TORONTO (Jan. 15)
A Canadian federal appeals court has ordered the resumption of legal proceedings against three accused war criminals from World War II.
The court, which overturned a decision from July, said Tuesday that a request by a Justice Department official to a federal judge to speed up the pace of hearings was not a serious breach of judicial independence.
The three men, all southern Ontario residents, now face continued efforts by Canada to denaturalize and deport them.
They are accused of lying about their wartime pasts to gain entry into Canada.
Canadian Jewish leaders, who have in the past criticized Canada’s record on war crimes prosecutions, applauded the court’s decision.
The federal court “made a decision which will help ensure that people allegedly involved in mass murder won’t walk free solely on the basis of government efforts to expedite hearing dates,” said Irving Abella, head of the war crimes committee of the Canadian Jewish Congress.
Lyle Smordin, president of B’nai Brith Canada, said in a statement that his group was “extremely pleased” with the ruling. “The courts must balance the enormity of these heinous crimes versus a minor transgression by judicial officials.”
Johann Dueck, 76, a retired mechanic, is accused of taking part in the killing of Jews and other civilians as a member of the Selidovka district police in German-occupied Ukraine from 1941 to 1943.
Helmut Oberlander, 72, is accused of having been a member of a commando unit that massacred hundreds of thousands of Jews in Ukraine and Crimea after the German army’s advance into the southern Soviet Union in the summer and fall of 1941.
Erichs Tobiass, 84, is accused of participating in the execution of civilians in Latvia from 1941 to 1943 as a member of the Latvian security police, an SS auxiliary unit responsible for the deaths of 30,000 Latvian Jews.