TORONTO (Nov. 7)
An order for the extradition to West Germany of a former gestapo officer accused of the wartime murder of more than 11,000 Jews in occupied Lithuania, the first Canadian action to extradite a war criminal, was issued here last Thursday against Albert Helmut Rauca by Chief Justice Gregory Evans of the Ontario Supreme Court.
The reading of the order, to send Rauca, 74, back to West Germany to face trial on the war crimes charges, took 30 minutes. Justice Evans dismissed arguments of Rauca’s defense counsel the Canada’s new Charter of Rights has a section which guarantees that every citizen of Canada (has) the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada.”
The defense counsel did not, at a hearing three weeks ago, challenge the evidence presented of the killings of the Jews in Kovno, relying on the contention that trials of Canadian citizens should be held not abroad but in Canada under the War Crimes Act and Geneva Convention.
Justice Evans ruled that under the Canadian Constitution an individual’s rights and freedoms were not absolute. He cited a clause which makes individual rights in Canada “subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”
Rabba has 15 days before the extradition order is to be implemented. His attorneys have indicated that they may appeal the extradition order to the Canadian Federal Court and, if that fails, possibly to the Canadian Cabinet.
Under a separate proceeding, Rauca could be stripped of his Canadian citizenship if authorities can prove he lied about his past when he migrated to Canada more than 30 years ago, becoming a Canadian citizen in 1956. Rauca was arrested here June 17 at the request of the West German government, which has sought him since 1961; Canadian law enforcement agencies began searching for him, and found him last June.