The Board of Inquiry report (III) -

The Board of Inquiry report (III)


Sebastien Jodoin, a law fellow at Amnesty International who is participating in the Military Police Complaints Commission proceedings, sent along some unsolicited thoughts on the BOI report late last week. When I asked if I might post those thoughts here, he sent along more thoughts.

Mr. Jodoin was previously cited in this space here. You can judge his credentials and music tastes here. He obviously has a particular perspective on this matter. Make of his thoughts what you will.

Today’s Board of Inquiry report raises more questions than it answers. Turning to the report itself, the Board arrived at a number of findings that are concerning. First, the Board found that there was confusion across the chain of command in the definition of detainees, which resulted in a failure to comply with the detainee process, including a failure to properly report and document events and to notify the ICRC. Second, the Board reported that CF members had limited confidence in the reliability and professionalism of Afghan authorities and formed the opinion that the practice of corporal punishments by Afghan authorities was common. Third, the Board found that a number of war diary records for the period from 13 May to 17 June 2006 could not be located and considered that this was “of very significant concern.”

Despite these and other troubling findings, the Board did not make any recommendations of any kind. Apparently, the Board concluded that the issues raised by these findings had since been addressed by changes in CF policies and orders. However, it is less than clear how the Board could have arrived at this conclusion on the basis of a review of policies and orders alone since the issue in this incident was one of policy implementation. Rather, the evidence that continues to come light is that problems in implementation of existing detainee policies and arrangements continue.

More broadly, the Board did not have the mandate to examine the flaws in Canada’s detainee policies and procedures and whether they meet Canada’s international obligations under the Convention against Torture and the law of armed conflict. The Board did not consider the possibility that the many other detainees transferred in the field, whose transfers were not documented and not notified to the ICRC, were likely tortured or mistreated in Afghan custody. The Board also did not consider the issue of why transfers were not suspended or stopped following this incident as well as concerns expressed by CF members, both of which would tend to indicate that transferred detainees were at a significant risk of torture or mistreatment in Afghan custody.

We know from this report that a few CF members on the ground, despite confusion in the chain of command and Canada’s flawed transfer policy, understood that this particular transfer was wrong. They might not understand the legal test under international law which justified their decision, but they appear to have understood it at an intuitive, ethical level. By contrast, it is distressing that senior government and military officials refuse to admit to the serious issues that plague Canada’s transfer policy and continue to place CF members in the difficult position of having to make these sort of decisions on the ground. Equally distressing is the government’s continuing refusal to call a full, public commission of inquiry capable of inquiring into the many systemic issues that have given rise to serious violations of international law regarding the treatment of detainees and making recommendations to improve Canada’s approach to detainees for future military engagements.


The Board of Inquiry report (III)

  1. All of this – as it all did before – still begs the question: so what are we going to do about it?

  2. Amnesty International…………Now there is an organization worthy of……………………..well, nothing really!

    • With no specific criticisms, no suggestion for alternative approaches, and no facts or argument to corroborate your opinion about Amnesty International, your comment is worthy of … well, nothing really!

  3. I find Jodoin's reference to the actions of our troops compared to those of their superiors and political masters particularly significant. I suspect that the definition of detainees offered to our troops was deliberately confused specifically for the purpose of failing to comply with the detainee process. But Canadian soldiers demonstrated their humanity and honour by taking the initiative. Far from critics of this government not supporting our troops, it seems that it was and is the government and senior military who are not supporting them. So is what's under all the black ink the details about how our troops prevented detainee abuse despite confusing orders?

  4. He writes in his bio that he likes Woody Allen movies.

    Could someone please ask Mr Fancy Robe international lawyer if that assessment includes Mr Allen's more recent work, such as Vicky Christina in Barcelona.

    Holy crap was that movie bad. Terrible. It made me embarrassed to possess consciousness. The voice-over!!! Pure, unadulterated crap. Buffalo feces. Sure, Penelope Cruz was pretty great, but she is always great. I have it on good authority she played hide the ding-dong with Tom Cruise and his orgasm was so massive he immediately ran out and joined Opus Die. (The scientology thing is a cover). That's how hot she is.

    Barcelona is like watching a jig-saw puzzle fall off the table. To be sure, a jig-saw puzzle with beautiful, beautiful breasts, but a jig-saw puzzle all the same. It is too bad Scarlet Johansson cannot act her way out of a wet brassier. I don't even remember who the other American actress was because I was too busy imagining Miss Johansson in a wet brassier. Amnesty International should get those puppies a day pass!! AaarrRrrrr!~

    Vicky Christina Barcelona is no Time Bandits. Why isn't Time Bandits listed on his bio?

    • Why are you talking about movies? What does that have to do with this article? Who cares that Jodoin likes Woody Allen.

  5. And what the hell is wrong with Antonia Banderes? At first I barely recognized him. But then I realized my confusion resulted from his deep immersion into the role.

    A role which had him playing a celebrated Catalonian painter who hails from Asturias, a region far from Catalonia. The Canadian equivalent would be playing a Quebecois painter in Montreal who is actually a native of Lethbridge. Not every actor can pull off such convoluted gymnastics. Especially not with a straight face.

    Of course this is Antonia Banderas we're talking about and the famous Banderas charisma, his diminutive Latin-lover persona shines through, as it must. He truly is one of the best actors of our generation.

    If they ever remake Time Bandits he should play the John Cleese character.