The 'grievous injustice' of the Khadr settlement -

The ‘grievous injustice’ of the Khadr settlement

Opinion: Tory MP Garnett Genuis on why a full accounting in court was needed, not a speedy and politically motivated settlement

Omar Khadr leaves court after a judge ruled to relax bail conditions in Edmonton on Sept. 18, 2015. The federal government has paid former Guantanamo Bay inmate Omar Khadr $10.5 million as part of a deal to settle his long-standing lawsuit over violations of his rights, The Canadian Press has learned.Speaking strictly on condition of anonymity, a source familiar with the situation said the Liberal government wanted to get ahead of an attempt by two Americans to enforce a massive U.S. court award against Khadr in Canadian court. (Amber Bracken/CP)

Omar Khadr leaves court after a judge ruled to relax bail conditions in Edmonton on Sept. 18, 2015.  (Amber Bracken/CP)

Garnett Genuis is the Conservative member of Parliament for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan. Read Liberal MP Steven MacKinnon’s response to this 0p-ed here.

Suppose that, instead of $10.5 million, the Liberal government had agreed to give Omar Khadr $105 million. Would those who are defending the current settlement be just as willing to defend the hypothetical higher figure? Khadr’s long-suffering defenders in this case seem singularly fixated on pointing out the tragedy of his life and circumstances, instead of defending the appropriateness of the settlement. Since I have yet to hear much defence of the particular figure, I wonder if that even matters to those who made the deal.

But, whether Khadr ultimately went home with $10.5 million or $105 million, no government ever announces a court settlement in the first week of July hoping that people will notice. The settlement terms were not released. Those who think this is somehow a good deal should explain the suspect timing and the secrecy. The government seems to have approached this issue with the sincere hope that you would not notice.

Khadr pled guilty to killing a U.S. soldier and war crimes. His defenders say that he may not have actually committed the offences that he is accused of, since he allegedly only confessed as a result of torture. The United States has always denied allegations that Guantanamo Bay detainees were tortured, including Khadr. In 2010, the military judge in his war crimes trial ruled there was “no credible evidence” Khadr was tortured.

COUNTERPOINT: Yes, sleep deprivation is torture

The United States was and remains a rule of law country to which we routinely extradite suspected criminals—it would be strange to selectively doubt the determinations of American justice in this case.

Regardless of how you view American justice, Khadr’s defenders are trying to have their cake and eat it too with regard to his own credibility. They would like us to accept at face value his claims of torture (despite the evidence), while rejecting his admissions of guilt (despite the evidence).

The $10.5 million payout to Khadr was, indisputably, a political choice. Nothing in any court decision obliged the government to do it. The government has argued that the ongoing legal action would be expensive, and that they would have had very little chance of winning in court.

In this respect, the government’s claim is highly dubious. The last Conservative government agreed to $10.5 million in compensation for Maher Arar, who indisputably was tortured and was innocent. (He was sent to Syria during the tenure of the previous Liberal government). If $10.5 million was an acceptable settlement for Arar, an innocent person who was tortured, then surely we do not owe the same amount to Khadr, a guilty person whose torture claims are disputed.

Further, governments ought not simply approach litigation in a way that aims to minimize the costs in that particular case. Governments ought to defend certain kinds of cases, as far as is required, when a principle of fundamental justice is at stake. We would have been well served to see the courts rule on this particular aspect of the Khadr question. This is one of those cases where justice is best served by revealing for certain what our laws oblige.

It was a political choice for the government to pay Khadr, and it was a political choice for it to pay out that money in a way that absolutely minimized the prospects of the family of Christopher Speer, the soldier he was accused of killing, accessing any of it. Surely Khadr owes something to the family. What possible public interest was served by the government seeking to minimize the Speers’ access to these funds?

READ MORE: Omar Khadr: a political inkblot test

While many people have used the term “child soldier” to describe Khadr, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child sets the minimum age for recruitment into a state’s armed forces at 15, not 18 (see article 38). An optional protocol, which came into force in the same year Khadr was arrested, adds that those under 18 should not be conscripted into armed forces and that military volunteers under 18 should not take part in direct hostilities. Undoubtedly these conventions were not of great concern to the Taliban; but they do throw into question the idea that Khadr was formally a “child soldier” at the time of his capture. Though restricted in what they can do, this convention clearly regards people in Khadr’s age category differently than those who are under 15. But in any event, I am not aware of anything in international law which provides for an exemption from war crimes prosecution based on the criminal’s age, provided that the criminal has the maturity to properly understand their actions and the consequences.

Finally, many of Khadr’s defenders invoke the idea of forgiveness, especially recognizing that he grew up in a family that normalized and glorified terrorism. But Khadr is a free man, living in the best country in the world. That is sufficient forgiveness. Adding $10.5 million to that picture is gilding the lily more than just a bit.

