Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, holds up some of the 31,000 letters as they call on Saudi Arabia to free Raif Badawi as protesters take part in a rally outside the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Ottawa on Monday, November 2, 2015. A prominent human rights organization says Canada is failing to bring suspected war criminals to justice. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, holds up some of the 31,000 letters as they call on Saudi Arabia to free Raif Badawi as protesters take part in a rally outside the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Ottawa on Monday, November 2, 2015. A prominent human rights organization says Canada is failing to bring suspected war criminals to justice. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Changes needed to help Canada prosecute war criminals, Amnesty International says

The $15.6-million budget for the war-crimes program has remained static over the years,

A prominent human-rights organization says Canada is failing to bring suspected war criminals to justice.

In a newly released report, Amnesty International Canada depicts the federal Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Program as underfunded and underused.

Twenty years ago, Canada enshrined in federal law universal jurisdiction for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, meaning these offences are considered criminal acts in Canada even when they are committed abroad.

But only two people, both linked to the Rwanda genocide of 1994, have been prosecuted under the legislation.

Amnesty points to the case of Bill Horace, a former Liberian warlord, as evidence of Canada’s poor record in the years since.

It notes that Horace, who was shot to death in June in London, Ont., had been widely accused of committing mass murder, rape and torture in Liberia during the 1990s.

“Despite a mountain of evidence against him, Canadian officials never charged Horace, allowing him to live freely in this country since he first arrived in 2002,” Amnesty Canada said in releasing the report today.

More often than not, Canada washes its hands of its responsibility, failing to take any action to prosecute alleged war criminals or opting to deport them without any guarantees they will be investigated for their misdeeds, said Alex Neve, secretary-general of Amnesty Canada.

The $15.6-million budget for the war-crimes program has remained static over the years, but the costs of conducting investigations “have risen significantly,” the report says.

It urges the Canadian government to boost the resources of the federal program, improve the protection of victims and witnesses, and remove various legal and political obstacles to prosecution.

The report was co-ordinated by Sebastien Jodoin, Canada Research Chair in Human Rights and the Environment at McGill University, and developed with the input of lawyers, legal scholars, and law students.

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press

Canada

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

skip2
Rimbey Christian School students experience the joy of giving

Grades three and four students raised $2,000 for Somalian children

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said growing COVID-19 case numbers continue to be a concern in the province. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta announces 1,077 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

There are currently 14,052 active cases in the province

Bids for Kids poster
Wolf Creek Youth Foundation online auction gets ‘overwhelming’ response

Santa’s Bids for Kids auction to benefit youth programs in Rimbey, Ponoka

The Red Deer Games Foundation has made changes to its grant program as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo supplied)
Red Deer Games Foundation adjusts grant program due to COVID-19 pandemic

The foundation postponed the spring 2020 grant program due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

skip2
Rimbey Christian School students experience the joy of giving

Grades three and four students raised $2,000 for Somalian children

File Photo
Sylvan Lake Town Council asks for a mask bylaw to be brought forward for consideration

The bylaw would require face coverings in all indoor Town-owned and operated facilities

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

Most Read