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Hungary: Nazi War Crimes Suspect Won't Contest Citizenship Ruling

Ottawa, 18 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - A Canadian accused of committing war crimes in his native Hungary during World War II will not contest Canada's move to strip him of citizenship.

Ladislaus Csizsik-Csatary, a retired art dealer living in Toronto, faces denaturalization for lying about his wartime activities.

The Canadian Justice Department claims Csizsik-Csatary belonged to the Royal Hungarian Police and was involved in the confinement and deportation to concentration camps of thousands of Jews in 1944.

He was convicted of war crimes in absentia by Hungary in 1948 and sentenced to death. Csizsik-Csatary arrived in Canada in 1949 and became a citizen in 1955.

Of the dozen or so cases where Canada has started proceedings to strip alleged Nazis of their citizenship, this is the first time one of the accused has decided not to fight the move. Under changes to Canadian law in the 1980's, people accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity in another nation can be tried in Canadian courts.

Paul Vickery, head of the Canadian War Crimes Unit, says the federal cabinet will now need to pass a formal order stripping Csizsik-Csatary of his citizenship. He would then be required to appear for a deportation hearing but Vickery says it is not clear to which country he could be deported or how long that process will take.

One other alleged war criminal has been stripped of Canadian citizenship for lying about his involvement with Nazis -- a former University of British Columbia botany professor, Jacob Luitjens. He was deported to his native Holland in 1992 and imprisoned there.

Nine cases against suspected war criminals are in Federal Court now. A tenth case is expected to begin soon. The Supreme Court of Canada will rule later this year on whether three of the cases should be stopped because of a secret meeting between a top federal lawyer and the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Appeal.

David Matas, vice president of B�nai Brith Canada, says he is pleased at least one of the war crimes cases is moving ahead and not caught up in all the technicalities and delays that have plagued so many of the others.