Canadian Jewish News | 19Mar2009 | Andy Levy-Ajzenkopf

Court dismisses Odynsky’s appeal in war crimes case 

OTTAWA — The case to strip suspected war criminal Wasyl Odynsky of his Canadian citizenship and facilitate his deportation continued this past Monday after a court rejected his efforts to stop Jewish groups from continuing proceedings against him.

Odynsky is suspected of war crimes  while serving Nazi Germany as a Ukrainian guard stationed at the Trawniki and Poniatowa labour camps. The former was a training centre for Ukrainian guards who were enlisted as auxiliaries to SS killing units, according to the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The case to strip him of his Canadian citizenship was pursued in appellate court by B’nai Brith Canada last April after it was initially dropped by the Canadian government in 2007 due to a lack of evidence.

Last Thursday [12Mar2009], the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed Odynsky’s argument  to halt the challenges by Jewish human rights groups to his effort to remain in Canada. The court determined he lied about his past upon entering the country in 1949.

The ruling allowed David Matas, B’nai Brith’s senior counsel, to “argue the merits of this case” in Toronto this past Monday [16Mar2009], Matas said in a B’nai Brith statement last week.

“The government has demonstrated a clear inconsistency in its application of the law with regards to Nazi-era cases,” Matas said. “In the case of Wasyl Odynsky, court rulings have clearly demonstrated that he lied upon his wartime past when entering the country.”

In earlier testimony, Odynsky denied all allegations of war crimes against him. He stated he was forcibly posted to the labour camps under duress and was merely a perimeter guard at the camps, never having direct contact with any prisoners.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity… to argue the merits of this case before a Federal Court in the hope that the path will be cleared for revocation of [Odynsky’s] citizenship and his subsequent and immediate deportation from Canada,” Matas said.

Though it hasn’t participated in the case to this point, Canadian Jewish Congress is “looking into” engaging in it as it goes forward, Congress CEO Bernie Farber told The CJN last Friday.

“We’re certainly gratified that this case has not come to an end,” Farber said.

“Our position has always been that anyone who was involved as a Nazi enabler, and Mr. Odynsky, in our view fits that description… every effort should be made to deport him from Canada.”