A third person living in Canada and identified by the federal government as a suspected war criminal has been arrested in Toronto, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews says. 

Manuel de la Torre Herrera, 58, was taken into custody on Monday and is being held by the Canada Border Services Agency, Toews said Tuesday.

He came to Canada in 2000 from Peru and has been subject to a removal order since 2004, the minister told reporters in Winnipeg.

Two others identified by the federal government have already been taken into custody since last week, when Ottawa released the names of 30 suspected war criminals it says entered the country illegally.

Prompted by a media report, the federal government launched a website last Thursday with the names, birthdates and photographs of the suspects and called for any information that could lead to their whereabouts.


Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has warned that the 30 people identified as war crimes suspects living in Canada have been found guilty of terrible offences. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Toews would not give details about what allegations or charges de la Torre Herrera faces, saying only that he "would not be high up the rankings" of the CBSA's list.

The government insists there are stringent measures to prevent war criminals from entering the country. But Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said it can be difficult to spot those who apply for visas or asylum using false passports.

Toews said those who are complicit in war crimes have managed for too long to "blend into a trusting and welcoming Canadian society."

Some legal observers have criticized the government's move, saying it undermines the idea that people in Canada are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

But Toews said there is "no privacy interest for people who have deliberately violated the law."

"If they want privacy, they can turn themselves in," the minister said.

When asked for more information on the allegations against de la Torre Herrera, a CBSA spokeswoman said the agency is "unable to divulge specific details in accordance with privacy laws."

"We can, however, say that all of the persons on this list are accused of having engaged in activities that link them to war crimes or crimes against humanity as defined in Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, which implements the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court into Canadian legislation," the CBSA's Natalie Glister wrote in an email to CBC News.