he was in pain, he was wheeled into court Tuesday morning to hear the charges against him.
His family claims he suffers from illnesses that make him unfit to stand trial, but courts in Germany and in the US, where Demjanjuk lived for decades after World War Two, have dismissed such claims. He was extradited from the US in May.
Demjanjuk remained motionless as names from among the tens of thousands of people who were murdered at Sobibor were read aloud by the judge. They had not been read the previous day because of motions put forward by the defense.
Demjanjuk is accused of aiding in the murder of 28,000 victims at the Sobibor death camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. Bavarian state prosecutors say he was trained and then transferred to Sobibor to work as a camp guard.
Prosecutors argue that Demjanjuk became one of the most enthusiastic participants in that camp's policy of mass murder.
"We hold that the whole set of crimes was only possible because people like the accused today actively supported and carried them out," said Barbara Stockinger on Monday, speaking on behalf of the Bavarian state attorney's office.
Health problems 'exaggerated'
Demjanjuk has been accused of exaggerating his health problems to put the brakes on the trial. On Tuesday, he was propped up under a white sheet on a mobile bed.
There was anger from some of the elderly Holocaust survivors who are in Munich to testify at the trial.
"I am sure he is faking his condition," said Thomas Blatt, an 82-year-old Sobibor survivor from Germany who now lives in Los Angeles.
Editor: Chuck Penfold