Cotler File #2

Name: cotler20040102.html

Search criteria: Irwin Cotler + Deschenes; older than 2 years (186 articles, 773KB)

There were only 19 of 199 articles which were not found in the previous search in cotler20040101.html. These are mostly associated with the Deschenes Commission (1985) appearing in the Toronto Star (12) with David Vienneau (9) as the main author.

Time distribution: 1985 (7), 1986 (1), 1987 (4), 1988 (2), 1989 (2), 1991 (1), 1997 (1), 1998 (1).

Newspapers: Toronto Star (12), Maclean's (3), Canadian Jewish News (2), Jerusalem Post (1), Record (Bergen) (1).

Authors: David Vienneau (9) of Toronto Star; 10 other authors (1).

[7a] Maclean's | Jan. 23, 1989 | N. Underwood - A new debate over Nazi collaborators
[9a] Toronto Star | Jun. 06, 1987 | K. Donovan - Police probe 'Molotov' bombing at lawyer's home
[12a] Toronto Star | Nov. 16, 1985 | D. Vienneau - Trails differ over Nazi hunt
[13a] Toronto Star | Dec. 15, 1985 | D. Vienneau - Bringing Nazis to justice real issue
[14a] Toronto Star | Oct. 11, 1985 | D. Vienneau - Canada allowed suspected Nazis to stay, probe told
[15a] Toronto Star | Oct. 10, 1985 | D. Vienneau - Nazi inquiry told vital files were destroyed 'mysteriously'
[19a] Toronto Star | Nov. 29, 1986 | D. Vienneau - Nazi probe: Trouble looms for Mulroney
[20a] Toronto Star | Sep. 26, 1988 | D. Vienneau - Speed up hunt for Nazi suspects, Jews urge
[21a] Maclean's | Mar. 23, 1987 | M. Drohan et al - A safe haven no longer
[22a] Toronto Star | Mar. 13, 1987 | D. Vienneau - Report will ease ethnic tensions Liberal MP says
[23a] Record (Bergen) | Mar. 13, 1987 | AP - 20 Nazis reported in Canada
[24a] Jerusalem Post | Aug. 14, 1989 | W. Van Leer - Reflections on the Deschenes Commission's Inquiry on war criminals living in Canada. Giving Nazi-hunting a bad name.
[26a] Toronto Star | Jan. 18, 1988 | D. Vienneau - Deportation from Canada considered, papers show RCMP probed 14 alleged Nazis in 1984
[27a] Toronto Star | Oct. 03, 1985 | D. Vienneau - Canada joined secret British scheme to halt Nazi trials, documents reveal
[84a] Canadian Jewish News | Sep. 10, 1998 | S. Kirshner - Abella named to Shiff Chair
[93a] Maclean's | Mar. 11, 1985 | R. Laver et al - The search for war criminals
[95a] Toronto Star | Nov. 11, 1985 | E. Tesher - Nazi hunters press on in race against time
[141a] Toronto Star | Jun. 16, 1991 | S. Kastner - Chutzpah (Dershowitz book)
[173a] Canadian Jewish News | Jun. 05, 1997 | E. Asher - Response to terrorism discussed

[7a] Maclean's | Jan. 23, 1989 | N. Underwood - A new debate over Nazi collaborators

Copyright 1989 Maclean Hunter Limited

January 23, 1989


LENGTH: 562 words

HEADLINE: A race against time


A new debate over Nazi collaborators

The past has come back to haunt two men for their activities during the Second World War. The first incident involved Vladimir Sokolov, 75, a former lecturer at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., who was stripped of his American citizenship in 1986 for wilfully concealing his Nazi activities. Last week, immigration officials in Ottawa confirmed a report that he has initiated a claim for refugee status in Canada. At the same time, a hearing in Vancouver will determine whether Dutch-born Jacob Luitjens, 69 -- a former University of British Columbia botany instructor who was convicted in absentia in Holland in 1948 of collaborating with the Nazis -- should be stripped of his Canadian citizenship. Luitjens is accused of lying to immigration officials about his past when he entered the country in 1961. "We urge prompt action against these individuals," declared Jack Silverstone, national executive director of the Canadian Jewish Congress. "Canada must not be used as a safe haven for Nazi collaborators."

Russian-born Sokolov lost his American citizenship after a federal judge ruled in 1982 that when he entered the United States in 1951, he concealed his 1942-1944 collaboration with Nazi occupation authorities in Orel, 350 km south of Moscow. Sokolov was a writer and editor of a Russian-language newspaper published by the German army, Rech (Speech), and his name appeared over many anti-Semitic articles. In one, Jews were compared to "large yellow rates." Sokolov -- who appealed the judge's ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court and lost -- maintains that Nazi censors inserted the most offensive passages into his stories.

In 1957, Sokolov obtained his U.S. citizenship. But reporters at the Yale Daily News uncovered the Russian language and literature professor's past in 1976, and Sokolov later resigned. Last July, he disappeared before a deportation hearing that had been scheduled in Hartford, Conn., and shortly after, CBC TV News reported last week, filed a refugee claim in Montreal. He is now in Montreal, and his case will be reviewed under the old immigration rules. If Sokolov is denied refugee status, he could be deported to the Soviet Union, where, according to his lawyer, Julius Grey, "he would likely be put to death or given a lengthy sentence."

Luitjens, like Sokolov, could also face deportation. At his denaturalization hearing -- which began on Sept. 26 and was adjourned last week until March -- about 10 witnesses have identified Luitjens as a member of the Landwacht (Land Guard), a Dutch group that assisted the Germans in the search for and arrest of Jews and Dutch civilians trying to avoid forced labor -- and that was, as department of justice lawyer Arnold Fradkin described it, the "eyes, ears and feet of the Nazis."

Luitjens's case is one of only two legal proceedings in the almost two years since Quebec Superior Court Justice Jules Deschenes released his report on Nazi war criminals in Canada. And critics, including Irwin Cotler, a law professor at Montreal's McGill University, say that the government must move quickly and investigate the 20 suspected war criminals about whom Deschenes recommended urgent action. Said Cotler: "Not only may war criminals die or evade prosecution, but witnesses also are dying out." For Cotler and many other Canadians, time is of the essence.

GRAPHIC: Picture 1, Sokolov; Luitjens: concealed activities, AP; Picture 2, Sokolov; Luitjens: concealed activities, CANAPRESS

[9a] Toronto Star | Jun. 06, 1987 | K. Donovan - Police probe 'Molotov' bombing at lawyer's home

Copyright 1987 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd. The Toronto Star

June 6, 1987, Saturday, SATURDAY SECOND EDITION


LENGTH: 349 words

HEADLINE: Police probe 'Molotov' bombing at lawyer's home

BYLINE: By Kevin Donovan Toronto Star

Firebombers struck yesterday at the home of a Toronto lawyer who researched several methods of bringing suspected Nazi war criminals to justice.

Police are investigating the link between the early morning bombing in the North York home of lawyer Jonathan Richler and the work he has done for the Canadian Jewish Congress and the federal Deschenes commission.

Richler, 33, and his wife were upstairs asleep in their Melrose Ave. home, in the Avenue Rd.-Lawrence Ave. area, at about 5.30 a.m. when someone tossed two Molotov cocktails through the living room window.

Neighbors on either side, alerted by the crash and a single explosion, pounded on the front door of the Richler home to wake them.

Pepsi bottles

Once inside, neighbors Lyndon Jamison and Vinko Erjavec doused the blaze with a garden hose they passed through the shattered window. There were no injuries in the blaze, which did about $4,000 damage to the floor, walls and ceiling of the room.

Police recovered an unexploded soft drink bottle filled with flammable liquid, the remains of the bottle that did explode and a lighter left on the front lawn.

"Who would do such a thing?" asked Erjavec, 65, who described his neighbor as "a decent, quiet man."

Richler, who works for a Yonge St. law office, would not leave his house to speak with reporters about the bombing. When a contractor knocked on his door in the morning, Richler at first called through the door "I don't want to talk to anyone now."

He let contractor Alex Taylor inside only after the insurance company called to verify his identity.

Richler was a law student at Osgoode Hall five years ago when he did his first work discussing legal remedies for bringing suspected Nazi war criminals to trial.

He later did research for Irwin Cotler, a McGill University professor who acted as counsel for the Canadian Jewish Congress when it made submissions to the Deschenes commission. That body was established in 1985 to determine how many Nazis are in Canada, how they got here and what can be done to bring them to justice.

LOAD-DATE: May 13, 1999

[12a] Toronto Star | Nov. 16, 1985 | D. Vienneau - Trails differ over Nazi hunt

Copyright 1985 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd.
The Toronto Star

November 16, 1985, Saturday, SAT


LENGTH: 636 words

HEADLINE: Trails differ over Nazi hunt

BYLINE: By David Vienneau Toronto Star


OTTAWA - A split has developed among a group of MPs and senators keeping watch on Canada's war criminal inquiry over the value of continuing to hunt for suspected Nazis.

The disagreement was fuelled this week after Alberta MP Jack Shields said it may be time to forget the past because the inquiry might be causing more racial tensions between Jewish and Ukrainian communities than it is worth.

His feelings are shared by another committee member, Progressive Conservative MP Don Blenkarn.

But it was Shields' remarks that prompted MP Patrick Boyer to disagree. Boyer is co-chairman of the parliamentary study group, formed to help cool down tensions between the two ethnic groups.

The federal government should never stop its pursuit of alleged Nazi war criminals living in Canada, said Boyer, Tory MP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. "I disagree with Jack Shields," he said. "I think the clock does not stop running as far as bringing people to the bar of justice.

"But I'm also concerned that care is taken to ensure that the wrong people are not accused. This whole area is a minefield of old scars and wounds that run in every direction."

The inquiry, headed by Quebec Superior Court Judge Jules Deschenes, was established earlier this year to determine how many war criminals are in Canada, how they got here and what can be done about bringing them to justice.

Boyer, Shields and Blenkarn are among 20 senators and MPs on the watchdog group.

Shields said this week: "There comes a time when you say, well, that was history. We shouldn't forget it, but we're now looking at people in theirs 70s and 80s - at some point you have to stop this obsession with the past."

And Blenkarn, MP for Mississauga South, said Nazi collaborators were not necessarily war criminals.

He added that while he supports the basic aim of an inquiry, "having seen what this has cost us in bitterness . . . I sometimes question its worth."

Canada's Ukrainian community has raised almost $2 million to fight accusations that many of its members are war criminals. The Jewish community has accused the Ukrainians of trying to frustrate the workings of the inquiry by lobbying MPs to support their cause.

Deschenes has compiled a list of 660 alleged Nazis living in Canada. He is trying to decide whether to travel to the Soviet Union, Poland, Britain, the United States and the Netherlands to collect evidence against eight suspects against whom serious allegations have been made.

Boyer denied the study group, which consists of senators and MPs from all three parties, is a lobby group for the Ukrainians.

"We are not out to hinder the Deschenes commission but to help it by trying to resolve some of the hard feelings being created by its work," he said. "Inflammatory statements have been made by both communities."

The most controversial issue is the question of visiting the Soviet Union to collect evidence. The study group has heard from both ethnic groups on this issue, most recently from Irwin Cotler of the Canadian Jewish Congress. He said the trip should not be made unless strict safeguards are in place.

"What worries me is statements being made when people are not informed," Boyer said. "We shouldn't be seen as undermining or challenging what Deschenes is doing."

Neither Shields nor Blenkarn attended the Cotler meeting.

Montreal Liberal Sheila Finestone, another member of the group, said the Ukrainian community is not being targeted by Deschenes. She pointed out that not all eight suspects may be from East bloc countries.

"We are not talking about groups but individual criminals who came to this country," she said. "I don't want people who have committed heinous crimes here. I don't think the Canadian people want them here. I don't care how old they are."

LOAD-DATE: May 13, 1999

[13a] Toronto Star | Dec. 15, 1985 | D. Vienneau - Bringing Nazis to justice real issue

Copyright 1985 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd.
The Toronto Star

December 15, 1985, Sunday, SUN


LENGTH: 663 words

HEADLINE: Bringing Nazis to justice real issue

BYLINE: By David Vienneau Toronto Star


OTTAWA - The best mistake Nazi-hunter Sol Littman ever made was to write to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney claiming that notorious Nazi war criminal Joseph Mengele tried to enter Canada in 1962.

It was largely because of this false assertion and the negative publicity it created that Mulroney in February appointed a commission of inquiry on Nazi war criminals in Canada headed by Quebec Judge Jules Deschenes.

Although it has since been determined the inquiry was at least in part established on a false pretence, it is nevertheless the first serious attempt ever taken by a federal government to determine how many Nazis are here, how they got here and what can be done about bringing them to justice.

