Government of Canada
news release
Date    January 31, 1995
For release


OTTAWA - The Honourable Sergio Marchi, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, and the Honourable Allan Rock,  Attorney General of Canada and Minister of Justice, today announced a strategy aimed at deporting alleged WWII criminals living in Canada.

"The government has both a legal and moral commitment to Canadians and the international community to ensure that WWII crimes and crimes against humanity, regardless of time and place, are addressed. We will ensure that we will meet our commitments in this area," Mr. Rock said.

"We have initiated the strategy by notifying four people of the Government's intention to revoke citizenship and begin deportation proceedings," Mr. Marchi said.

In all four cases, the Government is alleging that these individuals misrepresented themselves and their war-time backgrounds when they applied to immigrate to Canada.

Three of the four persons against whom the government is proceeding are Canadian citizens. The Government's objective is to strip these people of their Canadian citizenship and deport them. The fourth is a permanent resident who will be subject to deportation proceedings alone. All four people have been sent notices of the Government's intention.

The identities of the four individuals will not be revealed at this time. Their identities will be made public once litigation begins at the Federal Court for citizenship revocation proceedings of the Immigration and Refugee Board for deportation proceedings.

"We are sending a message on behalf of all Canadians to war criminals around the world: Canada is not, and will not become, a safe haven for these individuals. Known war criminals, like all serious offenders, will be subject to the full extent of the law," Mr. Rock said.

While progress on the initial four cases will be monitored to ensure that Canada meets its moral and legal commitments efficiently and effectively, the Government anticipates undertaking at least four cases annually in the second and third years of the strategy. The numbers, however, may vary depending on results. The Government is committed to completing all outstanding WWII war crimes investigations.

The Government's approach does not rule out criminal prosecutions of alleged WWII war crimes. However, the 1994 Supreme Court of Canada decision on Finta makes such prosecutions unlikely. The Department of Justice is reviewing areas of possible legislative change to ensure that criminal prosecution is an option for war crimes cases.
- 30 -

Citizenship and Immigration:
Roger White
Public Affairs Division
(613) 994-4624

Department of Justice:
Cyrus Reporter
Minister's Office
(613) 992-4621


The Government of Canada has acted on its promise to provide an unequivocal affirmation of Canada's commitment not to be a safe haven for those who seek to avoid punishment for crimes committed in times of war. By establishing the legal and investigative machinery to actively investigate and prosecute allegations made against persons living in Canada, the Government has made its position clear to Canadians and the international community. This commitment is unequivocal and not restricted by time, place or conflict. There is, however, much public interest in obtaining full information about what has been done and what remains to be done in this area. This report outlines the process followed in investigating the World War II cases. Privacy and fairness considerations and concerns about prejudice to ongoing investigations prevent publication of details of individual cases.

As long as war crimes and crimes against humanity are being committed, Canada will be vigilant to prevent those responsible from entering the country and becoming or remaining Canadian citizens, or will be ready to commence criminal investigations and prosecutions against them.

I.    Strategic Directions and Recent Initiatives

The investigation of war crimes depends upon thorough and accurate research in order to assemble evidence that will establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Over the last several years, the Canadian war crimes team has made significant progress in opening areas of research, notably in previously inaccessible sources in Eastern Europe.

A major step forward in the investigation of East Block and U.S.S.R. cases came when Justice historians gained free access to all government archives, enabling them to examine the actual collections in person. In the fall of 1990, Justice war crimes officials and senior representatives of the Procurator General of the U.S.S.R., the Main Archival Administration, and the KGB reached an agreement permitting historians working for the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section to conduct primary research in the Soviet Union. The agreement allowed for more flexibility in locating and interviewing Soviet witnesses through greater access to KGB investigative files, mass media advertising for witnesses in the U.S.S.R. , and interviewing and taking statements from Soviet witnesses according to Canadian police procedures. A more direct and less formal method of communicating with the appropriate Soviet officials was also arranged.

During the spring of 1991, a preliminary overview of the holdings in the Central State Archives in Moscow, Kiev, Minsk, Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius was conducted by in-house historians to assess the scope of the future efforts needed to research, copy and evaluate the documentary evidence relevant to the cases under investigation.

