In a letter issued today to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Public Safety Peter Van Loan, the BCCLA renews its call for the government to seek the immediate repatriation of Omar Khadr. This letter was written in light of the Department of Justice‟s announcement late yesterday that it has issued a diplomatic note to the United States, requesting that it provide assurances that evidence or statements obtained by Canadian agents through their interrogations of Mr. Khadr would not be used in criminal proceedings against him. This diplomatic note, according to a release from Justice Minister Robert Nicholson‟s office, was issued in response to the Supreme Court of Canada‟s recent ruling that Canada had unjustifiably violated Mr. Khadr‟s right to liberty and security of person, as protected by section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
BCCLA President Rob Holmes: “The Supreme Court found that seeking Mr. Khadr‟s repatriation would potentially vindicate his Charter rights. To this day, however, the federal government has taken no step towards adequately remedying the violation of Mr. Khadr‟s Charter rights. While the request made in the consular note to the U.S. authorities may, if it is acted on by U.S. authorities, perhaps wash away some of the stain of Canada‟s breach of Mr. Khadr‟s Charter rights, it does not go far enough and misses the point that a complete solution to this matter requires that Canada request that he be brought home.”
In particular, the BCCLA remains concerned about the procedural protections offered by the military commissions, before which Mr. Khadr is scheduled to be tried this summer.
Carmen Cheung, Counsel at the BCCLA: “The military commissions process in its previous incarnations has been twice found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States. As a system of adjudication, it remains fundamentally flawed. Canada‟s claims that Mr. Khadr should be permitted to stand „trial‟ in the United States is predicated on the faulty assumption that military commissions can be considered „trials‟, as we normally conceive of them.”
President, Robert Holmes: 604.838.6856
Counsel, Carmen Cheung: 604.630.9758