But now justice department lawyer Ivan Whitehall, after 40 years of shameless government inaction, has in a very insulting manner strongly implied that the inquiry was wrongly established because of Littman's "unfounded allegations."

What Whitehall seems to have forgotten is that Mulroney complied with a request from Littman to investigate urgently the possibility that Mengele tried to enter Canada. Presumably, if Littman's assertion was so obviously farfetched, such an investigation would have proved it.

It did not and two weeks later Justice Minister John Crosbie announced the establishment of the Deschenes inquiry. The first sentence of the inquiry's terms of reference was to determine if Mengele "may have entered or attempted to enter Canada."

Now, nine months after being established, the inquiry has fulfilled that part of its mandate. What has been overlooked in recent days is the fact that the question of Nazi war criminals in Canada is far bigger than the Littman/Mengele kerfuffle.

The inquiry's mandate involves an investigation into all alleged Nazis and so far Deschenes has produced a list of 660 war crimes suspects, including as many as 15 against whom serious allegations have been made.

What is perhaps even more significant is that at long last Canadians are learning how consecutive federal governments, in essence, turned a blind eye to the senseless murders of millions of innocent Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and political activists in World War II.

The inquiry has been told how in 1948 the government agreed to stop war crimes prosecutions, how it passed cabinet orders to allow Nazi collaborators to remain in Canada and how in 1962 the government was advised that prosecuting war criminals would make it look as though it was pandering to Jewish groups.

At the same time, none of the documents produced before the inquiry - and the government has refused to declassify many others - have expressed any sense of moral outrage or strong belief that murder should not go unpunished.

On the contrary, there were suggestions that the past should be forgotten which, according to Irwin Cotler of the Canadian Jewish Congress, produced a mindset in the justice department which consistently recommended that nothing could be legally done to bring war criminals to justice.

"What one finds throughout (the past 40 years) is the reduction of the Holocaust to a footnote and the concomitant bureaucratization of horror into a technical rationalization of why nothing can be done - a bureaucratization of evil that emerges as a blueprint for government inaction," he says.

Canada has taken action against only one suspected war criminal living here and that was in 1982 when Helmut Rauca of Willowdale was extradited to West Germany to stand trial on charges he supervised the killing of 11,584 Lithuanian Jews and others. He died before going to trial.

Over the years many other allegations and unanswered questions have been made about alleged Nazis in Canada. If Littman's false assertion that Mengele came to Canada turns out to be the catalyst that at long last produces some answers, then it was a a long overdue and justifiable mistake.

To focus attention merely on Mengele is a red herring.

GRAPHIC: CP photo Deschechenes in judicial robe; photo Littman

LOAD-DATE: May 13, 1999

[14a] Toronto Star | Oct. 11, 1985 | D. Vienneau - Canada allowed suspected Nazis to stay, probe told

Copyright 1985 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd.
The Toronto Star

October 11, 1985, Friday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 590 words

HEADLINE: Canada allowed suspected Nazis to stay, probe told

BYLINE: By David Vienneau Toronto Star


HULL, Que. - Canada has occasionally allowed known Nazi war crimes suspects to remain in this country, former solicitor-general Robert Kaplan has confirmed.

But he stressed during testimony before the Deschenes inquiry into the issue yesterday that it was never official government policy to provide sanctuary to alleged war criminals and collaborators.

"There was no Canadian policy of protecting war criminals," he said.

Kaplan said he became concerned about this possibility in 1983 and he asked the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to determine whether Canada had ever had a policy similar to a United States program that provided financial assistance and new identities to former Nazis.

Lawyer Irwin Cotler, who is representing the Canadian Jewish Congress, asked Kaplan whether, when he was solicitor-general, he had ever encountered evidence showing Canada had provided sanctuary for war crimes suspects, or had allowed them to leave the country before legal action was taken against them.

Special order

Kaplan said he did not know of these instances in 1983.

Cotler then referred to a investigation done by The Star last March. The Star revealed that former prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King's cabinet had approved a special order in 1948 permitting three suspected Nazi collaborators to stay in Canada even though they had earlier been ordered deported.

The three men, all from France, arrived in Montreal under assumed names in 1946. Two of the three had been tried and convicted in absentia for treason by a French court, and one had been sentenced to death.

Kaplan, who as solicitor-general between 1980 and 1984 was responsible for the government starting war crimes investigations, said these were individual decisions made by the governments of the time that should not have been taken.

"I wouldn't have been favorable to admitting these people to Canada because the evidence against them looked pretty compelling to me," Kaplan said.

Tipped off

The Star investigation also revealed that, in 1951, former prime minister Louis St. Laurent tipped off Count Jacques de Bernonville - the former right-hand man of Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie - to leave Canada before he was deported.

De Bernonville entered Canada in 1946 under an assumed name. He was recognized while living in Montreal and ordered deported, but fled Canada after receiving a letter from one of St. Laurent's secretaries.

Barbie is currently awaiting trial in France on charges he murdered and tortured thousands of people.

Kaplan would not discuss whether there were instances where Canada had assisted war criminals and collaborators. He said details of this sort and the contents of the RCMP investigation are contained in a confidential report which the government has refused to release.

Edited version

The Star, using the Access to Information Act, applied for a copy of that report, prepared by Corporal Fred Yetter of the RCMP's war crimes unit, but the request was denied. That decision was appealed to Information Commissioner Inger Hansen, who is still investigating.

Kaplan (L-York Centre) said he hopes the Progressive Conservative government will release an edited version of the report because it would clear public concerns about whether Canada deliberately harbored war criminals.

The commission, headed by Quebec Superior Court Justice Jules Deschenes, was established in February to find out how many war criminals are in Canada, how they got here and how to bring them to justice.

LOAD-DATE: May 13, 1999

[15a] Toronto Star | Oct. 10, 1985 | D. Vienneau - Nazi inquiry told vital files were destroyed 'mysteriously'

Copyright 1985 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd.
The Toronto Star

October 10, 1985, Thursday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 847 words

HEADLINE: Nazi inquiry told vital files were destroyed 'mysteriously'

BYLINE: By David Vienneau Toronto Star


HULL, Que. - Efforts to investigate suspected Nazi war criminals in this country were "seriously impaired" by the mysterious destruction of hundreds of thousands of immigration files, according to secret federal documents.

The file destruction, which was described in one document as either "a culpable act" or a "monumental blunder," outraged Robert Kaplan, who was solicitor-general at the time.

Kaplan told a commission investigating war criminals in Canada yesterday that he learned of the unauthorized destruction of the files shortly after he had ordered the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to make use of information contained in them.

"We were absolutely furious about it," said the Liberal MP. "It seemed incomprehensible that the RCMP would be foiled that way."

"Unbelievable' affair

Kaplan had been told the files, which contained immigration forms in use after World War II, along with the results of security screenings of immigrants, could have been used to try to remove the citizenship of alleged war criminals so they could be deported.

"Unless there were admissions (of guilt) by these individuals, the files might be the only place where evidence was retained," said Kaplan. He called the affair an "an unbelievable turn of events."

Kaplan, according to a secret Dec. 12, 1983 memo, ordered the RCMP to begin the citizenship revocation investigations and the "sooner the better."

He did so shortly after receiving assurances from then justice minister Mark MacGuigan that the justice department would consider denaturalization proceedings if the RCMP could provide evidence the alleged war criminal had lied when he entered Canada.

Serious nature

But, four months later, RCMP Commissioner Robert Simmonds wrote to Kaplan saying the files had been unexplicably destroyed some time between February, 1982 and September, 1983.

The letter, dated April 30, 1984 and stamped secret, also said the RCMP had chosen "a small number" of suspected war criminals against whom it was trying to build a case.

"This matter is being brought to your attention due to the serious nature of the situation and the ramifications should this matter become public," Simmonds letter said.

Kaplan then asked his deputy-solicitor general, Fred Gibson, for a more detailed investigation and in a May 22, 1984 memo, Gibson informed him that there was still no certain explanation for the "disturbing developments" that had taken place.

Hurt investigation

"The commissioner's correspondance does not offer an opinion upon whether such destruction involved a culpable act, or was simply a monumental blunder," Gibson wrote.

"What is clear is that the loss of these records - whose destruction should not have taken place - has seriously impaired the ability of Canadian authorities, notably the RCMP, to investigate and take effective action against war criminals in Canada."

Last week, justice department lawyer Martin Low told the commission that the government is considering launching deportation proceedings against one or more suspected war criminals. Kaplan told reporters that these cases are not affected by the destruction of the files.

Ordered probe

Kaplan told Quebec Superior Court Justice Jules Deschenes, who is heading the inquiry, that when he read Gibson's memo "I immediately went right down the hall and told the deputy" to find out from the department of immigration why the files had been destroyed.

"But I don't know what happened because the election was called (before the investigation was completed)," he said. "I take it for granted this is one of the issues you (Deschenes) can look into. I'm interested myself to know what happened."

Gibson was contacted by The Star, but refused to comment. He suggested Solicitor-General Perrin Beatty might discuss the matter today.

The commission was established in February by the Progressive Conservative government to determine how many alleged war criminals are in Canada, how they got here and what can be done to bring then to justice.

Kaplan declined to say whether he thought the file destruction was part of a conspiracy to protect war crimes suspects in Canada or simply an attempt to make room in government offices.

Not routine

But Montreal law professor Irwin Cotler, who is representing the Canadian Jewish Congress at the inquiry, said the unauthorized file destruction came at a time when the Jewish community was actively lobbying the government for action on war crimes suspects.

He also noted the file destruction began shortly after Helmut Rauca of Willowdale, the only war criminal Canada has ever taken any action against, was arrested for extradition to West Germany to face charges that he murdered 11,584 Lithuanian Jews and others during the war.

He was successfully extradited but he died in jail before standing trial.

The file destruction "does not appear to me to be part of a routine destruction," Cotler told reporters. "The commission should investigate as fully as possible what brought about the destruction at that time."

LOAD-DATE: May 13, 1999

[19a] Toronto Star | Nov. 29, 1986 | D. Vienneau - Nazi probe: Trouble looms for Mulroney

Copyright 1986 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd. The Toronto Star

November 29, 1986, Saturday, SATURDAY SECOND EDITION


LENGTH: 1247 words

HEADLINE: Nazi probe: Trouble looms for Mulroney Deschenes' report is ready but it may be too hot to handle

BYLINE: By David Vienneau Toronto Star


OTTAWA - There are an unknown number of Canadians who after 40 years of anonymity are nervously sitting at home wondering if they are about to be identified as alleged Nazi war criminals by a commission of inquiry.

They must also be agonizing over whether they will at some point in the future be forced into fighting a deportation order or defending themselves against the most heinous of crimes in a Canadian court of law.

The commission, which has held their fate in its hands, next week quietly transfers that potentially explosive responsibility to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney when it submits its more than 1,000-page report to his office.

Commission officials have said it contains a private addendum that "names names," thereby officially confirming there are alleged Nazis in Canada.

The public version of the report containing recommendations on how to deal with them will put incredible pressure on the government to respond in a manner that shows it will not tolerate the presence of alleged mass murderers in Canada.

Racial tension

The government, which apparently appointed the one-man commission headed by Quebec Superior Court Judge Jules Deschenes against the advice of senior bureaucrats, has not been looking forward to having to follow-up on the report.

This is because of the racial tension the commission investigation has caused between Canada's Ukrainian and Jewish communities.

But David Matas, lawyer for the League of Human Rights of B'nai Brith of Canada, says once people are identified as suspects it becomes a matter of justice, not race.

"If the commission is saying there are mass murderers in Canada and there is a legal means of dealing with them the government must act," he said in an interview. "For the government to abandon such a report would mean it is interfering with the the administration of justice.

"They can't very well prosecute murderers who commit their crimes here while ignoring those who have committed similar crimes outside our borders."

The inquiry was appointed in February 1985 after reports the notorious Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele may have tried to enter Canada in 1962.

Mulroney asked Deschenes to head an inquiry to determine if Mengele had in fact attempted to enter Canada and, secondly, to see how many alleged Nazis are here, how they got here and what can be done about bringing them to justice.

Too late

A week later the RCMP released documents showing that Mengele had never been in Canada. Critics, apparently choosing to neglect the second part of the inquiry's mandate, said this proved the inquiry was created under false pretences. But by then, it was too late.

Deschenes has investigated allegations made against approximately 800 Canadians. He has also probed extensively into the past to determine how successive governments dealt with this controversial issue.

Canadians learned that even though the government privately acknowledged suspected Nazis were here, nothing was done. The long-term policy was that no legal remedy existed to bring war criminals to justice.

Irwin Cotler of the Canadian Jewish Congress says this is a national embarrassment.

"One searches in vain throughout these 40 years for any evidence of moral sensibility about the horrors of the Holocaust, or any evidence of concomitant responsibility to bring suspected Nazi war criminals to justice," he said.

