Former Nazi camp guard John Demjanjuk has lost his final appeal against deportation from the U.S. The initial ruling came in 2005 but since then has gone through a series of appeals and rejections. Demjanjuk was supposedly ‘Ivan the Terrible,’ an accusation for which he was extradited to Israel and sentenced to death before the ruling was overturned in 1993 because of reasonable doubt. Now 88, Demjanjuk’s fate is up in the air. His lawyers argue that if he is deported back to the Ukraine, he will face torture, although the reality of this argument is questionable. It is also possible that no country will want to take him in and he would remain in the U.S. by default as a stateless person.
Demjanjuk’s age and the uncertainty of his exact role during the war makes it unlikely that he will face any kind of punishment. As much as I hate to say it, at this point trying to prosecute him as a war criminal will be a long and delayed process which will probably not end before his death.