International Court asked to investigate alleged war crimes by Canada - Sri Lanka Guardian


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Monday, November 18, 2013

International Court asked to investigate alleged war crimes by Canada

Image Courtesy: Defence Talk
( November 18, 2013, Kamloops, B.C., Sri Lanka Guardian) The Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague has been asked to investigate Canada's "large-scale complicity in torture" of Afghan detainees, and Canada's "active, long-term collaboration" with the worldwide U.S. extraordinary rendition program to such places as Guantanamo Bay.

The request came in a 28-page submission to the ICC on Saturday, November 9, by independent investigative journalist John McNamer of Kamloops, B.C. Attached to the request is a digital file of 272 documents which the ICC was told contain "indisputable evidence" demonstrating that Canada has "transferred Afghan detainees over the past decade to the United States and to Afghanistan while those detainees faced a danger of illegal rendition and an extreme danger of torture, including the danger of being tortured to death."

McNamer, a decorated Vietnam veteran, told the ICC that Canadian officials since 2002 have "actively and intentionally failed to comply with Canada's specific legal obligations under the Convention against Torture and the Rome Statue and related domestic law."

"This large-scale commission of alleged war crimes is the result of plans and policies conceived of, and enacted by, responsible Canadian government and military officials with knowing and contemptuous disregard for legal obligations," the ICC is told, and that there is a "genuine unwillingness" by responsible Canadian authorities to investigate and prosecute these alleged war crimes.

McNamer said in the document the current government has abused its powers in order to cover up wrongdoing and to prevent any legitimate investigations of allegations of war crimes from proceeding.

The complaint says Parliament was shut down, or "prorogued" in 2009 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General Michaelle Jean "to prevent a Parliamentary investigation of detainee transfers from proceeding" and that there were threats of prosecution to top diplomat Richard Colvin preventing him from presenting evidence of detainee torture to the Military Police Complaints Commission in 2009.

It says that Harper in a 2009 television statement about detainee torture is quoted as saying "It's not a problem between Canadians and Afghans. We're speaking here of a problem between the government of Afghanistan and the situation in's not in our control," and that a prominent University of Ottawa law professor has publicly stated that he has seen uncensored classified documents which indicate Canada intended some prisoners to be tortured in order to gather intelligence.

The report also cites several recent international studies which show that Canada is a prime collaborator in the CIA's extraordinary rendition scheme, as well as a 2009 report to the UN General Assembly by Special Rapporteur Martin Scheinen which names Canada as a country that provided "intelligence or the initial seizure of an individual before he was transferred (to mostly unacknowledged worldwide) detention centres ... or to one of the CIA covert detention centres, often referred to as 'black sites.'"

The Rapporteur goes on to say in that report that "the active or passive participation by states in the interrogation of persons held by another state constitutes an internationally wrongful act if the state knew or ought to have known that the person was facing a real risk of torture."

The complaint to the ICC also says Canada actively engages in the use and sharing of torture-tainted information because of recent ministerial directives and federal legislation mandating such activity.

Copies of the complaint to the ICC have been forwarded by McNamer to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Governor General Tom Johnston; Attorney General/Justice Minister Peter MacKay; RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson, and Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin.