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War criminals: War of words

They committed acts of immense brutality and terror in their own countries. And then, seeking safe haven, they came to Canada. Not knowing their secret, we welcomed them with open arms. Decades later, shocking accusations would shatter the quiet obscurity in which they lived. CBC Archives examines Canada's limited success bringing war criminals to justice.

After immigrating to Canada in the late 1940s, Dmytro Kupiak lived a quiet life. Nothing in his demeanour indicated that he was unlike any other postwar immigrant. But now he faces charges that hint he may have lived a life less exemplary. The Soviet military is seeking to extradite Kupiak for organizing the mass murders of Soviet military and citizens during the Second World War. In this explosive As It Happens exchange, Kupiak and his Russian accuser plead their cases. 
. The Soviet government's request to have Kupiak extradited from Canada was refused.
. In the 1972 federal election, Kupiak ran for Progressive Conservative Party in the Toronto Lakeshore riding. He recalled to the Globe and Mail on April 10, 1985, "The Soviets thought I'd be terrorized by the charges. I did get letters against me but [the publicity] didn't hurt my business, even though I thought no one would come because I was a war criminal." Kupiak lost and finished third among the candidates in his riding.

. The concept of the war criminal was defined in 1945 at the historic Nuremberg Trials. At Nuremberg, the United States, France, Great Britain and Russia tried German military, judges, doctors and SS officials on the following charges:
- crimes against peace (the planning and instigating of an aggressive war),
- war crimes (violations of the customs of war),
- crimes against humanity (slaughter and atrocities against racial, ethnic and religious groups).

. In the first session of the Nuremberg Trials, the judgement was delivered on Oct. 1, 1946. Twelve men were sentenced to death, among them Reich Marshal Hermann Goring. Three men received life imprisonment, including Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess. Four were given 10-20 year prison terms and three were acquitted.
Medium: Radio
Program: As It Happens
Broadcast Date: Oct. 1, 1974
Guest(s): Dmytro Kupiak
Host: Barbara Frum, Alan Maitland
Duration: 22:36

Last updated: March 27, 2013

Page consulted on December 5, 2013

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