Author ORCID Identifier

Craig M. Scott: 0000-0002-1661-7932

Document Type


Publication Date



The present paper takes the form of presentation made on February 10, 2010, to the prorogued Canadian House of Commons Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan, with Members of Parliament from the Bloc Québécois, Liberal Party, and New Democratic Party in attendance. The subject of the presentation is a report and commentary on an all-day event organized by the Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School. The event, held in Toronto on February 8, 2010, was called the Special Forum on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan. The thematic title of the Special Forum was “Moral and Legal Responsibility with Respect to Alleged Mistreatment of Transferred Detainees in Afghanistan.” In the wake of prorogation of Parliament at the end of December 2009 by Canada’s Prime Minister, the Special Forum sought 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 – persons who, it has been alleged, were either mistreated or risked being mistreated after their transfer to Afghan authorities. Because prorogation prevented the Special Committee from continuing in February 2010 the official examination of witnesses and evidence that it had begun in 2009, the Nathanson Centre and Osgoode decided to invite experts on various aspects of the issue of detainee transfer to give presentations – and to respond to questions by a panel – so that ongoing reflection by Canadians on the morality and legality of conduct related to Afghan detainees might be facilitated, and also so as to assist the future work of this Special Committee when it reconvenes after prorogation. Nine experts presented and answered questions over a six-hour period: Alex Neve, William Schabas, Paul Champ, Willem de Lint, David Schneiderman, Michael Mandel, Christopher Waters, Kent Roach, and Michael Byers. A panel of questioners consisted of Craig Scott as Chair (the author), the Honourable Bob Rae (MP for Toronto Centre and a member of this Special Committee), and Retired Colonel Michel Drapeau. The agenda of the Special Forum is attached to the 11-page presentation as Appendix 1. A submission was requested and received by the Special Forum from Retired Commander William Fenrick; entitled “Observations Concerning the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan and the Treatment of Detainees”, it is attached as Appendix 2.