A historical survey of the relevant archives on all active cases was undertaken, to collect all available suspect, event and unit specific evidence. This enormous task was particularly complicated for East Bloc and Soviet archives. These archives had generally not been open to Western historians. As well, there was no reliable scholarly information about the collections or how they were organized, and there were no recognized Soviet-based World War II historians to consult or retain to assist.

The research was suspended during the summer of 1991 because of the uncertain political situation in the Soviet republics during and after the breakup of the U.S.S.R. The independence of the former Soviet republics meant that new memoranda of understanding had to be negotiated to permit access to archives, interviews of witnesses and commissions for the taking of evidence. Fortunately, the new governments agreed to continue the historical research plans under the Memorandum of Understanding with the Procurator General of the U.S.S.R. until new memoranda were negotiated. The historical survey was completed in January 1993.

The most important archives in these countries are those of the KGB and other security police, as they contain investigative files and court records on individuals who were accused of the same crimes alleged against may [many] of the Canadian suspects. Many of those investigations conducted in the 1950's through 1970's contain witness statements that make reference to a Canadian suspect and the participation of the suspect in the events under investigation. As these statements are identified by Justice historians, the witnesses' names are given to the local procurator to locate for subsequent interviews with by(sic) the RCMP. Advertisements for potential witnesses are also placed in the local print and electronic media prior to the interview trip. The local procurators receive the responses and coordinate the witness interviews, which are conducted by RCMP investigators and Justice counsel. Interviews are scheduled as soon as the material from the historical research trips has been translated and assessed. Local translators and interpreters have been retained to assist Justice historians and RCMP investigators and to make the necessary logistical arrangements for the trips.

The central, district and local officials in the former East Bloc countries and republics of the former U.S.S.R. have generally been most helpful and cooperative. Travel in these countries, particularly to more remote areas, is difficult to arrange from Canada. The various procurators' offices have helped arrange for all the basic necessities (accommodation, transportation, fuel, food, etc.) and the logistical details for historical research and witness interviews.

Western Europe files did not require as much primary archival work, since substantial amounts of secondary literature and numerous catalogues and file indexes of archival holdings in the West were available. In addition, all information on German war crimes investigations and prosecutions held at the Central Office of Land Judicial Offices in Ludwigsburg, Germany, was available for review to identify parallel investigations and trials. Archival research at European historical archives and reviews of parallel German trials were carried out as necessary by contract historians. These contract historians have evaluated and reported on the potential of a large segment of the Western European cases.

In all cases involving possible survivor witnesses, checks with survivor organizations are undertaken. Contract historians in Israel also search survivor testimony files for potential witnesses. The RCMP unit is responsible for witness location in Western Europe, Israel and North America, and uses the services of the international police network to conduct these searches.

II.    Mutual Assistance and Joint Investigative Initiatives

From the beginning of the war crimes program, Canada has maintained close ties with other operational war crimes investigative units in the United States, England and Wales, and Scotland. During the summer of 1991, representatives of two U.K. war crimes units visited Canada to establish formal cooperation. Representatives of a New Zealand war crimes unit visited Canada in February 1992.

These and subsequent visits allowed those war crimes units to obtain substantial information and strategic advice from Canada about investigating their suspects. In exchange, Canada broadened its information base and network for information and assistance in its investigations. In addition to this sharing of information, assistance is given to foreign war crimes investigators in tracing and interviewing persons living in Canada who may have evidence relating to a suspect or crime being investigated by a foreign war crimes unit.

Recognizing that the pursuit of war criminals is a world-wide effort, a conference was held in London, England, in June 1991 and a second one in Ottawa in October 1991. The goals of the conferences were to discuss the potential of joint investigations and to share information on historical research and investigative trips and plans, with a view to maximizing knowledge and efforts, particularly in the wake of the break-up of the former U.S.S.R.

