Ottawa seeks help finding 30 suspected war criminals
CTV News.ca Staff
Published Thursday, July 21, 2011 8:50PM EDT
The federal government is asking for help to track down 30 people accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity who are thought to be living in Canada.
The government launched a website Thursday that features the names of the 30 suspected war criminals.
Most of the suspects were last seen in the Greater Toronto area and all already have outstanding deportation orders against them.
- The names and photos of the men can be found here.
In a government news release, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews urged all Canadians to help find the men, noting "we all have a part to play in making our communities safe."
"In releasing the names of individuals, who are residing illegally in Canada and who are complicit in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, it is our hope that new information will help our law-enforcement officials track them down and remove them from Canada."
Toews later told a news conference that the government may release more names in the future if the website they created is successful.
While most of the suspects are believed to be in Ontario, three were last seen in Alberta.
The Edmonton Police Service is on the lookout for Cristobal Gonzalez Ramirez, 44, who is originally from Honduras and may be living in the Alberta capital.
Edmonton police spokesperson Patrycia Thenu said the Canada Border Services Agency made the force aware of Ramirez's possible presence back in March.
"There is a Canada-wide warrant for his arrest on the system, so if any of our officers do detect him, he is arrestable," Thenu told CTV Edmonton.
Luc Portelance, the president of the Canada Border Services Agency, encouraged the public to inform the CBSA about any violations of Canada's immigration law or suspicious cross-border activity by calling their local police or the Border Watch Line at 1-888-502-9060.
The decision to release the names comes a day after Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced that the government plans to revoke the Canadians citizenship of 1,800 people suspected of obtaining their status "through fraudulent means."
He said many of those targeted hired "crooked" citizenship consultants to create fake proofs of residency in Canada, so that they can get citizenship and access to national health care and subsidized tuition rates.
Many of these people live overseas without contributing to the Canadian tax base, Kenney told CTV News Channel. He said the affected people are being sent letters informing them that their citizenships are being revoked.
Kenney told a news conference Thursday the federal government has very stringent guidelines in place to prevent suspected war criminals from entering the country. However, it's not always possible to spot those who apply for refugee status using false documents.
"It's extremely important that those who have lied to us, who have snuck into the country without declaring their complicity in such crimes, be rounded up and kicked out of Canada," Kenney told reporters.
Since 1867, Canada has revoked the citizenship status of only 66 people.