LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A war crimes extradition hearing for Andrija Artukovic began with a U.S. attorney asserting that the former interior minister of Croatia had said in 1941 that ''he intended to solve the Jewish problem as the Nazis had in Germany.''

''In 1942 he sasuffers from various ailments, including senility, and is being held without bail at the Long Beach Naval Hospital.

Artukovic's accusers say he is responsible for the wartime slaughter of 750,000 Serbs, Jews, Orthodox Christians and gypsies in Croatia, where he served as a cabinet official from 1941 to 1945.

However, many Croatian-Americans defend him as a heroic freedom fighter against communists and say he was unjustly accused of atrocities.

His supporters jammed the courtroom Thursday along with members of the Jewish Defense League who shouted epithets at Artukovic's Jewish lawyer, Gary Fleischman, as he left the courthouse.

As Artukovic was wheeled from court, JDL leader Irv Rubin called out to him, ''Your days are numbered, Artukovic.''

Outside, JDL members chased Fleischman, screamed at him and spit in his face.

During the hearing, Nimmer said it was as necessary for Artukovic to be tried on charges of mass murder in Yugoslavia, which includes the territory of Croatia, as it was for Germany's war criminals to be tried after World War II.