Katriuk Summary

Vladimir Katriuk was born Oct. 1, 1921, in the village of Luzhany, (now) Ukraine. In November/December 1941 he was with a group of Ukrainian Nationalists who unfurled a Ukrainian flag in Kyiv. They were arrested by the Germans, the leaders shot, and he was given the option of being sent to Germany as a forced laborer or joining the Schutzmannschaften police units. He joined the police unit and ended up guarding a flour mill in Kyiv against Communist saboteurs for about one year and guarding a Polish village in Belarus against partisans for another year. There is no evidence that he committed atrocities at either of these locations.

In 1944, his unit was transferred to France to fight against the Western Allies. His unit deserted and joined the French partisans. They fought with the French army against the Germans for several weeks until a Soviet repatriation commission arrived and demanded that these people be returned to the Soviet Union. When they refused, they were interned by the French and given the choice of either returning to the Soviet Union or joining the French Foreign Legion (FFL).

Mr Katriuk joined the FFL and once again fought against the Germans, was wounded, spent 2 months in an American military hospital, and fought once again with the Western Allies until the end of the war. The French military presented him with a medal and supporting documents for his service and bravery.

He was prepared to go to Indochina with the FFL, but because of his virulent anti-communist views got into a fight with his Spanish Communist commanding officer, who promised him that he would not return alive from Vietnam. He deserted and went back to the French partisans, who prepared false documents for him under the name of Nicolas Schpirka. With these documents he obtained his ID papers from the French authorities, found work, got married to Maria Kawun in 1948, and opened a delicatessen shop in Paris.

After receiving an invitation from friends, the Rohosky's, to immigrate to Montreal, they applied at the Canadian Consulate in Paris in 1951 to immigrate to Canada under the name of Schpirka. According to their testimony, they made three visits to the Consulate: the first visit to obtain information, the second visit to fill out the forms, the third visit to have X-rays taken. Both Mr. and Mrs. Katriuk testified that during their second visit, an employee at the Canadian Consulate in Paris filled out the immigration application form on their behalf. Mr. Katriuk insists that the employee did not ask him any specific questions about his wartime activities.

There is no record of any of these visits, nor of the immigration application form, nor of the name of the employee in question, nor of the procedures carried out at the Canadian Consulate in Paris in 1951.

They arrived aboard the steamship, Nelly, in Quebec City on Aug. 14, 1951 and a record of their landing under the name Schpirka exists. They continued to the Rohosky's in Montreal the next day and started their life in Canada. After five years of residency, they decided to acquire their Canadian citizenship, but they wanted to revert to their correct name, Vladimir and Maria Katriuk.

In 1957, they went to their priest, who took them to a lawyer, Paul Masse, who inquired at the Department of Citizenship and Immigration as to the best course to follow, who, in turn, instructed Mr. Masse that they should apply to the Department for a name change before applying for citizenship. On Oct. 17, 1957, Mr. Masse sent in the requested affidavit and in a letter dated May 13, 1958, the Department informed Mr. Masse that their request had been granted and that the name in their dossiers had been changed to Vladimir and Maria Katriuk. On May 20, 1958, the Katriuk's applied for their citizenship which was granted on Nov. 10, 1958, in a citizenship ceremony before Judge Robitaille, who was fully aware of the name change.

We emphasize that Mr. and Mrs. Katriuk applied for the name change completely openly and in good faith. They could very easily have lived the rest of their lives under the name of Schpirka.

Presumably, Mr. Katriuk's name arose during the Deschenes Commission hearings in 1985-86. Mr. Katriuk relates that the Soviet KGB visited his sisters and brother in Ukraine in the early 1980s (during the Brezhnev era). They were very rude and threatening and kept demanding a picture of Mr. Katriuk (which they did not have). There was a second, more respectful, visit during the Gorbachev era requesting information and a picture. It is our understanding that documents in Ottawa archives relating to the circumstances leading to charges against Mr. Katriuk have been made secret for a period of 25 years.

Mr. and Mrs. Katriuk were shocked when they received a letter dated August 15, 1996 from the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (Lucienne Robillard) announcing intention to revoke Mr. Katriuk's citizenship. On August 27, 1999, Mr. Katriuk referred the case to the Federal Court of Canada (Judge Marc Nadon). In his Verdict, Judge Nadon does not reveal the dates of the trial, but he does refer to taking evidence from Savaliy Khrenov in Nizhniy Novgorod, Russian Federation on March 30, 1998.

We will not repeat the form-letter-type blanket condemnation of Mr. Katriuk by the prosecution. Judge Nadon concedes that there is no evidence that Mr. Katriuk committed atrocities or that he "voluntarily" joined the police units. However, he seems to emphasize the two terms "collaborator" and "use of false or fictitious name" as relevant issues. After a great deal of mental gymnastics, he concludes "that Mr. Katriuk was not lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent residence" and rules that Mr. Katriuk "obtained his Canadian citizenship by false representation, or fraud or by concealing material circumstances".

An analysis of Judge Nadon's Verdict confirms our contention that d/d is a blueprint for injustice:

There can be no doubt that these civil proceedings constitute a major violation of the civil liberties of the accused victim. No evidence of individual criminality is required. The victim is accused of lying during his immigration procedures, an accusation, which also cannot be proven. In essence, the outcome of the trial depends on whether the judge believes the prosecution's contention that at a hypothetical immigration hearing, a hypothetical security officer asked a hypothetical question to which the accused (who is attributed with the knowledge then of what is considered material today) did not answer truthfully.

