November 2, 2017

Wallenberg centre joins legal fight for info on Holocaust hero


The Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, headed by former Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler, has joined a legal action to appeal a Russian court ruling denying Wallenberg’s family access to “key documents and uncensored copies of information that could shed light on Wallenberg’s fate.”

Wallenberg, a former Swedish diplomat, is credited with saving 100,000 Hungarian Jews from the Nazis. In January 1945, he was captured by the Soviets and accused of being an American spy. He was imprisoned, but his fate remains unknown. Cotler has, for many years as a human rights lawyer and MP, pressed to learn of Wallenberg’s fate.

The Wallenberg centre pointed out in an announcement that lawyers from Team 29, who represent Marie von Dardel-Dupuy, Raoul Wallenberg’s niece, “have formally appealed the Sept. 18 verdict of the Meshchansky District Court, which upheld the refusal by the Russian State Security Service (FSB)” to provide the information.

“The RWCHR strongly supports the action taken by Marie Dupuy and Team 29,” Cotler, the organization’s founder and chairman, stated. “We trust that the Russian authorities will make full disclosure pursuant to their legal responsibilities under — and in full compliance with — the Freedom of Information law and to finally secure access to justice for the Raoul Wallenberg family, and indeed the international community. In the end, justice will prevail.

Cotler was counsel to Professor Guy von Dardel, Raoul Wallenberg’s brother, in the case of Von Dardel v. Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, “wherein the U.S. federal court determined that the evidence was ‘incontrovertible’ that Raoul Wallenberg did not die in 1947, as the Soviets claimed he did, and that the evidence was ‘credible’ that he was still alive in the ‘50s and ‘60s.”

Cotler added that for decades, “we have sought to gain the truth, but the Russian authorities systematically continue to block access to justice. We trust this action taken under the Russian Freedom of Information law will result in Russia making full disclosure of what happened to this hero of humanity.”