This article examines a recent request to the International Criminal Court asking for an investigation of alleged war crimes by Canada in relation to complicity in torture and complicity in illegal extraordinary rendition of detainees. The article appeared in the Canadian Civil Liberties newsletter Rights Watch, and can be accessed at the address at the bottom. The original article contains hyperlinks which access the full request to the ICC and all attached documentations.
Is Canada Guilty of War Crimes?
On November 9th, investigative journalist and human rights activist, John McNamer sent a request to the International Criminal Court to investigate Canada’s complicity in war crimes. McNamer argues that Canada has “actively and intentionally failed to comply with legal obligations under The Convention against Torture and the Rome Statue” (page 1). McNamer’s submissions to the ICC include that Canada has transferred detainees to the United States and Afghanistan with full knowledge that the detainees would be in extreme danger of torture and that Canada uses and shares intelligence likely obtained through torture. McNamer provides over 250 documents in support of his allegations.
In order for the ICC to have jurisdiction to investigate Canadians, Canada must be unwilling or unable to genuinely carry out the investigation or prosecution. McNamer contends Canada is unwilling. As Canada is a party to the Rome Statute, the ICC Prosecutor has the power to initiate investigation proprio motu. There must be a reasonable basis on which to proceed.
It has also been reported that a group of Egyptian lawyers have submitted a complaint to the ICC accusing President Barack Obama of being an accessory to the crimes against humanity committed by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. However, unlike Canada, the United States is not a party to the Rome Statute. The only way the ICC could acquire jurisdiction to investigate President Obama is through a referral by the United Nations Security Council and the United States is one of five countries with veto power