An open letter to the Minister of Justice

Toronto, June 17, 2002

For Immediate Release

The Honourable Martin Cauchon
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
House of Commons, Parliament Buildings,
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

Dear Mr. Cauchon:

We once again write to you urging your department to act without delay against war criminals residing in Canada. In a recent one-sided article in the Globe and Mail entitled The man Ottawa won't leave alone, the reporter Mr. Makin tries to evoke public sympathy for an aging war criminal, Odynsky, by suggesting that the long delay in bringing him to justice raised his hopes that the government might actually have lost interest in him . The real point is that the ongoing delay in this and in other cases betrays the trust put in the justice system by all citizens. As the then Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, The Honourable Anne McLellan, stated in a November 1997 speech, the failures of the past to bring help to the Jews is only compounded by the failure to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice. She went on to state working to ensure that within our society war criminals do not go unpunished is key to upholding our values and to any strategy seeking to strengthen the confidence of Canadians in their justice system.

We urge the Federal Government to act in the Odynsky case, as well as in the Katriuk and the Baumgartner cases, without further delay. We urge the Department of Justice to fulfill its mandate to uphold justice. We urge you not to play into the tactics used by the defence lawyers and media. We remind you of the commitment of Citizenship and Immigration Canada as set out in the conclusion to its Canada's War Crimes Program Annual Report 2000-2001 to remain a world leader in the fight to ensure that people who commit atrocities are accountable for their actions .

Odynsky lost his case in Federal Court in March 2001 when Federal Court Judge W. Andrew MacKay clearly found that he had been lying. The next step in his removal from Canada is revocation of citizenship by the Federal Cabinet, by order-in-council. It is unconscionable that the Government should have taken now over a year to take this simple yet obvious next step.

Odynsky has already been in Canada 53 years, 53 years he did not deserve.In January 1999, Justice Nadon clearly ruled that Katriuk was not lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent residence because he did not answer certain questions truthfully or failed to disclose material circumstances prior to his admission. In August of 2001, the way was cleared for the Federal Cabinet to issue an order-in-council revoking the citizenship of Baumgartner. After a detailed examination of the facts, Judge McKeown of the Federal Court concluded that Baumgartner obtained Canadian citizenship by false representation or fraud or by concealing material circumstances contrary to the Citizenship Act.

Each of these men has had the benefit of Canada's justice system. It is time for the Government to fulfill its mandate without further delay. We call on the Cabinet to act decisively and issue the appropriate orders now.

Yours truly,

David Matas, Senior Legal Counsel for B'nai Brith Canada

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