Khadr’s defenders are also not looking for a consistent ethic of forgiveness. They want their pound of flesh from Canadian taxpayers because of his incarceration in the United States and yet they want those same Canadians to forgive Khadr for his actions.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘We owed him better than what he endured’

Omar Khadr had a terrible upbringing. He also committed a terrible crime. As a free man, he now has an opportunity to make restitution for his crime. But the government was wrong to write him a massive cheque, in the absence of any legal obligation to do so, in a way aimed at minimizing public discussion and minimizing the ability of the Speer family to access any of that money.

Putting Khadr in jail was an act of justice. Releasing him was an act of forgiveness. Giving him $10.5 million of taxpayer’s money was an act of grievous injustice, lacking in proportionality and lacking in compassion for his victims and for struggling taxpayers.


The ‘grievous injustice’ of the Khadr settlement

  1. Oh give it a rest.

    It’s not going to win Cons the election, and that’s all they’re using it for.

  2. Being an ingenue as M. genuis might really be does not abjure you of ignorancem, bnor should it abjure you of malivce. Mr Geniuuis seems to be diosplaying ine very noticeably while prstending not to display the second.
    As anyone who has been involvede inan action before the court – the right of every citizen – the outcome can result in one of three ways:

    A withdrawal instituted by the party that initiated the procedure, but only with the agreement of the second party – this is called a ‘draw’, where both sides go home and lick their filing or legal costs.

    The second solution is a judgement – this after a number of legal filings and procedures heading toward a hearing presentation of material and a judicial evaluation of the matter before the court. A judge wriytes a decision or a ruling generally tending to support one side (the winner) over the other (the loser) the judgement may add instructions in regard to the court costs involved and the winner could petition the courts to have the loser pay his costs in the action was unwarranted or unfair or imposed and unnecessary burden. In this particular incident Khadr was asking for damages of 60 million as well as oner would expect the cost of mounting a legal defense, in Canada, to secure his release from prison and to bring this tort before the court. Possible another 4 or 5 million dollars.

    the third possible out come is a settlement. Where one party comes to a realization that either it was wrong or is in imminent danger of losing the judgment and wishes to cut losses by negotiating a deal that would result in an withdrawal of the action before the court. This is generally considered to be the prudent action to take, and it would have been decided on the recommendation of government lawyers, nor government politicians – although they probably did get a vote.

    Since Khardr’s damages arose from some very real actions of the government in failing to represent his interests as much as they executed the interests of a foreign entity upon him. That they did that after being instructed, twice, that they were wrong and having failed a number of appeals of that instruction. Only the profoundly stupid would need a judicial kicking of their ass to dissuade them from being so ‘just’.
    It wasn’t just, ever. or right.

    Pay the guy. Shut up and resolve to do better next time.

    We’re tarried in this latrine too long.

    Move forward.

    • Why is a Canadian court deciding on an American issue? Maybe justin is not really against terrorists?

      • How is it an American issue? This has nothing to do with terrorism or with whether or not he threw the grenade (that was never proven in court because he wasn’t tried) – the issue is that the Supreme Court, the top court in the land, ruled that Khadr’s Charter rights as a Canadian citizen were violated by the Canadian government. Therefore, he was going to win his $20-million that he was suing for (and it would have cost even more in court costs) – so the government, knowing they’d lose, settled for less.

        It has nothing to do with the U.S. It has to do with the rule of law here in this country.

  3. The PCP of Canada should e paying Khadr. It was all the fault of a Conservative government. Harper and his government did not consult with Canadians in any aspect of the treatment meted out to Khadr in Guantanamo, or here in Canada.

    • Chretien and Martin did not lift a finger to get Khadr out of Gitmo. There is enough blame to go around.

