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Cablegate: Embassy Ottawa

VZCZCXRO3831
PP RUEHGA RUEHHA RUEHIK RUEHPOD RUEHQU RUEHVC RUEHYG
DE RUEHOT #0365 0731202
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 131202Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY OTTAWA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7510
INFO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7511
RUCNCAN/ALL CANADIAN POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0174

UNCLAS OTTAWA 000365

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PHUM MOPS AF CA
SUBJ: CANADIAN CHARTER RIGHTS: NOT FOR AFGHAN DETAINEES


1. (U) On March 12, Canada's Federal Court ruled that the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not apply to individuals whom
the Canadian Forces detain in Afghanistan and then transfer to
Afghan authorities, nor to the conduct of Canadian Forces in
Afghanistan. The Federal Court ruled that the detainees do have
rights under the Afghan Constitution and under international law,
and in particular international humanitarian law, however. In the
House of Commons' Question Period on March 12, Prime Minister
Stephen Harper noted that the Court had essentially accepted the
government's arguments and commented that "we are obviously very
pleased."


2. (U) The Court dismissed the application for a judicial review
from Amnesty International Canada and the British Columbia Civil
Liberties Association, aimed at stopping these transfers due to
allegations of torture. The NGOs had cited the Charter's section 7
(right to life, liberty, and security of the person), section 10
(the right to be informed promptly of the reasons for detention, to
retain counsel, and to receive a hearing) and section 12 (right not
to be subject to cruel and unusual treatment or punishment) as
applicable even on this extraterritorial basis due to the
involvement of the Canadian Forces.

3. (SBU) Comment: The issue of the treatment of detainees has been
a political football for at least one year, with recurrent
allegations of torture by Afghan prison authorities, Canadian
investigations and temporary suspension of transfers between
November 2007 and February 2008, and ongoing Canadian efforts to
improve monitoring and to train Afghan corrections officials in
international norms and standards. The timing is especially
fortunate for the government on the eve of the March 13 vote on a
government motion to extend Canada's deployment in Afghanistan to
2011, removing one of the few remaining minor differences between
the Conservatives and the Liberals on the Afghan mission.

WILKINS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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