Lawyers for the former Schutzstaffel (SS) member have accused the Canadian government of withholding sensitive documents critical to the case.
"I come to the conclusion that the Court should not entertain Mr. Oberlander’s request and should not exercise its discretion in favor of a permanent stay of proceedings at this point in time," a Federal Court of Canada justice, Denis Gascon, said in the ruling.
Oberlander's legal counsel claim the federal government withheld confidential documents from the 1986-87 Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals in Canada report, better known as the Deschenes Commission, according to which the commission never established clear evidence of Oberlander’s participation in war crimes or crimes against humanity.
Oberlander learned of the commission’s findings through a Toronto Star article that was included in the evidence submitted by government lawyers for the former SS member’s admissibility hearing, set to commence last month, according to documents filed by his defense team.
However, the federal court justice ruled that the abuse of process allegations must be brought before the Immigration and Refugee Board's Immigration Division (ID) first.
Gascon noted that the temporary stay is already more than what could be granted if the judicial review of the case goes Oberlander’s way. The deportation proceedings against the former Nazi death squad member are currently on hold after a federal judge ordered a review, citing the defense's arguments regarding health issues and potential civil rights violations.
The judge added that he sees no exceptional circumstances that would warrant immediate intervention by the Federal Court before the ID has an opportunity to review the abuse of process allegations brought forward by Oberlander’s legal team.
In an interview with Sputnik, international criminal lawyer John Philpot warned that Canadian deportation proceedings against former Nazi Helmut Oberlander could be prolonged for up to an additional two years after the country’s Federal Court ordered a stay of hearings, noting the significance of a review being granted, considering that only 3 to 4 percent of deportation cases are reviewed.
The veteran attorney said the defense’s strategy is to prolong the case until Oberlander, who is 96, dies.
Legal representatives for Oberlander have not responded to multiple requests for an interview.
Oberlander has been embroiled in a legal battle with the Canadian government since 1995, when the latter began trying to strip him of his citizenship, citing his failure to disclose his links to Nazi death squads. After a lengthy legal battle, Oberlander was stripped of his citizenship for a fourth and final time in 2017 and Canada’s Supreme Court issued a ruling last December that blocked any possibility for Oberlander to appeal this decision.
An adjudicator ruled in October 2020 that the IRB has the jurisdiction to pursue the deportation of Oberlander, concluding that no abuse of process had occurred.
Additionally, Oberlander faces legal scrutiny in Russia, where investigators say he was complicit in the massacre of 27,000 civilians, including orphaned children, in Russia's Rostov region. Federal Security Service (FSB) files obtained by Sputnik revealed that Oberlander, a former interpreter for the Sonderkommando SS-10A death squad, played a role in the massacre.
Russia’s Investigative Committee has sent a request to Canadian authorities to provide legal materials related to the probe of Oberlander’s role in the massacre.
However, in an interview with Sputnik in December 2020, the Russian Embassy in Ottawa said the Canadian government did not request documents related to the case and has refused to cooperate despite Moscow’s request for legal assistance. The Russian Embassy added that "influential defenders" are working to delay the deportation process.