"Rather, what one finds throughout is the reduction of the Holocaust to a footnote and the concomitant bureaucratization of horror into a technical rationalization of why nothing can be done - a bureaucratization of evil that emerges as a blueprint for government inaction."

Canada has taken action against only one suspected Nazi. Three years ago, Helmut Rauca of Willowdale was extradited to West Germany to stand trial for the murder of 11,585 Lithuanian Jews and others. He died before the case went to trial.

Among the major commission-related findings were:

* In 1948, the British government and its Commonwealth allies, including Canada, decided to stop prosecuting suspected Nazis. That same year the cabinet approved a special order permitting three alleged Nazi collaborators to stay in Canada despite a deportation order.

* In 1951, Count Jacques de Bernonville, former right-hand man of Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie, fled Canada after being quietly tipped off by then prime minister Louis St. Laurent that his appeal of a deportation order had failed.

* In 1962, John Diefenbaker's government was advised not to prosecute Nazi war criminals hiding in Canada because doing so would appear to be pandering to Jewish groups intent on revenge. Senior bureaucrats also warned that such proceedings could antagonize West Germany and alienate many Third-World countries not overly concerned about Nazi atrocities.

* In 1966, the RCMP confirmed that 11 suspected war criminals identified by Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal had been Canadian citizens since 1956. He was not asked to provide evidence against them because Ottawa concluded no legal grounds existed to act against them.

* A 1981 cabinet discussion paper said that as many as 100 suspected Nazi war criminals were living in Canada, but the government did not believe it had enough evidence to prosecute any of them.

Deschenes himself did not escape controversy.

He caused an outpouring of emotions, particularly in the Ukrainian community, when he announced that inquiry officials would travel to the Soviet Union and Poland to collect evidence against 15 suspected Nazis living in Canada.

Despite tough safeguards, Ukrainians vehemently opposed this decision because they said Soviet evidence would be politically motivated and witnesses would be intimidated by the KGB (secret police) to lie against Canadians.

The Soviets ultimately told the inquiry it had 34 witnesses wanting to testify against two Canadians - including a former Etobicoke businessman - but Deschenes cancelled the proposed visit when both countries refused to agree to his strict guidelines.

There are a number of suggested legal instruments for dealing with Nazi war criminals that Deschenes might recommend, including revoking their citizenship so they can be deported to their native countries.

Other options include negotiating extradition treaties with West Germany and Israel to allow suspected Nazis to be sent to those countries for trial and the establishment of a U.S.-type Office of Special Investigations responsible for carrying out future investigations.

Most likely, Deschenes will recommend the Criminal Code be amended so alleged Nazis can be tried in Canada according to Canadian rules of evidence.

The Law Reform Commission of Canada, Matas, Cotler and Y.R. Botiuk, a lawyer for the Brotherhood of Veterans of the Ukrainian National Army have all endorsed this action. Only John Sopinka, who represented the Ukrainian Canadian Committee, opposed this remedy.

He said such a retroactive legal manoeuvre would be an affront to Canadian legal traditions. But Matas says Section 11(g) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms makes provision for such a recommendation.

It says any person charged with an offence has the right "not to be found guilty of any act or omission unless, at the time of the act or omission, it constituted an offence under Canadian or international law or was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations."

GRAPHIC: 2 photos Judge Jules Deschenes; Josef Mengele

LOAD-DATE: May 13, 1999

[20a] Toronto Star | Sep. 26, 1988 | D. Vienneau - Speed up hunt for Nazi suspects, Jews urge

Copyright 1988 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd.
The Toronto Star

September 26, 1988, Monday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 766 words

HEADLINE: Speed up hunt for Nazi suspects, Jews urge

BYLINE: By David Vienneau Toronto Star


OTTAWA - As Canada's second attempt at dealing with an alleged Nazi war criminal is about to begin, an increasingly frustrated Jewish community wants to know why more is not being done.

Federal lawyers are scheduled to appear in a Vancouver courtroom today where they will attempt to convince a Federal Court judge that alleged Nazi collaborator Jacob Luitjens should be stripped of his citizenship.

Jewish spokesman say that while Luitjens' case is significant, the federal government should have acted against him years ago. His well-publicized case has been known since shortly after he arrived in Canada in 1961.

They want to know why, especially since Canada has a year-old law that was enacted to permit prosecution of alleged Nazis in Canada, only one charge has been laid.

"There is a sense of frustration at this moment in the Canadian Jewish community," said Frank Dimant, executive director of the League of Human Rights of B'nai B'rith.

"This is one of the most crucial matters on the Jewish agenda not only for Holocaust survivors but for second-generation Jews. Frankly, we had hoped for more action."

Imre Finta, a former Metro restaurateur, is to be tried early next year.

He is charged with manslaughter and other crimes in the deaths of thousands of Jews who were deported from Hungary to Nazi death camps.

Some Jewish spokesmen say the inaction is a result of the government being excessively cautious in preparing cases because it knows it cannot afford to lose at what would undoubtedly be high-profile trials.

Others suggest that, as a federal election approaches, the government does not want to walk into an emotional minefield that could cost it support at the polls.

"This is not an ethnic issue, it's a justice issue," Montreal lawyer Irwin Cotler says.

"The government must make a clear commitment that bringing (alleged war criminals) to justice is one of the great moral imperatives of our time."

Passage of the new law followed a recommendation by a federal inquiry in March, 1987, that Canada should take immediate action against 20 suspects and continue investigations against 218 others.

The $4 million commission, headed by Quebec Judge Jules Deschenes, never identified any of the suspects so there is no guarantee that either Luitjens or Finta were on the inquiry's list of suspects.

The government refuses to say anything about current investigations.

Sol Littman of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, which researches the Holocaust, says there is anxiety in the Jewish community because time is running out. Witnesses are dying and memories are fading.

There are also fears that some suspects may attempt to flee the country.

Another factor is Canada's shameful record of inaction, he says. Deschenes revealed that even though successive governments privately acknowledged that suspected Nazis were here, they did nothing about bringing them to justice.

Suspected Nazi

Prior to the Luitjens and Finta cases, Canada took action against only one suspected Nazi.

Four years ago, Albert Helmut Rauca of Willowdale was extradited to West Germany to stand trial for the murder of 11,585 Lithuanian Jews and others. He died before the case went to trial.

William Hobson, the justice department lawyer who heads the government's war crimes unit, says he understands why the Jewish community is so disgruntled.

"I understand the emotional reaction," he said. "But I have to ask these people what delay they are talking about."

Hobson says the fact that two cases are before the courts proves the government has not been idle.

He said many Canadians falsely assume that when Deschenes turned his files over to the government they contained enough evidence to lay a charge.

"Deschenes said if the government undertakes this work it will be a monumental undertaking, which it is," he said.

In the Luitjens case, the government wants his citizenship taken away so he can be deported, likely to the Netherlands where in 1948 he was convicted in absentia of being a Nazi collaborator.

Ottawa says Luitjens concealed his Nazi past when he entered Canada from Paraguay in 1961.

Documents filed with the Federal Court say Luitjens, a former University of British Columbia botany professor, assisted in the roundup and torture of Jews and members of the Dutch resistance during World War II.

Dimant was part of a delegation that discussed the issue with Prime Minister Brian Mulroney in June. He says he came away from the meeting convinced that additional prosecutions will be launched within a year.

LOAD-DATE: May 13, 1999

[21a] Maclean's | Mar. 23, 1987 | M. Drohan et al - A safe haven no longer

Copyright 1987 Maclean Hunter Limited

March 23, 1987


LENGTH: 1434 words

HEADLINE: A safe haven no longer



For Frank Dimant, a Jew whose parents survived the horrors of the Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps, March 12, [1987] was the beginning "of a new era" in Canada. On that day the federal government announced that, after almost 40 years of inaction, it would begin tracking down and prosecuting war criminals who had found refuge within Canadian borders. The announcement accompanied the release of an 837-page report by Mr. Justice Jules Deschenes, the Quebec judge appointed two years ago to find out how many such criminals had slipped into Canada since the Second World War and how they could be brought to justice. Based on the report, Justice Minister Ramon Hnatyshyn declared that the government would amend the Criminal Code to allow for trials of the 20 suspected Nazi war criminals who Deschenes said are living in Canada. Declared a jubilant Dimant, executive vice-president of B'nai B'rith: "Canada will no longer be a safe haven for Nazi war criminals."

The report came at a time when the trial in Jerusalem of alleged war criminal John Demjanjuk has raised international sensitivities about atrocities committed in Nazi-controlled Europe. Demjanjuk, a former auto mechanic from Cleveland, Ohio, is accused of being the notorius Ivan the Terrible, who helped to supervise the murder of 850,000 Jews at the Treblinka concentration camp. Stripped of his American citizenship in 1981, Demjanjuk was subsequently extradited to Israel to stand trial (page 23). Other countries have also prosecuted war criminals recently. But Canada's record until now has been poor. Since the Second World War Ottawa has taken action against only one suspected Nazi: Helmut Rauca of Toronto, who was extradited to West Germany in 1983 and died while awaiting trial. Last week Jewish and Ukrainian leaders joined Liberal and NDP spokesmen in welcoming both the report -- and Hnatyshyn's pledge of swift action. Said Irwin Cotler, counsel to the Deschenes Commission for the Canadian Jewish Congress: "The Deschenese report is Canada's Nuremburg tribunal."

The commission was set up in February, 1985, amid disturbing reports about the number of war criminals in Canada. Nazi hunter Sol Littman, the Toronto-based representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Center of Los Angeles, claimed in a December, 1984, letter to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney that the notorious Dr. Josef Mengele -- known as the Angel of Death to the inmates of Auschwitz -- had applied to emigrate to Canada in 1962. The Wiesenthal people estimated the number of war criminals in Canada at 6,000. But after 22 months of study, Deschenes concluded that there was "not a shred of evidence" to support Littman's contention about Mengele. And estimates of the number of war criminals, he said, had been "grossly exaggerated."

After the commission considered 936 cases, Deschenes recommended that 698 of those should be closed: either the suspects had died, moved elsewhere or there was insufficient evidence against them. Another 218 cases required further investigation, he said, and 20 required urgent action. Although Deschenes noted that Canada was no worse than some other Western countries and had never knowingly aided a war criminal, his chronicle of Canada's pathetic record on war criminals made dismal reading. Since 1948, when the British government quickly urged Commonwealth members to drop further trials against alleged offenders, he said, "Canada has not devoted the slightest energy to the search and prosecution of war criminals."

But even if Canada had been more vigorous, Canadian law would have made it difficult to bring suspects to justice. Deschenes recommended several solutions, including amending the Criminal Code so that prosecutions can take place in Canada. In addition, he urged streamlined procedures for deportation and denaturalization of war criminals; extradition of suspected war criminals to other countries; and establishment of a special team of lawyers, historians and police officers within the RCMP to pursue suspected war criminals full time. Deschenes also suggested that investigators should seek evidence in Eastern Bloc countries -- a point strongly contested by Ukrainian groups, which argued that the Soviet Union might fabricate evidence for political ends, hurting innocent people. In the Demjanjuk case, Israeli prosecutors have used evidence supplied by the Soviets -- an identity card issued by Nazi authorities -- which his lawyers insist was forged by the KGB.

Hnatyshyn, while praising the report for clearing away the "mystery and speculation of war criminals in Canada," rejected the recommended changes to extradition and deportation rules. Instead of "exporting our responsibility to other countries," he said, Canadians should have the "political maturity" to face the issue at home. Although he gave no firm dates, Hnatyshyn promised that the government would move quickly to introduce amendments to the Criminal Code. His "made-in-Canada" approach would also include giving sufficient resources to the RCMP to conduct investigations wherever it chooses, including Eastern Europe.

The positive reaction to the report among Jewish and Ukrainian groups raised hopes for easing the tensions that have grown between the two communities since Deschenes began his work. But spokesmen for both groups said that the wounds would take time to heal. Dating back centuries, the divisions are rooted in the Ukraine, where Jews and Ukrainians were separated by religion, economic class and political status. Stephen Jaworsky, a Ukranian journalist who lives in Ottawa, said that wild accusations were made in the past two years about "blood-thirsty Ukrainians," which tarred the whole community. "I do not deny there were individual collaborators and individual criminals," he said. "But to try to put the blame on a whole community is very, very unjust."

For his part, Littman dismissed the reports of tension as a "figment of the media's imagination." But he acknowledged that some "bitter-enders in both the Jewish and the Ukrainian communities are snarling at each other from a distance." Now there is hope that the promise of government action will resolve the problem. Declared John Gregorowich, spokesman for the Ukrainian Canadian Committee: "Something will be done, instead of argument about what should be done."

