But there was no indication of the whereabouts of the 89-year-old Papon, who disappeared after visiting Switzerland last week.
Papon had been scheduled to report to prison Wednesday, as required before his appeal of a 10-year sentence could be heard.
The Court of Cassation in Paris ruled yesterday that the former Bordeaux police official lost his right to appeal by going into exile.
"Given that the defendant did not give himself up to justice, his right to appeal is rescinded," Judge Hector Milleville said.
The French Justice Ministry said the ruling clears the way for issuing an international warrant for Papon, the highest-ranking member of the pro-Nazi Vichy regime to be convicted of crimes against humanity.
Papon was found guilty in April 1998 of helping deport 1,590 Jews from the southwestern Bordeaux area. He was allowed to remain free after his sentencing because of his age and ill health.
Swiss officials confirmed that Papon stayed, under an assumed name, in the western town of Martigny from Oct. 11 to last Saturday. But they said they didn"t know where he is now and wouldn"t act until they receive a warrant.