The second most wanted man on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of Nazi war criminals – charged earlier in May by Russia with genocide – has died at age 93, his lawyer said.
Vladimir Katriuk passed away last week after a long illness, Orest Rudzik said Thursday.
News of Katriuk’s death emerged several hours after the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said Ottawa should take the necessary steps to ensure that he be held accountable if he were found guilty of war crimes committed in collaboration with the Nazis.
Russia charged Katriuk earlier in May with genocide in connection with the 1943 killing of civilians in Khatyn, now part of Belarus. According to war reports, Katriuk was a member of a Ukrainian battalion of the SS, the elite Nazi storm troops, between 1942 and 1944. He had denied the accusations against him.
The Russian Embassy in Ottawa called on the Harper government a few weeks ago to support a criminal case against Katriuk. The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, a law-enforcement body that reports only to Putin, called on Canada to deliver Katriuk to Moscow so he can be tried for alleged war crimes.
Harper’s Conservative government ignored the request, saying it will never recognize Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and its interference in Ukraine.
A study three years ago alleged Katriuk was a key participant in a village massacre during the Second World War in what is now known as Belarus.
The article said a man with Katriuk’s name lay in wait in March 1943 outside a barn that had been set ablaze, operating a machine-gun and firing on civilians as they tried to flee the burning building.