TORONTO (Oct. 6)
The Justice Department here is prodding a federal court judge to rule without further delay whether to revoke the Canadian citizenship of an accused Dutch Nazi collaborator who attained it, allegedly, by lying about his past.
The denaturalization hearing of Jacob Luitjens, a retired lecturer in botany at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, ended on May 11, 1989.
Federal prosecutors said, after a conference call with Justice Frank Collier on July 26, that a decision could be expected by the first week in September.
None was forthcoming. The Toronto Star reported that the judge would rule on Oct. 2. Since then, rumors have circulated that Collier has not even begun to draft his ruling.
The long delay has frustrated war crimes prosecutors, embarrassed the legal community and angered Jews.
If Luitjens, 72, is stripped of Canadian citizenship, he would face deportation to Holland. He was tried and sentenced in absentia there in 1948 to life imprisonment for “aiding and abetting the enemy in time of war.”
Luitjens escaped from a military prison in Holland in 1946, spent a year in Germany and sailed for South America in May 1948 under the name Gerhard Harder. He lived in Paraguay for 13 years before immigrating to Canada.
The government maintains that he unlawfully obtained admission to Canada for permanent residence in 1961 and citizenship 10 years later by false representation and concealment of his past.
According to Crown co-prosecutor Arnold Fradkin, Luitjens “was and continues to be a crafty liar.”
Since Parliament amended the criminal code in 1987 to allow Canadian courts to try war crimes suspects for offenses committed abroad, the government has had one successful prosecution.
In 1983, Albert Helmut Rauca was extradited to what was then West Germany, to stand trial for the murder of 11,585 Jews in the ghetto of Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania. Rauca died before his case went to trial.