TORONTO (Aug. 25)
A former SS corps commandant, Albert Helmut Rauca, remains in jail on his own volition despite a decision of a three-judge Canadian Federal Court of Appeal which rejected an application for a reversal of a lower court decision which would have released him on $150,000 bail for on extradition hearing here September 20.
Officials said Rauca refused to use the earlier decision, by Justice Wilson Griffiths, which would have allowed Rauca to go free on bail, because he was afraid to leave jail. Rauca was arrested here June 17 for allegedly taking part in the wartime slaughter of 10,500 Jews in the Kovno ghetto in Lithuania. He was arrested at the request of the West German government, which wonts him extradited to be tried on the mass murder charge.
On June 21, he was granted bail, which his attorney, William Parker, said he could afford, but he chose to remain in jail, rather than leave and stay with friends until the extradition hearing. He decided not to leave jail for fear of endangering both them and himself. No information has been made available as to why Rauca is so fearful for his safety that he prefers to remain in jail.
At the hearing sought by representatives of the West German government and the Canadian Jewish Congress, arguments were submitted that Rouca posed a threat to the safety of the community and that there was a risk he would jump bail and not appear at the extradition hearing.
RULINGS NOT SEEN AS POINTLESS ACTIONS
Justices John Uris, Darrel Heald and G.S. Cowan, in upholding Justice Griffiths’ decision to allow Rouca to be free on bail pending the deportation hearing, ruled there was “no evidence” that Rauca “poses a menace to the public” and that “sufficient safeguards may be built in to ensure his appearance” at the September 20 hearing.
Observers pointed out that the hearing by Griffiths and the appeal hearing which upheld freedom on bail for Rauca was not a pointless set of legal actions because, under Griffiths’ initial ruling, Rauca could, leave the jail whenever he chose to do so.
The appeals court concurred with Griffiths’ ruling which held that the Canadian Bill of Rights recognizes specifically “the right to reasonable bail … and provides that no one charged with a criminal offense should be deprived of the right to bail or interim release without just cause.”
Griffiths ruled that Rauca was “a good Canadian citizen” and a hard working citizen since he arrived in Canada in 1950 and had no criminal record in Canada.
David Matas, a Winnipeg attorney active in the Canadian Jewish Congress, said Rauca’s arrest marked the first time Canada had acted to help extradite an alleged war criminal.