In Ukrainian communities, leaders were pleased that Deschenes had vindicated members of the Galicia Division, a Ukrainian military unit recruited by the Germans in 1943. Deschenes said bluntly that charges of war crimes against division members, some of whom emigrated to Canada, "have never been substantiated" and that "mere membership in the Galicia Division is insufficient to justify prosecution." Said former Galicia member Wasyl Veryha: "It is a fair report." Liberal MP Robert Kaplan, a Jew, said that the division was always thought of as "a symbol of evil" and that Deschenes has noted that it was made up of individuals, "some of whom are clearly not guilty of war crimes." Kaplan said he hoped that the Deschenes report had cleared the air between the two communities. "We have an opportunity here as a nation to heal a rift that has existed for a long time," he said.

But concerns remained about how quickly the Conservative government would proceed with the recommended investigations and legislation. Arthur Hiess, Quebec director of the League for Human Rights for B'nai B'rith, said that the league "will closely monitor the government to ensure that it acts promptly in amending the Criminal Code and in its commitment to deport alleged war criminals to countries with which it has an extradition treaty." For his part, Kaplan said that the 20 individuals singled out for urgent action "know who they are" and added that he feared they might leave the country before the government acted. "If there is no legislation before June," he said, "there will be a great opportunity for fugitives from justice to escape."

And New Democratic Party justice critic Svend Robinson noted that the government had not hired any new RCMP investigators, although it has had the report since Dec. 30. Declared Robinson: "The biological clock is ticking. Those who are accused are getting older." Indeed, unless they were very young when they committed their alleged crimes, the people identified by Deschenes in a confidential annex presented to the government along with his main report are now in their 60s, 70s and 80s. No matter how fast the government acts, death may claim them before the courts can.

GRAPHIC: Picture 1, Gregorowich: 'something will be done, instead of argument about what should be done", JIM MERRITHEW; Picture 2, Deschenes: 20 suspected war criminals; Picture 3, Littman: tension between communities, JIM MERRITHEW

[22a] Toronto Star | Mar. 13, 1987 | D. Vienneau - Report will ease ethnic tensions Liberal MP says

Copyright 1987 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd.
The Toronto Star

March 13, 1987, Friday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 885 words

HEADLINE: Report will ease ethnic tensions Liberal MP says

BYLINE: By David Vienneau and Joel Ruimy Toronto Star


OTTAWA - Canada now has a unique opportunity to heal a longtime rift that has existed between Jews and Ukrainians, Liberal MP Robert Kaplan says.

"I hope Canadians can build on this report," he told reporters yesterday, following release of the Deschenes commission report on alleged Nazi war criminals in Canada.

"We have an opportunity here as a nation to heal a rift that has existed for a long time."

The two ethnic communities have been eyeing each other warily since the end of the World War II, and Jules Deschenes' exhaustive investigation brought out into the open the historic dislike they have for each other.

'Redeeming' document

The antagonism was quickly evident during the inquiry's public hearings, where often their respective spokesmen could barely disguise their contempt for the other side.

Kaplan, a Jew, said the 996-page report was a "redeeming document," because it illustrates quite lucidly why war crimes suspects should be dealt with on a case-by-case basis according to Canadian traditions of justice.

Both Jewish and Ukrainian groups agree.

Jewish groups yesterday told reporters they were happy with recommendations that the government try suspected Nazi war criminals in Canada, and that it take urgent action against 20 alleged war criminals currently living here.

Ukrainian officials said they were pleased with a passage in the report that exonerates the Galicia Division - a wartime unit composed of Ukrainians who fought alongside German troops against the Russians - from war crimes.

'Improved' relations

Each agreed the report should cut down on tensions arising from blanket charges by some Jews that Ukrainians took part in atrocities, and counter-charges by some Ukrainians that Jews are too eager to condemn an entire community for the acts of a few.

"The whole Deschenes process, in fact, improved relations between ethnic communities in Canada," said Frank Chalk, chairman of the eastern region of the B'nai B'rith League for Human Rights.

Asked if he understood the Ukrainian community to feel the same way, he replied emphatically: "In fact, I know they do."

Y.R. Botiuk, the lawyer who represented the first division of the Ukrainian National Army before the commission, said "relations between the Jewish and Ukrainian communities from now on will be more harmonious.

"It's essential for both communities to realize that no collective indictment serves any purpose," Botiuk added. "Criminals should be dealt with on an individual basis."

'Fair report'

One veteran of the Galicia Division added that he was pleased his old unit, which he described as "just a front-line unit," was officially cleared because there had been war-crimes allegations against 217 of its former members now living in Canada.

"In general, what we heard today was, it seems to us, a fair report," Wasyl Veryha said.

Bert Raphael, counsel the B'nai B'rith League of Human Rights, said the "important thing now is to see what the government does."

Speaking for the Canadian Jewish Congress, legal scholar Irwin Cotler said he was satisfied with what he called the "underlying message" of the report: "There cannot be a statute of limitations for those who are guilty of the worst crimes in history."

But he also called on the government to move quickly to implement recommendations calling for amendments to the federal Criminal Code that would permit alleged war criminals to be tried in Canadian courts.

In Toronto, Holocaust survivor Michael Rosenberg, 60, told reporters he was "pleased" with the commission's findings, The Star's Janice Turner reports.

'Tremendous sadness'

But he quickly tempered his remarks.

"I would like to add on to it a note of tremendous sadness. Sadness that it took 40 years for the justice wheels in Canada to grind, to come to the conclusion that there are Nazi war criminals amongst us."

Rosenberg said he was disappointed that the Canadian government "does not find it necessary to set up a special force to investigate the cases and bring them to court. I hope that it does not take another decade before anyone is really brought to justice."

But John Sopinka, lawyer for the Ukrainian Canadian Committee, lauded the commission's decision not to recommend the establishment of a U.S.-style Office of Special Investigations to collect evidence against alleged Nazis.

The government has said the job will be done by an existing RCMP unit, which will work closely with the department of justice.

"If you create a special unit, (its members) aren't subject to the same traditions as the ordinary prosecutors are in the department of justice - that is to see that justice is done rather than having some mission to get as many convictions as possible."

In Winnipeg, meanwhile, a member of a committee formed last summer to ease tensions between the two communities, believes its role is over.

Lawyer Alan MacInnes said the ad hoc committee published a letter in several Canadian newspapers urging the Ukrainian and Jewish communities to acknowledge the need for the Deschenes commission.

He said response to a letter from Winnipeg's 100,000-strong Ukrainian and 15,000-member Jewish communities was so positive that no outbreak of tensions is expected in the wake of the report.

GRAPHIC: 2 photos Michael Rosenberg; John Sopinka

LOAD-DATE: May 13, 1999

[23a] Record (Bergen) | Mar. 13, 1987 | AP - 20 Nazis reported in Canada

Copyright 1987 Bergen Record Corp.
The Record

March 13, 1987; FRIDAY; ALL EDITIONS


LENGTH: 503 words


SOURCE: Wire services

BYLINE: The Associated Press


At least 20 people suspected of Nazi war crimes are living in Canada, a judicial commission reported yesterday, and the government promised to enact laws to prosecute them.

The Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, headed by Judge Jules Deschenes, also said the number of war criminals in Canada has been grossly exaggerated, and there is no need for a U.S.-style Office of Special Investigations.

Instead of 3,000 to 6,000 suspects, as Jewish groups allege, the panel said it found about 900 cases to investigate, most of them East Europeans. Its two years of work cost $ 4 million ($ 3 million U.S.).

The long-awaited commission report said it found sufficient evidence for the government to act immediately against 20 people, either deporting them or putting them on trial.

Justice Minister Ray Hnatyshyn told Parliament yesterday that the government would propose legislation to permit prosecution of war criminals in Canada for crimes they committed elsewhere.

He did not say when the government would propose the bill. The legislation is expected to pass easily in Parliament, where Prime Minister Brian Mulroney's Conservative Party has a large majority.

Hnatyshyn rejected negotiating new extradition arrangements with countries seeking the return of suspects, such as Israel and the Soviet Union, and said the government would not strip suspects of citizenship retroactively, as the commission suggested.

Canada will seek evidence from witnesses in the Soviet Union and other countries but will follow its customary judicial safeguards, Hnatyshyn said.

According to the report, 698 cases were dismissed for lack of evidence or because the people died or never reached Canada. It said further investigation is needed in 218 cases.

No names were included in the 966-page public report.

Sol Littman, Canadian representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which hunts Nazi war criminals, accused the commission of "wholesale dismissal by ineptness." He expressed doubt of the government's commitment to prosecute even those cases in which atrocities can be proven.

"We're going to watch and wait, but not wait very long because the biological clock is ticking away and some criminals may cheat justice by dying," Littman told The Associated Press.

He said experience in other countries showed that "normal police procedures aren't adequate for this kind of crime" and only special Nazi-hunting units can track down war criminals in hiding.

Irwin Cotler, spokesman for the Canadian Jewish Congress, backed the idea of Canadian trials for war criminals.

"The Deschenes commission has given the government the remedies," he told a news conference. "It is now the responsibility of the government to exercise the requisite political will."

In New York, Abraham H. Foxman, associate national director of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, said Canada has shown "a commitment to securing justice."

LOAD-DATE: March 23, 1996

[24a] Jerusalem Post | Aug. 14, 1989 | W. Van Leer - Reflections on the Deschenes Commission's Inquiry on war criminals living in Canada. Giving Nazi-hunting a bad name.

Copyright 1989 The Jerusalem Post
The Jerusalem Post

August 14, 1989, Monday


LENGTH: 1467 words


BYLINE: Wim Van Leer

IT HAS BEEN over two-and-a-half years since the publication in Ottawa on December 30, 1986 of the report of the Canadian government's Deschenes Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals allegedly living in Canada. At the outset of the inquiry, Simon Wiesenthal had provided the commission with a list of the names of Ukrainian members of the Galicia SS division who were thought to be resident in Canada.

IT HAS BEEN over two-and-a-half years since the publication in Ottawa on December 30, 1986 of the report of the Canadian government's Deschenes Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals allegedly living in Canada. At the outset of the inquiry, Simon Wiesenthal had provided the commission with a list of the names of Ukrainian members of the Galicia SS division who were thought to be resident in Canada.

A thorough investigation by the Canadian security services revealed that of the 217 names: 187 never entered Canada; 11 did come to Canada but have died since; two came to Canada but left for other countries; 16 had no prima facie case against them; one could not be traced.

With respect to the 187 cases, the report noted that the commission requested Wiesenthal "to furnish further information on the suspect; Mr. Wiesenthal indicated that he was unable to comply."

IT ALL BEGAN on May 19, 1971 when, in The Toronto Star, Wiesenthal alleged that there were "several hundred" war criminals living in Canada. Over the next 15 years, a series of different estimates - largely escalating - appeared in various newspapers citing a number of sources including Professor Irwin Cotler and the Jewish Defence League. These estimates culminated in a statement by Wiesenthal carried in The New York Daily News of May 16, 1986 to the effect that there were 6,000 war criminals living in Canada.

The commission of inquiry was established in February, 1985 under the Hon. Jules Deschenes, LL.D., F.R.S.C. It submitted its findings to Her Excellency the Governor General in Council 23 months later.

Once the inquiry got under way, a number of lists of names, in addition to Wiesenthal's list, were submitted to the Deschenes Commission. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) had 355 files; one Joseph Riwash, a Quebec real estate broker, submitted 707 names "supplied at random by Yad Vashem." Among other sources of names were the Canadian Jewish Congress and Professor Cotler - 209; Sol Littman, Wiesenthal's man in Canada - 171; B'nai Brith (Canada) and David Matas - 100; a list of personal accusations held by the Ministry of Justice - 81; the Canadian Holocaust Remembrance Association - 54; Israel Police - 54, which were part of the B'nai Brith list; the Jewish Federation of New Jersey - 49; the USSR - 43 names; Ephraim Zuroff - 29 names.

With everyone and his mother getting into the act, the commission was faced with a formidable total of 2,114 names. Its first task was to weed out the many duplications. The commission made a master list of 774 cases for inquiry; the synopsis of their findings in these cases occupies 559 pages in the English-language version of the report, and 575 pages in the French.

The commission's work was greatly complicated by the fact that most of the accusations it received were fairly vague and undetailed; many failed to mention the whereabouts or address of the suspects or the specifics of their crimes.

THE REPORT CONSISTS of three parts. The first is the published report, which runs to 966 pages in English and 1,004 in French. It gives the legal and operational methodology and background, as well as the details of the 776 cases on the masterlist, which are identified only by numbers; all names and identifying details are suppressed in order not to embarrass the innocent.

The second part, which was and still is secret, supplies the names and personal details of the cases. The third part is also secret. It deals with the immigration certificates granted people on the list by virtue of their scientific or technical skills.

