Ukrainian News | 28Sep2005 | Marco Levytsky
Letter from Editor

Double standard is disgraceful

Ed. Note: The following letter by Ukrainian News Editor Marco Levytsky was written in response to an article which appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press Sept. 18, 2005.

David Matas' column of September 18, 2005 "Action on war crime overdue" is all smoke and mirrors designed to hide the real truth.

The five individuals he mentions, all either ethnic Ukrainians, or ethnic Germans from Ukraine, were never found guilty of any criminal act whatsoever. They were found guilty of "probably" lying upon coming to Canada despite the lack of any conclusive evidence. All immigration files from that period have been destroyed by the Canadian government.

It would be most useful to note Justice Andrew MacKay's conclusions, contained in his March 02, 2001 ruling on one of the "Nazi five" against whom there is "compelling evidence" linking them to "crimes against humanity", according to Matas.

In the case of Wasyl Odynsky, Justice MacKay wrote the following:

"In considering any report to the Governor in Council concerning Mr. Odynsky pursuant to s-s. 10(1) of the Act, the Minister may wish to consider that

1) on the evidence before me I find that Mr. Odynsky did not voluntarily join the SS auxiliary forces, or voluntarily serve with them at Trawniki or Poniatowa, or later with the Battalion Streibel;

2) there was no evidence of any incident in which he was involved that could be considered as directed wrongfully at any other individual, whether a forced labourer-prisoner, or any other person;

3) no evidence was presented of any wrongdoing by Mr. Odynsky since he came to Canada, now more than 50 years ago;

4) evidence as to his character from some of those who have known him in Canada, uncontested at trial, commended his good character and reflected his standing within his church and within the Ukrainian community in Toronto."

Yet, in the case of four Montreal individuals -- Joseph Riwash, Nahun Kohn, Israel Roitman and Nadia Ostep -- who have publicly admitted to crimes against humanity committed during their service in Soviet units (detailed in "Debate over war crimes get heated" by Kirk Makin of the Globe and Mail on April 25, 2005), Bernie Farber, executive director of the Canadian Jewish Congress says:

"A person can damn themselves with their own words, but it still requires evidence."

So, in some cases, admitting to a criminal act isn't evidence of any wrongdoing, but in other cases -- who needs evidence anyway?

Such a hypocritical double standard is disgraceful.