WATERLOO -- Helmut Oberlander has won a partial victory in the latest round of his marathon battle to remain in Canada.

The federal government has been trying since 1995 to deport the retired Waterloo developer over his involvement with a Nazi death squad during the Second World War.

Cabinet revoked his citizenship for the second time in 2007 for concealing his wartime role when he came to Canada, ostensibly paving the way for his deportation.

He challenged that decision before the Federal Court of Canada and lost a ruling last year.

But in a 2-1 decision released Wednesday, the Federal Court of Appeal sent the case back to cabinet for review because it didn’t consider Oberlander’s contention that he was conscripted under duress.

The court did not, however, actually order the reinstatement of his citizenship, as it did in a 2004 ruling that forced the government to start the whole process again.

Carole Saindon, a spokesperson for the Justice Department, said the ruling is now being reviewed as the government considers its legal options.

Oberlander, 85, declined to comment Wednesday because he was still reading the decision.

But his wife, Margret, said they are encouraged by the outcome and hope it leads to the restoration of his citizenship.

Bernie Farber, chief executive officer of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said the ruling will bog down a process that has already taken far too long.

“It’s deplorable that they’ve come out with a decision that once again delays what should have happened more than 10 years ago,” he said.

Oberlander has fought every step of the way since he was first targeted under a program to remove suspected war criminals from Canada.

He insists he did only mundane tasks after he was conscripted by the Nazis in his native Ukraine at 17 to work as an interpreter.

The key to the government’s case is a finding of fact by a Federal Court judge in 2000 that Oberlander was an auxiliary member of a death squad and failed to disclose his role during the immigration process.

There is no evidence he directly participated in war crimes while with the mobile unit, which murdered at least 23,000 civilians, mostly Jews, between 1941 and 1943.

Despite the loss of his citizenship, deportation proceedings against Oberlander have been on hold pending his appeal.

If and when they resume, there are several complex legal issues to be decided on that front before he could be kicked out of the country.

[email protected]