In our Critique of the Verdict, we point out inconsistencies in the evidence and reject much of Judge Nadon's convoluted reasoning. Of particular relevance are the following:

(1) The circumstances from 1957 until Nov. 10, 1958, when Mr. and Mrs. Katriuk obtained their citizenship, are related in sections [28] through [35]. However, the critical Oct. 18, 1957, affidavit sent by Paul Masse on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Katriuk to the Department of Citizenship and Immigration is not part of the evidence (for some unknown reason). From the contents of an Oct. 17, 1958 memo from the Chief, Admissions Office to the Registrar, Mr. Duggan, Judge Nadon infers the contents of the Oct. 18, 1957 affidavit. We submit that Judge Nadon has no way of knowing that the information summarized in this memo is an accurate reflection of the contents of the original affidavit. It is, at best, "hearsay" evidence.

We suggest that most people examining the evidence presented in these sections would have concluded that Mr. and Mrs. Katriuk acted properly and honorably in attaining the name change and their Canadian citizenship.

(2) Throughout the Verdict, Judge Nadon illustrates numerous instances where the prosecution has not met the burden of proof required of them and failed to provide evidence and testimony which was expected:
[130] "There is not much evidence concerning the Paris Consulate in 1951." "There is no evidence whatsoever in that regard."
[132] "... no one was called by the Minister to testify with respect to the specific process in place in that office in 1951 ..."
[133] "However, with respect to the other potential witnesses, the evidence is silent."
[134] "Once again, the Minister did not offer any explanation as to why no one [of the 980 immigrants aboard the Nelly] was called to testify with respect to the form being used and the questions being asked at the Paris office in 1951."
[135] "The end result is that the Minister adduced no evidence ... to demonstrate that Mr. Katriuk was specifically asked about his war time activities."
[140] "Mr. Katriuk's affidavit dated October 18, 1957 is not in evidence. No explanation was given to me why the affidavit was not available. All I know concerning that affidavit is what appears in the memorandum of October 17, 1958 sent by the Department of Immigration to the Registrar of Canadian Citizenship."

From the above comments, it is obvious that the Canadian War Crimes Unit is either incompetent or acting in bad faith.

(3) In sections [136] and [150], Judge Nadon finds that Mr. Katriuk must have been asked about: "details regarding the longest job he had had in the last ten years and the number of jobs he had had during those ten years. I am also finding that Mr. Katriuk must have been asked when and how he arrived in France." He then argues that Mr. Katriuk must have answered untruthfully to these questions.

We reiterate that there is no evidence that such questions were asked. We further submit that even if such questions were asked, Mr. Katriuk could have answered truthfully (except for the name change) and the employee, who filled out the immigration forms for Mr. and Mrs. Katriuk, would still have approved the application. This is attested to by the thousands of refugees who immigrated to Canada under similar circumstances.

(4) We take great exception to the suggestion of Judge Nadon in section [138] that Mr. and Mrs. Katriuk had some ulterior motives in wanting to revert to their true names. They could very easily have obtained their citizenship under the name of Schpirka and lived in anonymity for the rest of their lives. Instead, out of self-respect for their own identity and respect for their new country, Canada, they went through the complicated procedure -- very sincerely and very openly -- of changing their names back to Katriuk. Since its inception Canada had welcomed millions of the poor and the hungry to develop its vast area. They were grateful to be given the opportunity to live in and help build Canada.

(5) In section [141], Judge Nadon claims that: "Mr. Katriuk's statement [as inferred from the Oct. 17, 1958 memo] that he 'took refuge in France in 1944' is not ... an accurate and truthful statement."

We must respectfully disagree with Judge Nadon. What better description is there than "took refuge in France in 1944" to describe the situation of Mr. Katriuk? He took refuge from the Germans with the French partisans when he deserted the German army. He fought with the French against the Germans until he was threatened by the Russian KGB with repatriation to the Soviet Union. He then took refuge with the French Foreign Legion and again fought with the Western Allies against the Germans, was wounded, recovered and fought once again. He was prepared to go to Vietnam. But when his commanding officer in the FFL threatened him with death, he deserted and once again took refuge with his comrades in the French partisans. He de facto lived as a refugee in France until he managed to immigrate to Canada. He stopped being a refugee when Judge Robitaille presented him with his Canadian citizenship on November 10, 1958. Or so he thought. What more could Judge Nadon possibly demand of a human being?

(6) Once again, we take great exception to the incredible gymnastics of Judge Nadon's reasoning in section [145]. He attributes motives and beliefs to Mr. and Mrs. Katriuk, which are simply not true. He refers to a questionnaire, which was never utilized. He refers to questions which were never asked. He claims that the Department of Citizenship and Immigration in 1958 did not have all the relevant facts, but concedes that, even if they did, they may have ruled in favour of Mr. and Mrs. Katriuk. He then incredibly concludes: "Whether or not the decision would have been favourable to Mr. Katriuk is not, in my view, relevant."

(7) In section [151], Judge Nadon renders his guilty verdict.

On page 224 of the Deschenes Commission Report, finding #43 states: "The existence of a presumption of fact that a former immigrant, if a war criminal, must have lied for purposes either of immigration or of citizenship, cannot be taken generally for granted, in light of the conflicting evidence before the Commission. It must be left to the courts to decide whether, in any given case, such a presumption has been established with a high degree of probability."

Despite the Verdict of Judge Nadon, any fair-minded person must conclude that Judge Nadon and Canadian War Crimes Unit failed miserably in satisfying this criterion.