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Judge Rules Proceedings Against Nemsila Must Go on

July 31, 1996
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A Canadian federal judge has ruled that no judicial interference exists in the case against accused war criminal Josef Nemsila, whom Canada seeks to deport.

Nemsila, 83, is accused of serving in the notorious Hlinka Guard in the Nazi vassal state of Slovakia and taking part in the roundup of the country’s 100,000 Jews and their deportation to Auschwitz and other death camps in Poland.

Canada charges that Nemsila lied to immigration officials about his wartime activities when he came to Canada in 1950.

Nemsila’s lawyer had asked the Federal Court of Canada to halt the case after learning that it had been mentioned in correspondence between a chief justice and a top government official. He called the letter an abuse of the court process.

Justice Paul Rouleau, however, said the case was only mentioned in reference to the scheduling of other deportation cases against accused war criminals.

“It’s an important decision because for the first time, it allows the courts to deal with the substance of the issue instead of with legal technicalities, which is what they’ve been dealing with until now,” said Irving Abella, past president of the Canadian Jewish Congress and national chairman of its war crimes committee.

B’nai Brith Canada said it was pleased with the judge’s move. “It is imperative that the courts now proceed with the substantive aspects of the war crimes cases on an urgent basis,” David Matas, honorary senior legal counsel for B’nai Brith Canada, said in a statement.

He added that the decision “to stay the proceedings amounted to a grant of immunity for those suspected mass murderers, and that the decision placed the Canadian judicial system in disrepute.”

Deportation hearings were halted last year before evidence could be presented because an immigration adjudicator decided that Nemsila was covered by an obscure 1910 law protecting people who have been in Canada for more than five years from being deported.

The government appealed, but Nemsila’s lawyer sought for a halt in the proceedings on the basis of judicial interference.

Canada now awaits a decision on its appeal. If it wins, Nemsila again faces a deportation hearing.

In 1995, Ottawa pledged to bring deportation proceedings against 12 men suspected of war crimes.

Earlier this month, a federal judge halted proceedings against three of the accused war criminals: Helmut Oberlander, Johann Dueck and Erichs Tobiass.

The government is appealing that decision.

Canadian Jewish groups have repeatedly asked Ottawa to launch proceedings against the six war crimes suspects who have not yet been charged.

CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION: In last week’s story on welfare reform by Dan Kurtzman, the following two clarifications should be made:

1. In the graph that begins, “The situation poses a serious problem…,” delete the words “to apply.”

2. Four graphs later, the graph that begins “The welfare reform provisions pertaining to legal immigrants…” should be deleted. It is a little confusing and not so relevant.

NOTE TO EDITORS: In the Yom Kippur recipes appearing in the July 29 JTA Daily Dispatch the following should be added to the recipe for mock chopped liver.

Where the recipe calls for 1 can of peas and 1 can of green beans, please add the size of the can as 13 ounces.

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