The Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) has offered detailed, far-reaching proposals for measures the Canadian government could take to help bring Nazi war criminals living in Canada to justice.
The proposals were presented on behalf of the CJC by Irwin Cotler, a leading attorney and professor of law at McGill University, to former Quebec Superior Court Judge Jules Deschenes, who constitutes a one-man committee appointed by the federal government to investigate suspected war criminals living in Canada and recommend legislation or other means to deal with them.
There are, according to estimates now in the hands of the committee, 660 aliens or naturalized citizens suspected of war crimes presently in Canada.
SOME OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS
One of Cotler’s recommendations, submitted last Friday, was to amend Canada’s 1967 extradition treaty with Israel so that it will apply to criminal acts committed before 1967, i.e., during World War II.
Another would have the Canadian government seek the cooperation of West Germany to investigate and extradite suspected war criminals who were not German nationals but committed their crimes in territory under control of the Third Reich.
In addition, “The government of Canada should explore with other West European states with whom there are extradition treaties, the possibility of extraditing suspected Nazi war criminals in Canada to them for trial in these countries,” Cotler proposed.
Among the 660 suspects are many from Eastern European countries with which Canada has no extradition treaties. Alternatives would be to extradite them to Israel or West Germany.
BASIS FOR DENATURALIZATION
The CJC recommended the denaturalization of the suspects, where applicable, under the Citizenship Act of 1976 which provides for this on evidence that the suspect obtained Canadian citizenship by concealment of a crime of moral turpitude or misrepresented membership in an organization whose members would be excluded from citizenship under the 1976 Act.
Aliens suspected of Nazi war crimes would be deported on evidence of subversive acts against the government or of the use of fraudulent means to gain entry to Canada.
Cotler also proposed that the Canadian government prosecute suspected Nazi war criminals under customary international law or international criminal law. He suggested the government amend the Criminal Code to extend the principle of universality of jurisdiction accepted and applied to crimes of piracy, to war crimes.
Finally, he urged that the government must provide investigators of Nazi war criminals with all the resources and assistence they require to pursue their investigations “with all deliberate speed.”
So far, Canada has extradited only one suspected Nazi war criminal — Albert Rauca, a naturalized emigre from Germany who was returned to West Germany to face charges of murdering 12,000 Lithuanians, most of them Jews. Rauca died in a German prison before standing trial.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.