In 96 per cent of the cases, the commission did not communicate with the suspects or their families, as it recommended that their files be closed. Twenty-nine were summoned for investigation; of these, a further nine cases were closed. With respect to the remaining 20 cases, Part II of the report recommends that steps be taken towards either revocation of citizenship and deportation, or criminal prosecution.

Simon Wiesenthal's list of 217 names was submitted to the commission through Robert Kaplan, the solicitor-general at the time, with an accompanying statement which read in part: "Enclosed please find the list of the Ukrainian SS-Officers who survived the war and are not living in Europe. According to our experience, a great number of them should live in Canada."

The published report concluded that this list was "nearly totally useless and put the Canadian government ... to a considerable amount of purposeless work."

IT IS STATEMENTS like this which give Nazi-hunting a bad name.

The meagre results were not for lack of trying. Commissioner Jules Deschenes, a former Supreme Court justice, and the two counsellors delegated to his commission attended high-level conferences in Holland, Britain, Washington, Berlin, Geneva, The Hague and Paris, and visited the Soviet Union. They also visited five documentation archives in Germany and met with Wiesenthal in New York.

Perhaps a few criminals may have slipped through the Deschenes Commission's tightly-woven net. In the meantime, the hands of time are closing those few files still open.

While there seems to be a feeling in the Jewish world in general and in Israel in particular that, after the end of World War II, no real efforts were made to bring the war criminals to book, this is not true if the statistics of the American Zone of Occupation in Germany are anything to go by.

By the time they had finished, they had meted out 930,000 sentences to German nationals, of which 169,282 were for Nazi or military crimes, whereas the British judged 22,296, the French 17,353 and the Russians 18,000 cases. By Christmas 1945, 141,000 Germans were dismissed from their jobs and many more were sent to internment camps. They included all the teachers in the U.S. zone alone.

At the peak of the process, there were 545 permanent tribunals, with a staff of 22,000 investigators, lawyers and translators. The Americans reported that 13 million had been processed, of whom 3,700,000 were found chargeable. The great majority were tried by the Spruch-Kammer, or summary courts, which handed down 930,000 sentences.

Many of those sentenced were so-called Mussnazis (mandatory Nazis), like postmen, railway workers, charwomen in state offices as well as judges and university professors whose very jobs depended on being members of "the party." Then again, many real war criminals never joined the party - they had their own entree.

Some verdicts were downright foolish. A cause celebre at the time was the case of Wilhelm Furtwangler, the celebrated conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic who was refused permission to return to Berlin as he had performed during the regime and "was therefore a tool of the Nazis." Lost in the quagmire of contradictory definitions and legal subtleties, the Americans threw in the towel and went home. Many real war criminals escaped to distant shores aided mainly by the various specialized branch offices of the Vatican curia in Rome.

TODAY WHAT is called Nazi-hunting is in fact headline-hunting. The Holocaust, having replaced religion and the cause of Israel, has become the cement of Jewish cohesion, and a very lucrative business it is. During a recent visit to the official West German Nazi-hunting organization's facility at Ludwigsburg, I was told that in civilized countries it is difficult to obtain convictions. The witnesses' memories have faded, and they have been forced to reduce their activities.

We have our own problem with John Demjanjuk, the 70-year-old auto worker, condemned to death in Jerusalem on April 25, 1988. His appeal will not be heard for many months, if not years, debasing Israeli justice, despite the concept that "Justice delayed is justice denied." And the issue is one of identity, mistaken or otherwise.

All this is grist for the mills of the followers of Professor Ernst Nolte of Berlin's Free University and his warped historical apologia denying the uniqueness of the Holocaust. In a class of their own, we have Dr. Arthur H. Butz of Northwestern University (Illinois) and his colleague, Robert Faurisson, one-time professor at the University of Lyon, who under the guise of respectable historical research deny that the Holocaust ever took place at all.

The sensation-seekers who supplied the Deschenes Commission with a mass of names without making the slightest attempt to verify the basis of their accusations put the commission to tremendous trouble and vast expenditure. By their actions, these self-styled Nazi-hunters lend credence to the growing forces of darkness who now so glibly speak of the "Holocaust hoax" and, in a manner of speaking, give the Holocaust a bad name.

LOAD-DATE: May 6, 1991

[26a] Toronto Star | Jan. 18, 1988 | D. Vienneau - Deportation from Canada considered, papers show RCMP probed 14 alleged Nazis in 1984

Copyright 1988 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd.
The Toronto Star

January 18, 1988, Monday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 731 words

HEADLINE: Deportation from Canada considered, papers show RCMP probed 14 alleged Nazis in 1984

BYLINE: By David Vienneau Toronto Star


OTTAWA - Four years ago the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was looking at the possibility of either extraditing or deporting 14 alleged Nazi war criminals living in Canada, documents obtained by The Star reveal.

A series of "top-secret, secret and confidential" documents show that prior to the last federal election the RCMP was looking to extradite two suspects and to deport about 12 others.

"The RCMP were proceeding with an investigation on two significant cases even though no formal request had yet been received to initiate extradition proceedings," former deputy solicitor-general Michael Shoemaker wrote on Jan. 17, 1984, in a memorandum stamped secret.

"In addition, the RCMP are carrying out investigations on the denaturalization and revocation of citizenship in about 12 cases. The success of these cases is entirely dependent on the facts."

One of the extradition suspects was a Canadian alleged to have served in a Nazi "extermination unit." The other was a member of the Waffen SS, the elite guard of Nazi party responsible for many wartime atrocities.

But no action was taken on any of the cases.

Federal sources familiar with the issue of Nazi war criminals refuse to say whether the investigations were discontinued because of insufficient evidence, the person was not living in Canada or because of new Progressive Conservative government policy.

Irwin Cotler, a Montreal lawyer who represented the Canadian Jewish Congress before a federal inquiry into Nazi war criminals in Canada, said regardless of the reason it is another example of a government failing to act.

"There has never been any political will to act," he said in an interview yesterday. "I have never understood why the criminal law process has had to grind to a halt when the government was dealing with Nazi war criminals.

"It shows that Nazi war criminals have had a privileged status before the law."

Inquiry formed

Other than entertain requests from foreign countries for the extradition of suspected Nazis, the former Liberal government refused to consider taking any action against war criminals.

When the Conservatives won the 1984 election the new government appointed a commission of inquiry to determine how many alleged Nazis were in Canada and what could be done about it.

The commission, in a report released almost a year ago, urged the government to take immediate action against 20 suspected Nazis and that the federal government continue investigating 218 others.

Mr. Justice Jules Deschenes also recommended the government amend the Criminal Code to allow for alleged Nazis to be tried in Canada and that, where necessary, suspects be extradited or deported.

The government opted for a "made in Canada" solution and decided to only amend the law. Last month, a former Metro restaurateur, Imre Finta, became the first person to be charged in Canada with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Five suspects

Finta is accused of kidnapping and confining 8,615 Jews and of manslaughter in the deaths of an unspecified number of Jews in the later years of World War II. The alleged incidents took place in Hungary, Austria and Poland.

A March 18, 1983, document stamped secret shows that at that time the RCMP had identified Finta to be one of the top five Nazi suspects living in Canada.

"He was convicted in absentia by the Hungarian government some years ago and has been positively identified as living in Canada in the Toronto area," the document shows.

The documents also reveal that a foreign country, either Hungary and Yugoslavia, had at some point discussed the possibility of seeking Finta's extradition but that there was no longer any interest.

The documents from the RCMP, the justice department and the solicitor-general's offices also confirm earlier reports that the United States had located alleged war criminals in Canada without our permission.

U.S. intelligence

A top-secret July, 1983, RCMP document refers to a case "concerning an individual similar to Klaus Barbie" who had been provided with false documentation to enter Canada by the American Counter Intelligence Corps.

"This may not have been an isolated incident and others may have entered Canada under similar circumstances and (are) living in Canada under false identities provided by American intelligence agencies," the document says.

LOAD-DATE: May 13, 1999

[27a] Toronto Star | Oct. 03, 1985 | D. Vienneau - Canada joined secret British scheme to halt Nazi trials, documents reveal

Copyright 1985 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd.
The Toronto Star

October 3, 1985, Thursday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 833 words

HEADLINE: Canada joined secret British scheme to halt Nazi trials, documents reveal

BYLINE: By David Vienneau Toronto Star


OTTAWA - The British government and its Commonwealth allies - including Canada - decided in 1948 to stop prosecuting suspected Nazi war criminals, according to previously top-secret British documents.

In a startling revelation, the documents show that in 1948, a British committee including then-prime minister Clement Attlee concluded that no new trials involving alleged Nazis should begin after Aug. 31 of that year.

Britain asked its allies to do the same.

The release of the documents yesterday, by the federal commission investigating alleged war criminals in Canada, angered lawyers appearing at the hearings.

They said the documents support accusations that Canada has done little to prosecute alleged Nazis living here.

The papers state unequivocally that three years after the end of World War II, Commonwealth leaders wanted desperately to put the war behind them and to concentrate on problems relating to the Cold War.

Secret telegram

"Punishment of war criminals is more a matter of discouraging future generations than of meting out retribution to every guilty individual," says a secret telegram sent July 13, 1948, from the Commonwealth Relations Office to seven Commonwealth countries."

"Moreover, in view of future political developments in Germany envisaged by recent tripartite talks, we are convinced that it is now necessary to dispose of the past as soon as possible."

The document, now on public record, was obtained from the defence ministry in London.

Another confidential document, dated Aug. 13, 1948, says the governments of Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and Australia "have replied agreeing, or at any rate not disagreeing, with our proposals."

The same document cautions that "no public announcement" was to be made about the decision.

Yesterday, officials with Canada's external affairs department said another reason for the British position was that they were in a race with the Soviets and the Americans to recruit German scientists.

154 suspects

As well, the commission - headed by Justice Jules Deschenes of Quebec Superior Court - released a 1947 Canadian document showing that less than a year before receiving the British telegram, the federal government had prepared a report saying it was looking for 154 war criminals.

Commission lawyer Yves Fortier speculated that Canada's decision to agree to drop its pursuit of alleged war criminals may explain why the commission hit many dead ends as it attempted to track down outstanding files since 1947.

"It appears as if Canada acquiesed to the Commonwealth Relations Office suggestion," he told reporters.

"We find that very interesting. It may be the explanation to why we have had difficulty obtaining information from London as to the disposition of outstanding cases."

Dismal record

An outraged Irwin Cotler, representing the Canadian Jewish Congress, said later that the documents illustrate clearly why Canada has had a dismal record in taking action against alleged war criminals.

"In 1948, shortly after the Holocaust and the devastation, when many of the victims were still in displaced persons camps, you have here a clear, unequivocal policy statement saying we should dispense with bringing Nazi war criminals to justice," the lawyer said.

"In other words, Canada agreed in 1948 with the policy taken to suspend the bringing of suspected Nazi war criminals to justice. It reveals, rather dramatically, a cast of mind that was prevalent at the time."

Colter said it is inconceivable that Commonwealth allies could so quickly forget the millions of Jews and others who had died during the war.

"The fact that in 1948 there was already a willingess to put the past aside as soon as possible is a scandalous indictment of the public policy prevailing at that time in the United Kingdom and in members of the Commonwealth which acquiesed with it," Cotler said.

Little action

Canada has only taken action against one suspected war criminal. Two years ago, Helmut Rauca of Willowdale was extradited to West Germany to stand trial for the murder of 11,584 Lithuanian Jews and others. He died before the case came to trial.

In previous years, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had said that such investigations should not be conducted without orders from Ottawa because the force believed that the results could be put to little use.

The government's attitude changed in the early 1980s, largely because of Liberal MP Robert Kaplan, who then was solicitor-general.

Upon his recommendation, the RCMP for the first time began investigations based on complaints from citizens or groups.

The commission was established in February to determine how many alleged Nazis are in Canada, how they got here and how they can be brought to justice.

It has compiled a list of 660 Canadian residents suspected of being war criminals, including eight against whom "serious allegations" have been made.

LOAD-DATE: May 13, 1999

[84a] Canadian Jewish News | Sep. 10, 1998 | S. Kirshner - Abella named to Shiff Chair

Copyright 1998 Micromedia Limited
Canadian Business and Current Affairs
Copyright 1998 Canadian Jewish News
Canadian Jewish News

September 10, 1998

SECTION: v.28(35) S 10'98 pg 21; ISSN: 0008-3941

CBCA-ACC-NO: 4277730

LENGTH: 1111 words

HEADLINE: Abella named to Shiff Chair [J Richard Shiff Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry]

BYLINE: Kirshner, Sheldon

On Sept. 14, Irving Abella ushers in a new era in academia when he delivers the inaugural lecture for the newly established J. Richard Shift Chair for the Study of Canadian Jewry.

