Regina v. Finta

104 ILR 285 (1994)

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Regina v. Finta

Canada Supreme Court
104 ILR 285 (1994)

AR

Facts

Finta (defendant) was a senior officer in the Royal Hungarian Gendarmerie, an armed paramilitary organization. During World War II, the Gendarmerie was involved in rounding up Hungarian Jews and sending them away to concentration camps to be murdered. Finta was aware that before deportation the Jews were housed in unsanitary conditions and robbed of their possessions. The Jews were then crammed into train cars that were so packed that people could not sit and dead bodies could not be removed. Finta was eventually arrested and placed on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Finta admitted that he was present at the alleged site of the war crimes and crimes against humanity, but he argued that he was not in a position of authority and was subject to the command of the German SS. A jury acquitted Finta, and the court of appeals affirmed. The government appealed to the Canada Supreme Court, arguing that war crimes and crimes against humanity have the same level of mens rea as ordinary crimes and that the government had proven Finta met this requirement.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Cory, J.)

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