Ninety three year-old Vladimir Katriuk has died in the Canadian province of Quebec one month after Russia demanded of his extradition in order to charge him with Nazi war crimes.
Katriuk was one of the most wanted on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of Nazi war criminals.
The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation demanded the delivery of Katriuk to Moscow for the criminal case over genocide allegations on May 8.
Katriuk’s lawyer Orest Rudzik said that Russia prepared a criminal case against Katriuk for alleged genocide crimes.
“Mr. Katriuk has passed away, after years of unwarranted harassment, media not excepted,” Rudzik added.
“I am glad he is at peace. He’d been ailing for a long time.”
Just before receiving information on Katriuk’s death, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs urged the Canadian government to take criminal action against the alleged Nazi war criminal.
CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, Shimon Koffler Fogel. said that “there have been recent reports that the Russian Federation has requested that Canada extradite Vladimir Katriuk, a Quebec resident originally from Ukraine, to be tried for war crimes he allegedly committed while serving in the Waffen SS during the Second World War.”
“While we are supportive of Canada’s position on the integrity of Ukraine and the need to oppose challenges to Ukraine’s sovereignty, this must be separated out from the imperative to ensure justice is served with respect to Nazi atrocities perpetrated against Jews and others during World War II,” Koffler Fogel added.
“We call on the Government of Canada to review this case and take the necessary steps to ensure that, if guilty, Katriuk be held accountable for war crimes committed in collaboration with the Nazi regime.”
Executive director from the lobby group the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC), Taras Zalusky, said that Russia’s criminal case to extradite Katriuk was “an obvious attempt to distract attention away from Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, invasion of and war against Ukraine, and sow discord among ethnic communities in Canada.”
“The federal court of Canada in 1999 found no evidence that Mr. Katriuk participated in war crimes or atrocities against the civilian population” during the Second World War, Zalusky added.
Jewish groups in Canada as well as Russia also wanted the Katriuk to face trial after they found what was allegedly evidence of Katriuk’s participation in a massacre of villagers in the former Soviet republic of Belarus in 1943.
Although the Canadian federal court decided that Vladimir Katriuk hid information of his Nazi past from authorities to obtain Canadian citizenship in 1999, Katriuk remained in Canada as a citizen since then.
Russia and Canadian relations have soured because of Russia's annexation of Ukraine, partly because many Canadians are descendants Ukrainian immigrants. The Canadian government announced that until Russia leaves Ukrainian territory, Canada will have only low-level diplomatic relations with Russia.