Held by Abella, the chair is affiliated with York University's Centre for Jewish Studies. It is the first permanent chair in this field at any institution of higher learning in Canada.

Its establishment, Abella observed, is proof that Canadian Jewish studies have come of age. As he put it: ''A decade ago, no one would have thought it academically viable or useful.''

That this is no longer the case is due in no small part to Abella himself. In 1982, to much acclaim, he and Harold Troper published None Is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe, 1933-1948. It was an instant classic that strikingly underlined the paucity of such books on Canadian Jewry.

In a related impact, None Is Too Many, which has sold a phenomenal 50,000-plus copies and gone through four printings, turned a generation of scholars toward Jewish studies.

Abella himself was galvanized by None Is Too Many, which, he regrets, has yet to be issued in French for the Quebec market. Since its appearance, he has written A Coat of Many Colors: Two Hundred Years of Jewish Life in Canada and Growing Up Jewish in Canada.

And now, Abella, 58, is researching and writing two additional books. The first, concerning Nazi war criminals in Canada, will be out within a year. The second, on Jewish immigration to Canada, will hit book shops in about two years.

Abella's credentials as a scholar account for the fact that he was selected as the occupant of the J. Richard Shift Chair, whose benefactor is a Toronto real estate developer.

A Torontonian whose parents were Polish Jews, Abella will be expected to work toward the achievement of two broad objectives: to promote and encourage research on a wide variety of topics relating to the growth, development and future of the Jewish community in Canada, and to stimulate interest in the study of Canadian Jewry at York University and other institutions in Canada.

He will do this through the medium of seminars, conferences, guest lectures and community outreach.

''We have a wonderful, tumultuous history in Canada, and not too many people know about it,'' said Abella, the first Jewish president-elect of the 80-year-old Canadian Historical Association. ''Jews are not newcomers to Canada, and we should stop behaving as if we were.''

Citing examples, Abella pointed out that Jewish settlers and fur traders beat the English to Upper Canada that Victoria was the first city in British North America to have a Jewish mayor and that the first synagogue in Canada was founded in Montreal more than 200 years ago.

As part of his new duties, Abelie, whose normal teaching load includes courses on Canadian labor and immigration history, will give the first university-level undergraduate course in Canadian Jewish history.

Looking ahead to 1999, he plans to prepare undergraduate courses on Canada and Israel, racism and anti-Semitism, and Canada and the Holocaust.

Abella, who holds three degrees from the University of Toronto, is the only child of the late Louis and Esther, who arrived separately in Canada in the 1920s. A trade unionist and a labor Zionist, Louis opened a tiny dairy restaurant in the garment district, and the family lived in the apartment above it.

As a boy, Abella attended the Toronto Hebrew Day School (now known as the Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto). He spent summers at Camp Kvutza, near Dunnville, Ont., where he met his first Israeli and learned Hebrew folk songs. He recalls his boyhood in a nostalgic essay in a forthcoming commemorative volume entitled Canada and Israel.

Abella remembers his elation when the United Nations partitioned Palestine into Jewish and Arab states in 1947. By the same token, he has not forgotten the endemic anti-Semitism which prevailed in Toronto in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

As a student, he gravitated toward history, captivated by his father's stories and convinced that he was living in an important historical era.

At the University of Toronto, he was drawn to labor history, a topic he has addressed in several books (Nationalism, Communism and Canadian Labor and On Strike: Six Major Industrial Disputes in Canadian History) and countless monographs.

In 1966, when he thought of writing his doctorate on a Canadian Jewish subject, he was politely discouraged, told that there was no one in the department qualified to direct him.

Two years later, following a stint as a researcher for the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, York University's Glendon College hired him as a lecturer. His link with Glendon College remains undimmed.

Abella's formal association with the Jewish community began in 1980, when he chaired the Canadian Jewish Congress' archives. In 1984, he was elected chair of the now-defunct Canadian Professors for Peace in the Middle East.

From 1992 to 1995, he was national president of Canadian Jewish Congress, the second academic after Irwin Cotler to assume that position. During his term of office, he led the first mission of Canadian university presidents to Israel, a development which contributed to the advent of Jewish studies programs in Canada and fostered exchanges between Canadian and Israeli universities.

During the Abella administration, Congress became far more deeply involved in Canadian affairs, including the incendiary war criminal issue.

Abella, who has been chair of Congress' war crimes committee since 1995, is critical of the way in which Canada has handled this file.

Until 1986, the federal government lacked the political will to root out Nazi war criminals, evincing no political benefit in prosecuting them. Despite the formation of the Deschenes Commission, the period from 1986 to 1995 was characterized by bureaucratic indifference.

Since then, judicial apathy has been the order of the day, though Abella welcomes Ottawa's recent decision to step up the hunt for war criminals.

Abella, whose wife Rosalie sits as a judge on the Ontario Court of Appeals and whose two grown boys (Jacob and Zachary) are students, believes that the major challenge facing Jews in Canada today is whether they can transmit Jewish values to the next generation.

''Can we be as strong in the 21st century are we are in the 20th century?''

In closing, he said: ''We should worry more about the rates of assimilation and intermarriage than about anti-Semitism, which is well reduced and nowhere near the levels of my youth.''


LOAD-DATE: July 01, 1999

[93a] Maclean's | Mar. 11, 1985 | R. Laver et al - The search for war criminals

Copyright 1985 Maclean Hunter Limited

March 11, 1985


LENGTH: 2207 words

HEADLINE: The search for war criminals

BYLINE: By Ross Laver, with Robert Block, Cy Jamison, Dave Silburt, Sue Masterman in Vienna, William Lowther and Richard Low in Los Angeles and Linda Powless in Windsor, Ont.

They are three old men now immigrants to Canada living out their winter years in peaceful obscurity. In Vancouver, a 65-year-old former botany lecturer at the University of British Columbia spends quiet days in his white stuccoed bungalow on a secluded street in the city's east end. In Windsor, Ont., a 74-year-old retired steelworker lives alone in a small apartment in a senior citizens' residence, where he occasionally meets with friends to reminisce about their experiences in wartime Romania. And in Amherstburg, Ont., a 67-year-old retiree lives quietly in a small white bungalow with Ukrainian paintings decorating the walls. All three enjoy comfortable, serene lives in their adopted homeland -- disrupted only by persistent allegations that they, and countless others now at large in Canada, are guilty of brutal crimes against humanity committed during the Second World War.

Convicted: Although the exact number of Nazi war criminals and their collaborators who found sanctuary in postwar Canada remains in dispute, there is no doubt that many did so. Indeed, dozens of alleged war criminals living in Canada have already been convicted in absentia by courts in the Soviet Union, Hungary, the Netherlands and Romania. Others -- as many as 3,000, according to Sol Littman, a Toronto author who has written extensively on the Holocaust -- are suspected of having participated in the torture and murder of Jews and non-Jews.

The sticking point in bringing alleged war criminals to justice, Littman and others argue, is not a lack of evidence. Instead, it is the federal government's insistence that it is powerless to proseute alleged war criminals -- and its refusal to enact new laws that would enable it to take action. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, an organization named for the Vienna-based Nazi-hunter, called Ottawa's response inadequate. Said Cooper: "The fact that so many war criminals found a safe haven in Canada is a black mark on your history. It is tantamount to spitting on the open graves of Nazi victims."

Reluctant: Still, Cooper and others hope that Canada's historical reluctance to prosecute wartime mass murderers is about to end. The reason: speculation last month that Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele, who as chief physician at the Auschwitz death camp sent 400,000 people to their deaths, may have tried to enter Canada in 1962. In response to public concern about that case, federal Justice Minister John Crosbie established a commission of inquiry on Feb. 7 to investigate how many war criminals are diving in Canada, how they arrived and whether legal means exist to bring them to justice.

The commission, headed by Mr. Justice Jules Deschenes of the Quebec Superior Court, will have a $1-million budget, and it is to report its findings by Dec. 31, [1985]. Said Crosbie: "The government is concerned that we are not harboring within our midst some of the individuals guilty of commiting the horrible Nazi war crimes of the Second World War." Crosbie also revealed that the government is gathering evidence in one particular case in which it may soon launch a prosecution, although he refused to provide details. And he added that he believes no more than 30 or 40 Nazi war criminals may be at large in Canada -- not the hundreds or thousands that some Jewish groups claim.

In the past 40 years Ottawa has only acted once against an alleged Nazi war criminal. On June 17, 1982, Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrested Germanborn Albert Helmut Rauca while he was washing windows at his modest bungalow in the Toronto suburb of Willowdale. The 73-year-old Rauca, who had been a Canadian citizen since 1956, was once a staff sergeant in Hitler's elite Schutzstaffeln, also known as the Blackshirts -- the dreaded SS. More important, Rauca was the officer in charge of Jews at the Kaunas death camp in Lithuania arid, according to West German investigators, was responsible for the murders of 11,584 Lithuanian Jews.

Slaughter: Under Rauca's command camp guards forced inmates to strip and stand at the edge of open graves before killing them with machine-gun fire. Five months after Rauca's arrest the Supreme Court of Ontario ordered him deported to West Germany to stand trial for the slaughter at Kaunas. He was formally indicted in Frankfurt on Sept. 28, 1983, but died of intestinal cancer in Kassel prison hospital a month later, before he could be brought to trial.

Despite the Rauca case, it seems unlikely that other alleged war criminals in Canada will ever be brought to justice. For one thing, officials in Solicitor General Elmer MacKay's department insist that the only way a Nazi or a Nazi collaborator can be arrested and tried is for another country to seek his extradition -- as West Germany did in the Rauca case. In fact, there have been numerous requests for extradition, but almost all of them came from the Soviet Union or other Communist bloc countries that suffered under Nazi occupation. In each of the Soviet cases, however, Canada has denied the request on the grounds that Ottawa has not signed an extradition treaty with Moscow. Canada does have extradition treaties with Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia, but Ottawa has refused to return alleged war criminals to those countries on the grounds that the accused would not receive a fair trial.

At the same time, Ottawa has turned down numerous requests for extradition by Western European countries. In 1981 the Netherlands government sought the extradition of Jacob Luitjens after former members of wartime resistance forces in Holland traced the Dutch-born botany teacher to Vancouver. Luitjens, who fled from Holland to Paraguay after the war using an assumed name, entered Canada in 1961 and became a citizen in 1971. But in 1948 a Dutch court sentenced him in absentia to life imprisonment for aiding the Nazis; during the trial he was accused of complicity in the deaths of a German army deserter and a Dutch underground member.

Clear: But Canada's extradition treaty with the Netherlands does not specifically cover collaboration with the enemy, so Ottawa refused to act on the request. Luitjens now lives under his own name in east Vancouver, where he attends Mennonite church services on Sundays. Asked recently about his decision to aid the Nazis, he replied: "As a young student in those days, it was my ideal to build a better world. I chose the wrong path." But he added that he personally had not murdered anyone. Said Luitjens: "I am in the clear with God."

Canada's failure to take action in such cases has prompted a storm of criticism from Jewish community leaders. Irwin Cotler, a law professor at Montreal's McGill University, for one, said that because of Ottawa's poor record of admitting Jewish refugees from postwar Europe, Canada should make an extra effort to track down and prosecute Nazi war criminals. Said Cotler: "If there is one Nazi living in Canada, that is too many." For his part, Bert Raphael, a Toronto lawyer and president of the Jewish Civil Rights Educational Foundation of Canada, said that many Jews believe that federal politicians have little enthusiasm for pursuing former Nazis. Said Raphael: "The attitude seems to be: 'So there are a dozen or so hotshot Nazis floating around. Big deal.' "

Atrocities: Littman and other critics argue that Ottawa's jack of zeal in pursuing war criminals stems in part from a reluctance to antagonize Eastern European immigrant groups. They note that the majority of those in Canada suspected of committing wartime atrocities are not German-born but Ukrainian, Romanian, Hungarian and Lithuanian -- and that members of those ethnic groups would likely be offended if one of their number were prosecuted for alleged war crimes. Indeed, last month there were angry protests from Toronto's Ukrainian community after renewed accusations by Wiesenthal. In an Israeli radio interview picked up and rebroadcast in Canada, Wiesenthal said that 218 former Ukrainian officers of the SS who had operated death camps in Eastern Europe were now in Canada.

In response to those charges John Nowosad, president of the Ukrainian Canadian Committee, told a news conference that the allegations "are not historically accurate" and impugn the reputation of Ukrainian Canadians. As well, a Ukrainian Catholic survivor of Auschwitz told Maclean's that according to his study of available records, his countrymen took no part in concentration camp atrocities. Said Michael Marunchak, 70, of Winnipeg: "There were no Ukrainian officers involved in running the camps. Only officers of the German race were allowed to."

