Edmonton Journal | 23Aug2006 | Marco Levytsky
Letter to Editor

Broader implications

I wish to clarify comments attributed to me in "City man was guard in Nazi death camp" (Edmonton Journal, Aug. 19, 2006)

When I used the term "travesty of justice", I was not referring to the verdicts themselves, but to the process which led to these verdicts. There is a subtle, but important distinction.

I recognize that current legislation allows Justice Judith Snider to find "on a balance of probabilities" that Josef Furman and Jura Skomatchuk lied upon coming to Canada and recommend the revocation of their citizenship without finding evidence of any crime whatsoever.

And since there is no requirement that any evidence of any crime be presented, no charges of any crime were filed in the statements of claim made against these two men. This despite the fact that the government, upon announcing in 1995 that it was going to use the citizenship revocation process against supposed Nazi war criminals, stated: "The key criterion in these proceedings is the existence of some evidence of individual criminality. If that cannot be proven, no proceedings will be considered."

The fact that revocation of citizenship can be used in such an arbitrary manner prompted the parliamentary standing committee on citizenship and immigration last year to determine "that the potential loss of citizenship is of such fundamental significance to the person concerned that fraud should be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal court, that the legal protections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms ... must apply, and there should be no special limits placed on the right to appeal."

Until those recommendations are enacted, the charter rights of six million naturalized Canadians are in jeopardy.

Marco Levytsky
Alberta representative,
National Justice Committee,
Ukrainian Canadian Congress