This morning at the MPCC, Paul Champ resumed his cross-examination of BGen Guy Laroche. Readers of these pages may recall that at the close of the last session of MPCC hearings this May, we heard conflicting testimony from BGen Laroche and his political advisor, Ed Jager, who each claimed that the other was responsible for assessing whether detainees were facing substantial risk of torture at the time of their transfers.
The first press reports from this morning’s session are troubling. Despite evidence that one in five Afghan detainees reported abuse to Canadian diplomats from late 2007 to early 2008, BGen Laroche continued to insist that such reports did not constitute evidence of systematic abuse. According to the Canadian Press, BGen Laroche testified that these reports of abuse were merely allegations which needed investigation. But that, of course, begs the question of what investigation was ever undertaken. From the testimony offered thus far, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence of any sort of careful, diligent investigation into these claims. So how was BGen Laroche — the commander of Joint Task Force Afghanistan, Canada’s mission in Afghanistan — confident that he wasn’t transferring prisoners to torture? Your guess is as good as ours.