Pursued: Most experts acknowledge that the United States has pursued suspected war criminals more vigorously than Canada. Since 1979, when President Jimmy Carter's administration established the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) to track down war criminals who settled in the United States, six alleged Nazis or Nazi collaborators have been stripped of their naturalized citizenship and forced to leave the country. Many more similar rulings are expected. Said OSI director Neal Sher: "We are in high gear now." Indeed OSI's 50 staff members, including lawyers and historians, with a $3.7-million annual budget, are preparing to take 30 suspected war criminals to court and are investigating 300 others.

The most conspicuous success so far for Sher's unit came with the deportation to Portugal last August of Archbishop Valerian D. Trifa, 70, head of the 35,000-member Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America. But it took nine years before Trifa -- accused of inciting a 1941 pogrom in Bucharest which killed at least 300 Christians and Jews -- ended a legal battle to remain in the United States. Said Sher: "Nazi hunting is an arduous, tedious process."

Concealed: Despite increased prosecutions against alleged Nazis, such critics as Representative William Lehman (D-Fla.) maintain that the U.S. government had a policy to avoid vigorous searches for evidence of war crimes. According to recently released intelligence documents, soon after the war ended the United States launched a highly classified campaign called Operation Paperclip. Its aim: to conceal the war crimes of German scientists and intelligence agents in order to ensure their entry to the United States. Said Lehman: "After the war we were trying people and sentencing them to death in Nuremberg, and the same kind of people were being brought into this country to work on our rocket program."

In all, 492 German scientists and engineers were sent to the United States by May, 1945 -- among them the brillian Arthur Rudolph, who later developed the Saturn V rocket which took U.S. astronauts to the moon. When he retired in 1969 the National Aeronautical and Space Administration awarded him the Distinguished Service Medal, the agency's highest civilian honor. But in 1983 then-0SI director Allan A. Ryan visited Rudolph at his home in San Jose, Calif. There, he warned the scientist that he had evidence that Rudolph had been production manager in a Nazi rocket factory where concentration camp inmates had served as slave laborers. Facing prosecution, Rudolph renounced his U.S. citizenship in May, 1984, after returning to West Germany, where he is now living quietly in Hamburg.

There are other instances of war criminals finding a haven in the United States. According to John Loftus, a former U.S. justice department prosecutor, more than 300 Soviet-born Nazi collabo rators were spirited into the United States after the war in return for their participation in Cold War spying operations against the Soviets. At the same time, the British secret service sponsored a similar immigration service for Nazis wanting to get to Canada, Loftus said. And a highly placed intelligence source told Maclean's that several suspected Nazi collaborators entered Canada from the United States after the war using false documentation furnished by U.S. intelligence.

The scheme apparently ended soon after it began when the RCMP learned about the operation and protested because it had not been informed in advance. Former Liberal solicitor general Robert Kaplan, who ordered an investigation, has accused the Conservatives of suppressing a report on the incident. Kaplan himself has also withheld details of the study, arguing that the principle of cabinet secrecy prevents him from releasing such information.

For his part, Wiesenthal says he is frustrated by what he considers to be Canada's shameful record of harboring Nazi war criminals -- and in protest he refuses to visit Canada. Even the Tory decision to appoint a special committee has not placated the 77-year-old Nazi hunter. "They tell me that the Mounties are after them now," said Wiesenthal last week, speaking in a Vienna office guarded by surveillance cameras. "That is good enough for me in the meantime. But I think I will wait until I have seen some results." Unless there are dramatic changes in government policy, it seems likely that elderly men and women accused of horrific crimes almost half a century ago will continue to live out their lives peacefully -- and Wiesenthal will not set foot on Canadian soil.

GRAPHIC: Cover Photo, no caption, BY WIDE WORLD/CANAPRESS; Picture 1, MacKay: disputed numbers, MITCHELL/CP; Picture 2, Boy prisoners in Birkenau: as chief physician, Mengele sent 400,000 people to die; Picture 3, Wiesenthal, Kaplan: an investigation and a refusal to set foot into Canada, NEWS PHOTOS WORDWIDE; Picture 4, Rauca: machine-gun fire, CANAPRESS

[95a] Toronto Star | Nov. 11, 1985 | E. Tesher - Nazi hunters press on in race against time

Copyright 1985 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd.
The Toronto Star

November 11, 1985, Monday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 1705 words

HEADLINE: Nazi hunters press on in race against time

BYLINE: By Ellie Tesher Toronto Star

Simon Wiesenthal, who has spent 40 years tracking Nazi war criminals, sees an end to his mission.

"There's a biological solution: I will die, the witnesses will die, the Nazi criminals will die."

But until then, nothing stops Wiesenthal, 77 - not the death of suspected war criminals nor the magnitude of their crime. "I am not classifying if someone killed only five people or 50,000. Whoever commits crimes is a criminal," he said.

Manhunts to find former Nazi killers and their accomplices - including Canada's current Justice Jules Deschenes commission of inquiry - make headlines in an era of post-Holocaust consciousness.

But although time is running out for the hunted and the hunters, some observers are looking beyond these investigations to today's manifestations of racial hatred.

"We are future"

Yves Fortier, lawyer for the federal Deschenes commission established last February to find Nazi war criminals living in Canada and recommend how to bring them to justice, says: "We are the future. The Holocaust problem will live with humanity for many years to come. People will focus on the enormity of atrocities commited against people because they were born Jewish or were homosexuals or gypsies."

After reviewing dozens of briefs to the commission, which is to report its findings Dec. 31, Fortier says his personal opinion is that "if we don't respond to the atrocities commited during the Holocaust, we'll never respond to others like the Cambodians and the Armenians."

While time runs out, the network commited to rooting out former Nazi war criminals rejects any thought of gearing down.

"Many who commited crimes when they were 20 are now only 60," says Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Los Angeles.

In Canada, suspected war criminals residing here "are not little old men, but pretty tough birds who still have a great deal of influence in their communities," charges Sol Littman, Toronto spokesman for the centre.

Elaine Gortler, at 24, typifies children of Holocaust victims who insist the Nazi-hunt continue: "My father lost five brothers and a sister, my mother lost her brother," says the third-year Osgoode Hall law student.

"We must pursue Nazi war criminals or it is an injustice to Canadian society and to the criminal justice system that we allow murderers to live among us."

Canada has taken legal action against a war criminal only once. Helmut Rauca of Willowdale, was extradited in 1982 to West Germany to stand trial for the murder of 11,584 Lithuanian Jews and others. He died before the case went to court.

Other notorious Nazi mass-murderers have already been apprehended. Klaus Barbie, already sentenced to death twice in absentia, awaits trial in France for the killings of 4,000 people and deporting 7,500 others to death camps. The body of Josef Mengele, the Auschwitz doctor responsible for the murders of 400,000 inmates, was found in Brazil this year.

Nazi-seekers reject the idea of softening justice for less-sensational atrocities or due to the passage of time.

Sole survivor

Bernie Farber, 35, a community relations director for the Canadian Jewish Congress, says: "My father came from a village in Poland of 670 Jews. He is their sole survivor. He lost two young sons, his wife, his brothers and sisters - everything.

"He's now 85. Some of his antagonists would be his age. Speak to him or any other survivor as to what role their Nazi tormentors played and whether any were insignificant or what difference their age makes."

Now the monitors of post-Holocaust justice have a second-generation quest. Their targets are neo-Nazis, Holocaust denial groups, racists.

"Some are extremely dangerous and have commited murders," says Irving Abella, York University history professor, and author of None Is Too Many, a book exposing Canada's poor record of accepting post-World War II Jewish immigrants.

Abella, referred to the June, 1984, slaying of Jewish radio talk-show host Alan Berg, in Denver, Colo. The 23 people indicted for trial last April for Berg's murder are members of a militant U.S. neo-Nazi group sometimes known as The Order.

In Los Angeles, headquarters of the $3-million-a-year Wiesenthal Centre operations that includes a Holocaust museum, there is strong concern over Louis Farrakhan, an American black leader whom Heir says preaches "anti-Semitism and hatred. In one speech, Farrakhan called Judaism "a gutter religion."

Farrakhan followers packed Madison Square Garden last month and an estimated 15,000 heard him in Los Angeles in September. "We consider him to dangerous phenomenon in U.S. bigotry in a long time, attracting the largest crowds in 30 years," Hier said.

In Canada, two highly-publicized trials were closely followed by groups that monitor anti-Semitism, such as the Canadian Jewish Congress and the B'nai B'rith League for Human Rights.

Ernst Zundel, a Toronto publisher, was convicted last February of knowingly publishing false statements concerning Jews. Jim Keegstra, a former Eckville, Alta., teacher, was convicted last July of wilfully promoting hatred against Jews.

Not lobbies

"We are not lobbies of Jewish vengeance," says Littman. "But individual people would tend to get shunted aside (when seeking action against racists)."

Wiesenthal, one of a handful of individual Nazi-hunters, says his Vienna-based Jewish Documentation Centre is already looking beyond the Holocaust.

"We look at radicals from the right wing. Their first target is always the Jews."

In Europe, non-Jewish and Jewish survivors form an international resistance group that informs the German government about neo-Nazis through monitoring their publications and tracking them down, he says.

"My legacy is that we should not ignore the beginnings. We should fight every injustice we see," Wiesenthal says.

Canada's Jewish community leaders agree. Jack Silverstone, national director of Canadian Jewish Congress, says a second-generation memorial committee is already studying "all political ramifications of the Holocaust.

"We're urging positive action." Last week was Holocaust education week in Jewish communities, with related speakers, films, seminars and book reviews open to the public.

Alan Shefman, national director of the League for Human Rights, calls his watchdog group "the best source, along with the U.S. Anti-Defamation League, on extremist right-wing groups in Canada today.

"We work with police forces and government agencies to monitor and analyze their impact."

Ottawa's commission of inquiry into Nazi war criminals residing in Canada is considered by some as a crucial weapon against racism, but Wiesenthal isn't hopeful.

In a telephone interview, he told The Star: "To kill a matter is to make a commission. There is nothing new about Canada's position."

He slammed Canada's record of ignoring evidence of war criminals living here - including a list of 218 Ukranian volunteers, Nazi SS officers, which he gave to the RCMP. "The time is running out and Canada is paralyzed to act."

Wiesenthal, in protest, refuses to visit Canada. The survivor of Nazi death camps says to oppose continued manhunts and prosecutions is to "blame the victims and protect the criminals."

Decision pending

For Justice Deschenes, with a $1 million budget, the mandate is clear. He is to find if Nazi war criminals reside in Canada, how they came here and when, and determine how to prosecute them under present laws or recommend new ways to prosecute, such as by amending the Criminal Code to include war crimes.

Controversy has flared because of a pending decision of the commission to seek evidence in the Soviet Union against former Nazis and their collaborators.

Some Canadians of East European origin fear that the Soviets will use the opportunity to discredit people who emigrated here by supplying false evidence against them.

University of Toronto geography professor Lubomyr Luciuk says he's "like others in the Ukrainian community who are in favor of prosecuting Nazi war criminals residing in Canada, regardless of their racial, ethnic, or religious background."

Charges that Ukrainians are harboring war criminals, Luciuk says, "border on hatemongering." East Europeans were also victims of the war. "Nearly 3 million Ukrainians were rounded up and deported to the Third Reich as slave labor, like my mother, forced to work in mines and factories."

Unofficial watchdog operations worry him. "It's somewhat frightening if any private citizen sets himself up as a judge and jury over his fellow citizens," says Luciuk, who wrote his doctoral thesis on Ukrainian immigration to Canada after World War II.

Lawyer John Sopinka, counsel for the Ukranian Canadian Committee, says: "Soviet evidence is not reliable. Courts in the U.S.S.R. do not allow for cross-examination of witnesses, objections, or seeking whether deals have been made to supply evidence."

Sopinka would carefully weigh future action against former Nazis. "We don't think there are laws in place to prosecute these people and it is not the tradition in this country to pass laws retroactively.

Murder of innocents

"If there's solid evidence, some thought should be given to prosecute, but if it's a matter of a few tired, old former guards who opened and closed doors in the camps, I'm not sure it's worth the damage to particular groups like the Ukrainians and to relations between Eastern Europeans and Jews."

Irwin Cotler, an international human rights lawyer at McGill University, warns: "So long as there is one Nazi war criminal in Canada, it's a moral outrage, a negation of what this country stands for and fought for. These were not the murders of combatants engaged in acts of war, but of civilians, innocents, killed in a program of extinction." He calls it "a breach of international obligation" not to prosecute war criminals, because Canada agreed to do so at the United Nations every year since 1946.

To combat a Holocaust-denial movement, Cotler urges prosecution of former Nazis to prove its lies. "If we don't bring criminals to justice, Zundel and others will say it's proof there were no crimes commited."

