The courts and Omar Khadr


Elsewhere on Macleans.ca, Emmett Macfarlane gives the Supreme Court a share of the blame for Omar Khadr’s situation.

Seemingly lost in the controversy surrounding Omar Khadr and the federal government’s ongoing efforts to delay his return to Canada is the culpability of the Supreme Court of Canada in the entire affair … Basing the need for deference on the executive’s prerogative powers over foreign affairs, the Supreme Court decided to leave it to the federal government to determine how best to remedy the Charter breach. This was an unusual – and disturbing – move for a Court that in other contexts has made it clear that the Charter is not worth the paper it is written on without meaningful remedies.

At iPolitics, Stephen Neil considers Mr. Khadr’s chances of winning financial compensation when he returns to Canada.


The courts and Omar Khadr

  1. I was disappointed in the Court’s decision but I don’t know that it was unreasonable. In the middle of their hearing, it was announced Khadr’s case would be kept in the Military Commission system, while the 9/11 terrorists were to be moved to the regular system. That could have been done because it would be easier to negotiate a plea bargain. It’s known that the US has been trying to get a deal since at least 2007, and it was obvious that a request for a transfer to a Canadian prison would be part of that. It was also hinted that members of the Obama Administration wanted Canada to approve repatriation. The Court said it didn’t know what negotiations might already be underway. Nobody did, but it was reasonable to think some might be. They didn’t want to interfere, lacking information. They wanted the government to conduct it’s foreign policy within a legal framework and to respond to the fact that Khadr’s rights were violated. Who knew the government would respond by signing an agreement that must have lead both Khadr and the US to believe they were prepared to accept a transfer request, barring anything unforeseen, and then absurdly stall on implementation?

    Based on that agreement the US got its conviction, Khadr pleaded guilty and gave up appeal rights, in return for an 8 year sentence with what seemed like a good chance for a transfer to Canada in one year to serve out the remainder. That year gave the Canadian government all the opportunity it needed to assess security issues. Now, almost two years later, they are asking for information they could have requested soon after the agreement was signed, if not before.

    There was also nothing unforeseen about the fact that the Prosecution would have a witness that would make Khadr look bad and their case look good. It’s been reported that Toews now has his information but he’s haggling over the typical censorship in all Gtmo documents. No doubt, he will spend months reviewing this entirely predictable stuff. Welner’s testimony is at the Military Commission website and so are parts of the interview. His report is at Ezra Levant’s blog. Not surprisingly, a psychiatrist on the Defense side disagrees with just about everything the one on the Prosecution side says. I haven’t seen his report yet, but apparently Toews has that too.

    One thing the doctors do agree on, is that now that Khadr has been given a sentence, Canada should get him into some kind of treatment program, although they recommend different things. Obviously Khadr has to come back to Canada at the end of the sentence, if not before. Before is better from both a security and humane point of view. Canada needs to take responsibility for Khadr. He’s not anybody else’s responsibility. He cannot be dropped off on another country like an irresponsible owner would drop an unwanted pet. It is ludicrous to think that Canada would be the only western country not to request repatriation of its Gtmo detainee, captured at age 15 and charged with fighting in a war as an “unprivileged belligerent”, in an unprecedented prosecution, but that it would be the only country in the world to actually REFUSE to take responsibility for its detainee.

    They need to do their own objective assessment of the security implications, keeping in mind that the US government obviously doesn’t consider him a risk, or they would never have offered the plea bargain. But, they need to plan for whatever small risk may exist based on objective and credible assessments, not just reports from people on one side or the other for the court case.

    • Do you want him? Just answer the question. Do You Want Him? He’s yours then as soon as you sign all the paperwork making YOU responsible for him spiting on the sidewalk which in his case carrys a HUGE fine that is now YOURs. We prefer cash. Hope he spits a lot.

      • I didn’t sign an agreement to favourably consider adopting him. The Harper government signed an agreement to favourably consider transferring him to a prison.

        I don’t know why they signed it, why they said they would implement it, or why they are stalling almost two years later.

        Why do you think they did? Do you think it was to hoodwink Khadr into confessing to crimes and giving up appeal rights in the regular US courts?

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