SENIOR officials from Canada's Justice Department and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Special War Crimes Unit have arranged to meet with a New York detective this week to receive evidence, including secretly recorded confessions, on the presence of scores of suspected Nazi war criminals in Canada.
The meeting on Thursday in Montreal between private investigator Steve Ramban and Canadian authorities follows recent reports in The Jerusalem Post and on Israel Television's IBA News on his findings, which prompted Justice Minister Allan Rock to invite Rambam to present his evidence to Ottawa.
Canadian Jewish leader Bernie Farber, prominent historian Irving Abella, and the head of the Israeli office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Efraim Zuroff, will also participate in the meeting. The writers of this article are to be called as material witnesses in part of the original investigation.
Rambam is to hand over secretly taped interviews with alleged Nazi war criminals, which he conducted while posing as a visiting professor from a fictitious university.
Representing Ottawa at the meeting will be Paul Vickery, who heads the Justice Department's War Crimes Unit, and his counterpart at the RCMP, Inspector Jean Dube. Over the weekend, Vickery told the Toronto Globe and Mail that, "If in fact Rambam's interviews were able to be used in court and they were accepted, then they could well tip the balance (in ongoing investigations)."
Wiesenthal Center founder and Dean Rabbi Marvin Hier urged Rock last week to move quickly against three men implicated in Rambam's investigation. "We believe that (Rambam's work) constitutes important evidence regarding crimes committed by individuals currently residing in Canada," Hier wrote in a letter to Rock.
"We therefore urge you to take whatever measures are necessary to insure that this important information is reviewed promptly so that it can be fully utilized to bring those guilty of perpetuating the crimes of the Holocaust to the bar of justice, either by prosecution for war crimes or by deportation for immigration violations."
Ottawa has long been criticized for not only admitting thousands of Nazi war criminals into Canada after World War II, but also for refusing for decades to bring them to justice despite repeated demands by Jewish groups. Only in the 1980s did Canada begin to conduct serious war crimes investigations.
Only one Nazi war criminal has ever been deported and another extradited, although an official government investigation has called for immediate legal action against 20 suspected Nazi war criminals and urged investigators to look more closely at 200 other suspects.