VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Apr. 15)
The first Canadian to lose his citizenship for concealing his involvement in war crimes moved a step closer this week to being extradited to the Netherlands, where he was convicted in absentia in 1948 of collaborating with the Nazis.
The Federal Court of Appeal in Ottawa ruled that Jacob Luitjens, a retired University of British Columbia botany instructor, cannot appeal a judge’s order last year to strip him of his Canadian citizenship.
The Dutch government revised its extradition treaty with Canada last year in order to obtain Luitjens, the first Canadian to lose his citizenship because of war crimes. When the Dutch first sought his extradition in 1981, their request was denied on grounds that the existing treaty did not cover collaboration.
Dutch courts had found him guilty of having been a member of the Landwacht, a police force established by the Nazis in occupied Holland to round up Jews and resistance fighters.
Luitjens escaped to South America after the war and migrated to Canada in the 1960s.
Justice Frank Collier ruled in Ottawa last October that Luitjens hid his Nazi past when he applied for Canadian citizenship in 1971. He was found guilty of acquiring it by “false representation or by knowingly concealing material.”
Collier took 29 months to reach his verdict. The jurist was widely criticized for foot-dragging.