Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Calls intensify to identify war criminals

Mugshots of up to 50 notorious war criminals who are hiding in the GTA should be widely circulated so they can be captured, says the head of the Canadian Police Association.

Tom Stamatakis joins Liberal and NDP MPs — and even immigration workers — in calling for the identities of hiding war criminals to be posted on the Internet or distributed to the media when convictions have been registered or there is adequate evidence to justify charges.

Police are hoping those who view photos of the suspects will call them and the tip can lead to arrests and deportation.

“These people (war criminals) should be publicized so they can be recognized by the public,” Stamatakis said on Tuesday. “If these people are war criminals they should be incarcerated and deported from Canada.”

The warrants for the suspects, including 1,400 with lengthy criminal records, are among 20,000 immigration violators sought by the CBSA in the Toronto area for skipping hearings and deportations.

CBSA officials, who would not identify the war criminals, refused to comment on Tuesday on their search for the fugitives.

Officials said many of the war criminals arrive from Latin and Central American countries, where some suspects led death squads. Others have bloody hands for their role in the slaughter of thousands of Tutus and Hutus in Rwanda.

And, many more are from the Balkans — including Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro — where some suspects operated ethnic cleansing squads.

NDP immigration critic Don Davies said the identities of criminals should be posted for all of Canada to see.

“We should release their photographs and information once convicted,” Davies said. “We are fighting a war on terrorism to protect and preserve our system that works.”

He said more resources are required by the CBSA to go after and target war criminals and other death merchants.

“Canadians want us to have a fast and effective system to get rid of these people,” Davies said. ”Canada is not a safe haven for war criminals.”

Liberal immigration critic Kevin Lamoureux said Canadians have “zero tolerance” towards war criminals.

“We have to look after what’s good for the public interest,” Lamoureux said.

“I don’t have a problem with identifying these people once they have been convicted.”

Toronto lawyer Guidy Mamann said many of the war criminals arrive here as refugee claimants with few or phony documents. Many are intercepted

months later after background and fingerprint checks have been conducted, he said.

“These are incredibly serious allegations,” Mamann said. “If the allegations are found to be true, the suspects will have their status in Canada revoked and deported.”

He said some of the warrants stem from immigration notices not being received by suspects due to address change. That can lead to Canada-wide warrants being issued.

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