The highlight of these conferences was an agreement to cooperate in conducting historical research and jointly investigating suspects who were members of the same military unit and are suspected of having participated in the same war crimes. At the Ottawa conference, a joint historical research plan for Australia, Scotland, the United States and Canada was approved and has since been completed. As part of the same investigation, a team of Australian, Scottish and Canadian investigators interviewed witnesses abroad in the spring of 1992, and Canadian and Scottish investigators interviewed witnesses abroad in October 1992. Australia and Canada were involved in two other joint investigations, and other possibilities have been discussed with England. Although the war crimes investigative units of Australia and New Zealand are no longer in operation, the information collected during their investigations remains available for use by other units.

There is a very positive working relationship between all war crimes units. The model of international cooperation that has been developed will provide a solid base for future efforts.

III. Current Status of Investigations

A "war crime" may be roughly defined as a criminal (sic) not committed during an international armed conflict which violates the rules of war as set out in international law, even if it is not a crime under the law of the place where the act was committed. Examples are ill treatment of the civilian population of occupied territory, violation of individual lives and private property, and execution of prisoners of war. Similarly, "crime against humanity" refers to murder, enslavement, and racial, religious or political persecution or any other inhumane act committed against civilians, whether or not it is against the law in force at the time.

The Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section has opened more than a thousand files since the project began, most of which have been closed or suspended. Investigations were closed where it was concluded that the person is probably dead. Investigations have been suspended for a number of reasons. In some cases, the person cannot be located in Canada, despite concentrated efforts, or is likely to be unfit to stand trial. In other cases, as a result of investigations, the allegation appears to be false.

The remaining files were assessed and ranked according to potential for prosecution, denaturalization or deportation. Files were ranked by applying various criteria, such as:
Most of the high-priority investigations have been completed. The remaining priority investigations are continuing.

IV.    The Investigative Process

1.    The War Crimes Team

The RCMP War Crimes and Special Investigations Unit was established as a task force in 1985 to assist the Commission on War Criminals, headed by Mr. Justice Jules Deschenes. It has continued to conduct investigations of all cases recommended by the Commission, all the allegations the Commission was not able to deal with, and all allegations brought since the Commission filed its report. The Department of Justice Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section provides the legal and historical support for war crimes investigations. The Section comprises lawyers, historians and support staff. In addition, it has under contract foreign-based historians and language specialists.

While Justice and the RCMP are the primary agencies in these investigations, many other government departments make valuable contributions to the program, notably Foreign Affairs, Government Service, and Citizenship and Immigration.

Foreign Affairs (in particular, the Legal Advisory Division and the embassies in Europe and Moscow) has assisted in negotiating memoranda of understanding with foreign governments for cooperation in the investigations, in establishing and nurturing official contacts through meetings with senior government officials, and in making the logistical arrangements for historical research and investigations overseas.

A number of departments possess basic information concerning the persons under investigation. Foreign Affairs has passport information; Citizenship and Immigration has documentation concerning suspects' entry to Canada and information about the processes in use after World War II, as well as information regarding citizenship applications.

The Multilingual Translation Directorate of Government Services provides translation and other linguistic services. There have been 31 languages involved so far, notably Russian, German, Hungarian, Slovak and Serbo-Croatian. Interpretation in Canada and occasionally abroad is provided by the Parliamentary and Interpretation Services Directorate.

2.    Investigative Challenges

The Canadian war crimes team has been faced with imposing challenges in carrying out their investigations, notably in defining the range of crimes, collecting documents and testimony, assessing the reliability of witnesses, and overcoming linguistic and cultural barriers. Constructing a case that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in these circumstances is an exceptionally difficult task.

The crimes and criminals investigated range from German army units committing crimes during combat, to police units oscillating between maintaining law and order and eliminating "undesirables", to the extreme of units set up for the sole purpose of killing Jews. The suspects under investigation are not necessarily the notorious high-ranking officials normally associated with the term "war criminal." Although the investigation may touch on the activities of these officials, the suspects in Canada generally operated at a lower level. This causes problems in proving the scope of the responsibilities and activities of the persons under investigation.

In addition, most of the investigations involve non-Germans who collaborated with the Nazis during their occupation of the former U.S.S.R. and the countries forming the East Bloc. Post-war Canadian immigration procedures were more effective in screening out German nationals who might have committed war crimes than non-Germans. The investigation of these non-Germans is complicated because the activities of the units they belonged to are generally not reflected in war crimes investigations and trials conducted after World War II in Germany and other Western countries. The documentation is often available only at archives located in the place or area where the person or unit operated and the crimes were committed.

