TORONTO (Mar. 25)
An Ontario court judge has awarded alleged war criminal Michael Pawlowski $126,895 to cover the expenses of defending himself in a trial the same judge was responsible for aborting earlier this month.
In a 26-page judgment, Justice James Chadwick ordered the Crown to reimburse the retired Renfrew, Ontario, carpenter who was charged in 1989 with eight counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The charges were based on Pawlowski’s involvement in the 1942 killings of 410 Jews and 80 Poles in the Minsk region of Nazi-occupied White Russia, now known as the republic of Belorus, where the accused was a policeman.
But the case was crippled by Chadwick’s ruling last May against the government’s application to send an evidence-gathering team to the Soviet Union to hear and videotape testimony from elderly witnesses unable to come to Canada to testify.
Without the testimony, the Justice Department was forced to stay proceedings against Pawlowski for lack of evidence.
The decision to stay proceedings rather than drop the charges means the prosecution could be reopened if new evidence arises, but that is considered unlikely. The case is being called the third unsuccessful prosecution by the department’s war crimes unit since it was established in 1987.