Session Theme: Moral and Legal Responsibility with Respect to Alleged Mistreatment of Transferred Detainees in Afghanistan
On Monday, February 8, 2010, 10am – 4pm, the Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security hosted a special event in York University’s Senate Chamber.
Context and Purpose: The Prime Minister of Canada requested and was granted prorogation by the Governor-General at the end of December 2009. One of the effects of prorogation is that the House of Commons Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan, made up of Members of Parliament from all parties, cannot officially meet because Parliament’s business is totally ended by the act of prorogation. In this context, The Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security of York University and Osgoode Hall Law School seek to highlight the special importance of democratic scrutiny of, and debate over, conduct with respect to persons detained in Afghanistan by the Canadian Armed Forces who, it has been alleged, were either mistreated or risked being mistreated after their transfer to Afghan authorities by the Canadian military. Were it not for prorogation, the House of Commons Special Committee would be meeting again in February, following a January break for MPs. Because prorogation has prevented the Special Committee from continuing the examination of witnesses and evidence that it had begun in 2009, the Nathanson Centre and Osgoode invited experts on various aspects of the issue of detainee transfer to give presentations throughout the day on February 8, 2010, so that reflection by Canadians on the morality and legality of conduct related to the Afghan detainee could be facilitated.
The invited experts made presentations at the below-indicated times on various issues related to the detainee-transfer issue. Questioning was carried out by a panel consisting of:
- Professor Craig Scott, Chairperson of the Special Forum (Professor of Law, Osgoode Hall Law School; Director, Nathanson Centre);
- The Honourable Bob Rae, Member of Parliament (Toronto Centre – Lib.);
- Colonel (Ret’d) Michel W. Drapeau, Michael Drapeau Law Offices and Professor of Law, University of Ottawa
A written submission from Commander (Ret’d) William Fenrick, now a professor at Dalhousie University Schulich School of Law, was invited and received by the Special Forum. Entitled “Observations Concerning the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan and the Treatment of Detainees” (dated February 4, 2010). The Fenrick submission can be found under additional files.
Two days after the Special Forum, Professor Craig Scott presented a report and commentary on the Special Forum to the (prorogued) House of Commons Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan on Wednesday, February 10, 2010, at the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. The presentation was at the invitation of the Special Committee at the initiative of the Bloc Québécois. The Scott submission can be found under additional files.
See attached file for a list of presentations. Presentation transcripts can be found under additional files.
"Special Forum on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan (February 2010)" (2010). Conferences and Workshops. 8.
Craig Scott February 10, 2010, Presentation to Parliament.pdf (233 kB)
Forum on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan programme.pdf (70 kB)
Biographies of Special Forum Participants.pdf (225 kB)
1 Transcript of Neve Session.pdf (64 kB)
2 Transcript of Schabas Session.pdf (70 kB)
3 Transcript of Champ Session.pdf (74 kB)
5 Transcript of Schneiderman Session.pdf (60 kB)
6 Transcript of Mandel Session.pdf (72 kB)
7 Transcript of Waters Session.pdf (58 kB)
8 Transcript of Roach Session.pdf (59 kB)
9 Transcript of Byers Session.pdf (79 kB)