Moreover, the documentary picture is often incomplete, because of the Nazi policy of destroying records once it appeared that the war would be lost. To judge from the records known to have been made during the war, the available collections of documents generally represent only the tip of the iceberg.

Allegations about war criminals living in Canada are made by both domestic and foreign sources. The initial step is to collect as much personal data on the suspect as possible, using traditional police sources. In the case of foreign allegations, it must first be shown that the person is alive and living in Canada. The second step is to verify that the person is connected to the allegation.

The first stage of tracing suspects in Canada (domestic checks) involves a search of immigration records for documentation concerning the person's entry to Canada. Checks are also done for citizenship and passport information. This apparently simple process is complicated by problems associated with the writing or recording of names in characters of different alphabets (transliteration); unavailability of Canadian immigration documentation from the 1940's and 1950's; difficulty in completing biographical data on suspects because of prohibitions on access to information in pension, health, income tax and other Canadian government records; and incomplete biographical data in foreign records. These problems also apply to the tracing and locating of potential witnesses.

The second stage involves basic checks of the Bundeserchiv (sic) Aussensselle Berlin-Zehlendorf (formerly the Berlin Document Centre), which contains Nazi Party membership records and service records of SS officers; the Wehrmachisquskaufisselle (sic), which contains documents regarding prisoners of war taken by the Allies; Krankenhichlager (sic), which is the major site of German army medical records that indicate the units in which the servicemen were active and time spent in the hospital; and the United Nations War Crimes Commission list of war criminals. For non-German suspects, the second stage also involves conducting basic checks in foreign historical and police archives for information about the suspects and their wartime activities.

The amendments to the Immigration Act prohibit persons who have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity from entering Canada. Unlocated suspects about whom there is sufficient evidence to conclude that they committed war crimes or crimes against humanity have been added to an "immigration watch list." This list is used by immigration officers in identifying war criminals and preventing their entry into Canada or, alternatively, reporting their presence in the country.

3.    Making the Decision to Prosecute, Denaturalize or Deport

All cases are investigated with regard to the possible criminal and civil litigation options: prosecution, denaturalization and deportation. Prosecution is the preferred option. If the criminal option is selected, no civil proceedings will be considered until after court proceedings are concluded. If prosecution is not possible, the civil options of denaturalization or deportation, depending on the status of the suspect in Canada, will be evaluated for those cases where the individual obtained citizenship or entry to Canada through demonstrable fraud. Some of the evidence needed for prosecution will also be relevant to the civil options.

The key criterion in all these proceedings is the existence of some evidence of individual criminality. If that cannot be proven, no proceedings will be considered. Where there is such evidence, the decision on the appropriate option will depend on the differing burdens of proof required for each option. The decision of the Supreme Court of Canada  in R. v. Finta is particularly relevant here. In that case, the Court established a higher standard of proof for the prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity that is recognized at International law. For World War II cases, this decision has made prosecution of these crimes much more difficult and less likely.

Once a decision is made to abandon the criminal option, consideration will be given to denaturalization and deportation. Not all suspects committed fraud to obtain entry to Canada or to obtain citizenship, and proof of fraud is complicated in most cases because the immigration documentation has been destroyed. Consequently, denaturalization or deportation potential will depend largely on the quality of the circumstantial evidence which can be presented.

In appropriate cases, the Attorney General will refer the files to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to consider whether denaturalization and deportation proceedings should be commenced. Such factors as the strength and availability of evidence and the nature of the crimes in question will be taken into account in the decision. In all cases, the Government's paramount concern is the safety and security of Canadians, and the moral and legal commitment to ensure that justice is done.

The above html document was typed out by Will Zuzak, 28Feb2008, from 6 pdf files of the original Government news release distributed by Marco Levytsky, publisher/editor of the Ukrainian News, Edmonton.

It will be archived as AllanRock19950131NewsRelease(d-d).html at the Furman (Oberlander) link on the main page