STORY of Johann Dueck is a sobering tale.
It testifies to the time-sensitive nature
of justice, but it also shows how
political expediency can undermine
In 1995, the Supreme Court of Canada
observed that so much time had passed
since the Second World War that many
war-crimes cases were bound to fail due to
the fragility of evidence. Long delays
afflict both the prosecution and defence
in arguing cases based on vague memories,
lost documents and deceased witnesses.
In response, then justice minister
Allan Rock changed tack in pursuing
alleged former Nazis and collaboraters.
Canada would use denaturalization and
deportation as weapons against most
accused people, a process that requires
much weaker proof of fraudulently entering
Canada and that permits no legal appeal.
It was with this blunt tool that Ottawa
charged Mr. Dueck, a resident of St.
Catharines, and sought his
In the end, the government's evidence
that Mr. Dueck helped Nazi police in
Ukraine kill civilians suffered all the
faults of time long passed in Communist
countries. He was clearly innocent of the
charges, but had endured a legal and
If justice delayed is justice denied,
57 years later halfway around the world
denies a great deal of justice, indeed. Is
further lowering the hurdle because the
evidence is weak the act of an admirable