GRAPHIC: photos Wiesenthal at 77; Jewish family separated by fence circa World War II

LOAD-DATE: May 13, 1999

LEVEL 1 - 141 OF 199 STORIES
[141a] Toronto Star | Jun. 16, 1991 | S. Kastner - Chutzpah (Dershowitz book)

Copyright 1991 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd.
The Toronto Star

June 16, 1991, Sunday, SUNDAY EDITION


LENGTH: 1588 words

HEADLINE: Chutzpah

BYLINE: By Susan Kastner Toronto Star

The legal superstar who has worked for Leona Helmsley and Claus von Bulow, Natan Scharansky and Jim and Tammy Bakker and the Hon. John Turner, looks at you with wary eyes and a warning smile.

Alan Dershowitz, author and star of Reversal of Fortune, the book and the movie about his dazzling reversal of von Bulow's attempted-wife-murder conviction, is speeding through Toronto to promote a complex new book about his life and philosophy.

The book is called Chutzpah. It couldn't have been called anything else.

Dershowitz, at 52, is seen by many as the very embodiment of his book's title.

He is a renowned veteran Harvard law professor who dares to call that venerable institution anti-Semitic. He is a crusader against "Judeopathy", who has argued fervently against the prosecution of Ernst Zundel, charged with distributing neo-Nazi material.

He is a civil libertarian who burns equally over the suffering of imprisoned Soviet dissident Natan Scharansky and tax-evading hotel queen Leona Helmsley. He is an internationally-lauded legal scholar who writes a monthly column in Penthouse; a burning defender of criminals' rights whose clients were once the anonymous poor, but who are now almost all the headline-grabbing rich.

"He's our kind of people," said clay-footed televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker, welcoming the Brooklyn-born savior to the legal team that successfully appealed Jim Bakker's 45-year prison sentence.

Tammy Faye's kind of people sits drinking camomile tea in a dark Toronto hotel room, dividing his attention deftly between the interview he is conducting, and one he missed.

"May I speak to the manager, please?" he pauses to say softly but forcefully into the phone. "My name is Alan Dershowitz and I've been complaining all afternoon about the service in this hotel. A man doing a very important interview came to see me, a man from a newspaper, and you told him I'd checked out. I missed a very important interview and you have to figure out a way of making me whole. That may require you to fly him down to Boston or it may require you to fly me back up here, but you have to figure out some way of making sure that you set it right. - Nonononono. Don't let it fall through the cracks, Cathy. It's in your hands. I appreciate it. Bye."

Alan Dershowitz is slight, reservedly charming, deceptively soft-spoken. The aureole of frizzed sandy hair is better styled and starts a little higher on the forehead than it did in the days he was consulting for '60s radicals like the Chicago Seven, but the perennial air of passionate unkemptness remains.

("He looks like a schlep," one of Tammy Faye's other lawyers noted, with the combination of disapprobrium and admiration Dershowitiz always inspires.)

He looks very much like Ron Silver, the actor who played him in Reversal of Fortune, except for the eyes: watchful eyes, guarded like his smile, eyes that miss nothing.

"A legal system," Alan Dershowitz says, smiling as though you are the very first person to have queried his role as Tammy's soul-mate, "a legal system is only as good as the way it treats its most unpopular defendant. We measure the legal system by how it treats the worst, meaning: the most unpopular; the ones thought by most people to be guilty."

That the most unpopular must necessarily be the most famous, Dershowitz meets deftly:

"I am generally the lawyer of last resort. Still, inevitably you get tied to the person. Inevitably, although you approach the case philosophically or theoretically . . . you must have some empathy with a von Bulow or a Helmsley; with some aspect of it. It needn't be that you think he's totally innocent, she's totally innocent. But you have to get pissed off about an injustice there."

The more famous, the greater the potential legal deprivation, and the greater the need for a Dershowitz? It's a long winding road from the days of the Chicago Seven, the days when the lawyer of last resort was counselling our very own government on civil rights.

In a fascinating and largely unsung sidelight on Canadian history, Dershowitz was called to Ottawa in 1971 by Justice Minister John Turner on the eve of the War Measures Act, to consult on the ramifications on civil liberties.

"I was then a pro bono consultant in civil liberties. Irwin Cotler (McGill University law professor and civil rights lawyer) was working for the Minister of Justice.

Cotler and Dershowitz, who have worked tirelessly to free Jewish Soviet dissidents since the early 1980s, became so close that "I am often called 'the United States Irwin Cotler' and he is described as 'Canada's Alan Dershowitz'."

Their association goes back to the mid-60s, when Montreal-born wunderkind Cotler was doing postgraduate law studies at Yale, and met Dershowitz on a visit to Harvard.

"Cotler and Turner asked me to come up," Dershowitz says. "I had written some stuff on civil liberties in times of crisis so they called me to get advice about how to enact temporary measures and make sure civil rights are not eroded completely by the emergency law."

In the halcyon days of the early Trudeau government Cotler had been imported by Justice Minister Turner as a special legal adviser - "his resident radical," Cotler says. Part of Cotler's vision involved exposing Turner to a quarter-yearly series of "brainstorming sessions" at Montebello, with such Cotler cronies as libertarians Alan Borovoy and Martin Friedland and Dershowitz.

Dershowitz spoke on "the justice agenda for the 70s in 1969, and in 1971, on criminal law and aspects of the War Measures law," and was "consulted by phone during the period of the War Measures."

"It's very hard not to compromise civil liberties, " Dershowitz says. "The question is, how do you do it without compromising them too much, without leaving an enduring legacy? I just tried to give them the benefit of my experiences in studying other countries in times of crisis."

The consultations, Dershowitz says, became the basis for a course he taught at Harvard in the 80s called Civil Liberties In Times Of Crisis.

Canada's emergency state also gets cited in Chutzpah, in a discussion of the world's condemnation of Israeli "overreaction" to the Palestinian uprising:

"Overreaction by a democracy confronted with violence is quite easy to provoke, as demonstrated by British overreaction in Northern Ireland, Canadian overreaction to the Front de Liberation du Quebec in the early 1970s, or American overreaction at Kent State University. Israeli overreaction, especially as televised in a relatively free and open society, plays into the hands of the protestors; it is part of their script."

This is one half of the theme of Chutzpah: that Jews are being unfairly attacked, and must use all the chutzpah they can muster to "stand up for themselves":

"When Jews complain about anti-Semitism or anti-Zionism, they are often made to feel that they are oversensitive. Blacks are expected to speak and react strongly about any manifestation of antiblack attitudes, as well they should. We, too, should feel proud to vigorously defend Jewish rights."

Passionate and jolting and irritating, the book overflows with Dershowitz's passion for his people, and for himself. It is a painful and eye-opening history of anti-Semitism, an absorbing attempt to rationalize its irrationality, and a clamor for the vindication of Dershowitz's own conflicting complexities.

"Everyone should live the passions of their times," he says intensely. "I get very upset if a major event in the world happens and I'm not part of it. somehow.

"I lived in a transition period where I didn't have to take any personal risk. Sure, I was turned down for 32 jobs, but there were other opportunities. Think about my father and my mother, they didn't have these opportunities."

Dershowitz these days meets the world like one who is prepared for attack: from non-Jews, who will call his chutzpah pushiness; from Jews, who wonder whether his book, and his life, is about chutzpah; or hubris? Whether the book's real question, as New York Times reviewer Sidney Zion put it, Why can't the Jews be more like him?

If they're going to be like him, it would seem, they had better get the simulation exactly right.

One of the things that still rouses the law star is the thought of Ron Silver's portrayal of him in Reversal Of Fortune. Invited sparingly to some of the filming, Dershowitz found himself having words with the producer - who just happened to be his own son, Elon.

Dershowitz remained unpacified to the extent that he wrote a lengthy newspaper piece, complaining he had been shown having temper tantrums and shortchanging relationships with his near and dear. (Long divorced from his first wife, who, he says in the book, his parents pressured him to marry, he is remarried and the father of a 16-month old baby girl.)

Dershowitz still huffs over the movie. "It was very strange. You think of yourself as a somewhat complex character. Then you see yourself on the screen and you're reduced to a sort of cultural stereotype."

Irwin Cotler was with Dershowitz at the Toronto Festival of Festivals premiere of Reversal Of Fortune last year. Both of them shook their heads at the opening scene, when in a fit of frustration over an injustice to a client, the Dershowitz character threw a phone against the wall.

"We went up to his son afterwards," Cotler says, "and Alan told him: 'You see? Irwin also said I wouldn't throw the phone against the wall."'

GRAPHIC: Photo: Alan Dershowitz

LEVEL 1 - 173 OF 199 STORIES
[173a] Canadian Jewish News | Jun. 05, 1997 | E. Asher - Response to terrorism discussed

Copyright 1997 Micromedia Limited
Canadian Business and Current Affairs
Copyright 1997 Canadian Jewish News
Canadian Jewish News

June 5, 1997

SECTION: v.38(7) Je 5'97 pg 32; ISSN: 0008-3941

CBCA-ACC-NO: 3936421

LENGTH: 841 words

HEADLINE: Response to terrorism discussed

BYLINE: Asher, Edgar

JERUSALEM -- The collective worldwide responsibility to fight terror anywhere in the world was the subject of a seminar held recently in Jerusalem under the title, Terrorism: An Update Report. Among the contributors to the seminar was Canadian law professor Irwin Cotler from McGill University.

The seminar is part of a series of similar meetings being held in Israel over the next few weeks reviewing current trends and future threats of terrorism on global, regional and national levels. Sponsored by the George Washington University Inter-University Centre for Terrorism Studies, the seminar reflected the ever increasing importance of academic input in the war against terror.

"I can report that there is some good news concerning the international fight against terrorism," said Prof. Yonah Alexander, the director of the centre. "Reported incidents of terror are the lowest in 25 years. There are many reasons for this. such as the end of the Cold War and the winds of democracy around the world. In fact today, 21 percent of nations are free communities and 40 percent enjoy a partial democracy. There is also, unfortunately, some bad news. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union there has been a proliferation of weapons available to terrorist groups. Also, individual acts of terror have involved greater brutalization than previously. Iran is still one of the worst purveyors of indirect terrorism. For example, Iran pours something like $70 to $150 million (U.S.) every year into terrorist groups in Lebanon, with of course, the acquiescence of Syria. If this funding was not available then Hezbollah would have dried out in three to four months. It is the stopping of financial backing to terrorist organizations that must be an international priority."

Alexander pointed out that Israel was well down on the international list of reported terrorist incidents. In fact Israel did not even appear on the list of the 20 top countries reporting such occurrences. In 1996, Asia reported most incidents followed by Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Sub-Sahara and lastly North America.

Former director-general of the Israel Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Reuven Merhav, said that terrorism is a world problem and can only be dealt with by full international cooperation at every governmental level. "There is a precedent for cooperation to eliminate international terrorism," Merhav said. "About 150 years ago, piracy was almost the rule of law on the high seas. The leading nations at the time decided that enough was enough and it was determined to attack the pirates wherever they were -- piracy was eliminated in a relatively short time."

It was pointed out that the nature of terrorism had changed dramatically in the past few years. The Internet is now a recruiting ground for terror organizations and many such organizations set up bogus umbrella groups to raise money, ostensibly for other causes. Last year for example, the Islamic Relief Committee in Nazareth, which was set up to raise money for orphans, was closed down when it was found that it was nothing less than a cover for raising money for Hamas. Biological terrorism is also a serious concern with all the participants agreeing that it was not a matter of "if" biological weapons would be used, but "when."

Cotler, who was recently appointed to Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy's Board of Directors of the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development told the seminar that Canada was a signatory to all 11 international treaties that exist to outlaw terrorism.

"It is important how we look at terrorism today. Even though one person's terrorist is another's freedom fighter, terrorism must be seen internationally as a crime against human dignity and rights. We blur too often the moral crime of terror. It has to be reconceptualized. What is terror? All countries, like Canada, must legislate against terror and have a firm policy against it. We must take the war to the terrorist -- it must be the first responsibility of states. Global phenomena need global solutions. The G-7 and the newly formed industrialized group of eight, which includes Russia, have the fight against terrorism high on their agenda." Cotler commented on the recent extradition of Abu Mazook from the United States to Jordan after he had been found guilty in an American court of organizing international terror attacks.

"What kind of message does this send when a convicted terrorist is seen to get away with his crime? Terrorists must be hunted down, tried by the due process of law and punished." For Cotler his determined words and delivery had a special significance. On April 25 this year, during a Passover hike in Wadi Kelt just outside Jerusalem, two young women, Hagit Zavitsky and Liar Kastiel, who were both 23 years old, were brutally stabbed to death by terrorists and their bodies thrown down a hill into a pool of water. Hagit Zavitsky was Irwin Cotler's niece.


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