Toronto Star | 19Jun2009 | Canadian Press

Court rejects bid to oust former SS guard
Judge orders B'nai Brith to pay Odynsky's legal costs

OTTAWA – The Federal Court of Canada has rejected a Jewish group's attempt to revoke the citizenship of a former Nazi guard, saying the decision to allow the man to stay in Canada was reasonable and in keeping with the Charter of Rights.

B'nai Brith Canada wanted the court to overrule a federal cabinet decision not to revoke the citizenship of Ukrainian-born Wasyl Odynsky.

Odynsky served as a perimeter guard at a forced-labour camp in Trawniki, where German SS wiped out most of the Jewish captives on Nov. 3 or 4, 1943.

Federal Court Judge Andrew MacKay ruled in 2001 that Odynsky was confined to his barracks at the time of the massacre. The judge said he had no doubt Odynsky served involuntarily throughout the war and had never been a Nazi.

However, MacKay also said it is more likely than not that Odynsky lied to immigration officers about his wartime status.

B'nai Brith argued that fact alone should have justified revoking his citizenship. It said the process was flawed and that cabinet was prevented from making a fully informed decision on the matter.

But Federal Court Judge Robert Barnes said in a judgment released today that cabinet had plenty of evidence to support its decision.

"The record discloses ... that the (cabinet) had before it a considerable body of mitigating evidence supporting leniency, including Justice MacKay's findings that Mr. Odynsky was not a volunteer and had not been shown to have acted wrongfully towards any other person in the camps where he served," Barnes wrote.

"In addition, Justice MacKay noted Mr. Odynsky's favourable record since arriving in Canada in 1949. It was reasonably open to the (cabinet) record to have rejected the minister's recommendation for revocation of citizenship and B'nai Brith has not made a convincing case to the contrary."

The judge ordered B'nai Brith to pay Odynsky's legal costs. He said the cabinet "owes no duty of fairness to third parties in the exercise of its ... authority and has no obligation to provide reasons to anyone other than the person affected."

Added Barnes: "There is also no basis for concluding that (cabinet's) decision was unreasonable or was made in breach of the Charter."

[ePoshta 06Jul2009:
The Canadian Press title given to Mr.Odynsky in this article is incorrect. Being Ukrainian, Wasyl Odynsky, could not have been "a former SS guard" - only Germans could belong to the SS. ]