TALLINN - One of the last living war criminals of the Soviet era could be forced to return to Russia after the Estonian Supreme Court dismissed his appeal to stay in the country. Vasily Beskov, an 88-year old Russian citizen, was convicted in 1999 of crimes against humanity for working as a secret service officer and carrying out the mass deportation of Estonians to Siberia in 1949.
He had appealed to annul an order by the Citizenship and Migration Board to have him deported. The board has classified him as an illegal resident.
On March 23, the Supreme Court upheld the previous findings of both the Tallinn Administrative Court and the Tallinn Circuit Court in deciding to dismiss the appeal.
It will now be up to the incoming minister of the interior to decide if and when he is forced to leave the country.
Beskov served his sentence for war crimes under probationary supervision in his Parnu home. His sentence expired in May 2002, prompting the Citizenship and Migration Board to begin the expulsion process.
He was refused a residence permit because of a stipulation in the Aliens Act, which bans the issuing of a permit to a person when there is good reason to believe he has committed crimes against humanity.
However, the court also said that considering Beskov's old age, frail health and family ties to Estonia, his expulsion should be postponed.
The Ministry of the Interior is now drafting a recommendation on Beskov's situation to submit to the incoming minister.
Three other men also face expulsion after being convicted of similar crimes.