Justice may never be served in the case of an elderly Canadian resident who was a suspected Nazi war criminal. And Russia is angry about it.
Hours after Canada's Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs called on the Canadian government to hold Vladimir Katriuk responsible if he was found to have committed war crimes for the Nazis, his lawyer announced he had died last week at the age of 93.
"It was a stroke or something do with a stroke," Katriuk's lawyer told the Canadian Press on Friday.
Katriuk, a beekeeper and longtime resident of Ormstown in Quebec, was born in Ukraine and immigrated to Canada in the 1950s after the second world war. He was charged with genocide by the Russian government early this month for his alleged involvement in a 1943 massacre of civilians in Khatyn, now known as Belarus. Katriuk had denied he was involved and maintained that he was forced to join an elite SS battalion.
The Russian Embassy in Ottawa lambasted the Canadian government after news broke of Katriuk's death for not extraditing him to Russia to face the charges in court . "Sadly, the Canadian government ignored numerous appeals by Canadian Jewish organizations and efforts by the Russian authorities to ensure that justice be served," a embassy press secretary told reporters.
The Canadian government brushed off Russia's extradition request and changed the topic. "[W]e will never accept or recognize the Russian annexation of Crimea or the illegal occupation of any sovereign Ukrainian territory," a press secretary for the justice minister told the Globe and Mail.
Jewish advocacy groups in Canada have long called for Katriuk's deportation and he is the second most wanted person on the Simon Weisenthal Center's 2015 list of wanted Nazi criminals.
In 1999, Canada's Federal court decided that Katriuk had lied during his application process for Canadian citizenship by not disclosing his involvement with the Nazis, but did not find any evidence he had committed war crimes.
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