Canadian Jewish News | 19Mar2009 | Andy Levy-Ajzenkopf
Court dismisses Odynsky’s appeal
in war crimes case
OTTAWA — The case to strip suspected war criminal Wasyl Odynsky of his
Canadian citizenship and facilitate his deportation continued this past
Monday after a court rejected his efforts to stop Jewish groups from
continuing proceedings against him.
Odynsky is suspected of war crimes while serving Nazi Germany
as a Ukrainian guard stationed at the Trawniki and Poniatowa labour
camps. The former was a training centre for Ukrainian guards who were
enlisted as auxiliaries to SS killing units, according to the Friends
of Simon Wiesenthal Center.
The case to strip him of his Canadian citizenship was pursued in
appellate court by B’nai Brith Canada last April after it was initially
dropped by the Canadian government in 2007 due to a lack of evidence.
Last Thursday [12Mar2009], the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed Odynsky’s
argument to halt the challenges by Jewish human rights groups
to his effort to remain in Canada. The court determined he lied about
his past upon entering the country in 1949.
The ruling allowed David Matas, B’nai Brith’s senior counsel, to “argue
the merits of this case” in Toronto this past Monday [16Mar2009], Matas said in a
B’nai Brith statement last week.
“The government has demonstrated a clear inconsistency in its
application of the law with regards to Nazi-era cases,” Matas said. “In
the case of Wasyl Odynsky, court rulings have clearly demonstrated that
he lied upon his wartime past when entering the country.”
In earlier testimony, Odynsky denied all allegations of war crimes
against him. He stated he was forcibly posted to the labour camps under
duress and was merely a perimeter guard at the camps, never having
direct contact with any prisoners.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity… to argue the merits of this
case before a Federal Court in the hope that the path will be cleared
for revocation of [Odynsky’s] citizenship and his subsequent and
immediate deportation from Canada,” Matas said.
Though it hasn’t participated in the case to this point, Canadian
Jewish Congress is “looking into” engaging in it as it goes forward,
Congress CEO Bernie Farber told The CJN last Friday.
“We’re certainly gratified that this case has not come to an end,”
“Our position has always been that anyone who was involved as a Nazi
enabler, and Mr. Odynsky, in our view fits that description… every
effort should be made to deport him from Canada.”