    • What apparently escapes some people is the fact that Justin Trudeau just made a non-court mandated, secret, and untraceable payment to the family who was one of the main financiers of Al Qaeda. And as unbelievable as that was, he actually tried to blame it on someone else. It was the Liberals who (justifiably) entered Canada into the war, the Liberals who mandated the Prisoner protocols and it was during the Liberal government that Khadr was first captured and under them that he spent the first four years in Guantanamo Bay. Trying to blame Harper is simply a sign of mental deficiency. Most of the arguments for the settlement are simply the standard Liberal psychopathy against the US that they demonstrate so often. Not so secretly, they are either delighted that a US medic died or don’t care and that is made even better that he was killed by a “Canadian” in their normal paranoia and Anti-American penis envy, but to come out and say it, they understand is unacceptable. So they twist and dodge and do the mental gymnastics to cover their delight in a variety of methods, which, on examination don’t hold water. Khadr did not meet the standard for a child soldier (according to their vaunted UN description) and he did not make a confession under torture, but under a plea bargain deal that allowed him to come back to Canada and be released. It was Jean Chretien let’s not forget that got his father released from an Egyptian jail to continue his terrorist activities and become Al Qaeda’s financier and personal friend of Bin Laden. The Liberal party has become the greatest danger to Canada we have ever faced. The reality is that any “debt” incurred by Canada that was owed Khadr was paid in full the second he was repatriated to Canada and appears pretty strongly that this “settlement” could easily be far more about hush money, and the desire to keep Liberal collusion and incompetence out of the courts and therefore the public eye that any rights that were denied, particularly given the lack of any jurisdiction whatsoever Canada had in Afghanistan, Cuba or the US. This settlement should be investigated through a Public inquiry to determine whether the settlement was first of all necessary and the extent of complicity and connection it has to the Liberal party along with the need to be able to track the money so as to ensure it is not used to kill more coalition troops. Moreover, if Trudeau had really been concerned that the Law was followed, he would not have agreed to hide the money from Khadr’s victims that had a legal judgement against him and would have certainly been entertaining a charge of treason in relation to Khadr’s actions. By accident or complicity, it is entirely possible that the Liberal party of Canada will be complicit in aiding and abetting a Terrorist organization in Canada. It takes a good deal of thought to understand just how bizarre and obscene that really is.

      • I agree completely with you. The Liberals brought this terrorist family here to Canada, and Junior is continuing the Liberals agenda. You have to wonder how many Canadian citizenships Junior is giving terrorists, that are now entering Canada? Time will tell!

  4. Hogwash…..the conservatives will regret making this a partisan issue.

    • How can this be viewed as a partisan issue when 71% of Canadians think the settlement is wrong. It looks like some snow flakes have left the Liberal fold on this one too.

  5. “The United States was and remains a rule of law country to which we routinely extradite suspected criminals—it would be strange to selectively doubt the determinations of American justice in this case.”

    I certainly is not. The Millitary Commission that Khadr was “convicted” by dispensed with many of the fundamental principles of due process that are sacred in regular US Courts — including, but not limited to, habeas corpus, the right to select your own legal counsel, the right to know the evidence used against you, the prohibition on hearsay, and the right not to be convicted of crimes created retroactively.

    “They want their pound of flesh from Canadian taxpayers because of his incarceration in the United States”

    No. I want a “pound of flesh” because Canadian CSIS operatives cooperated with US officials at Gitmo knowing full well the miscellaneous abuses going on there.

    “I am not aware of anything in international law which provides for an exemption from war crimes prosecution based on the criminal’s age”

    And I’m not aware of the crime of “murdering” a combatant on a battlefield being an internationally recognized war crime either. This was a legal fiction created by the United States in the wake of 9/11, not an established legal principle.

    “It was a political choice for the government to pay Khadr”

    Where on earth do you come up with this? On what universe is this good “politics”?

    “They would like us to accept at face value his claims of torture (despite the evidence), while rejecting his admissions of guilt (despite the evidence).”

    What a crock. His admission was given to a kangaroo court where the deck was stacked against him facing a lifetime of imprisonment. It epitomizes the coerced confession.

    “pay out that money in a way that absolutely minimized the prospects of the family of Christopher Speer, the soldier he was accused of killing, accessing any of it.”

    Speers’ widow’s application for a prejudgment freeze was doomed to fail on legal principles. There is no evidence that I am aware of for this rumour that it was done in a manner to avoid her getting at it, assuming she is entitled to it.

    • Forget the fact he was only 15, forget the fact he threw the grenade ( disputable) forget the fact he was tortured ( disputable). He is now a grown man and must realize he did something very wrong.
      Given such circumstances would you have the audacity to sue your government? This tells me he doesn’t really feel sorry for what transpired.

      • Two wrongs don’t make a right. The government ought to be held accountable for what it did. Otherwise what incentive is there to not collude with allies to violate the Geneva convention in the future. I’m not 100% convinced that Omar Khadr “deserved” $10.5 million so much as I am that Canada deserved to have to pay it.

      • First, I would like you to be shot in the back twice, denied medical treatment, be deprived of sleep for days at a time, be waterboarded weekly, be subjected to mock execution on a monthly basis for a few years and then comment on the pros and cons of this case. Somewhere, there is a man who shot an unarmed man seated with his hands up in the back who’s not under the microscope. Somewhere there’s a CSIS official who ordered an interrogation after a bit of Gitmo style softening up, also not in the public eye.
        It is a distinctly Canadian problem that we have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms which is only 34 years old, a colonialist tradition which is antithetical to individual rights and a major political party that ever regards the Charter as an impediment to political power. This is echoed in the actions of government bureaucrats that see their role as the unfettered use of power. The more troubling aspect of this is the complete disregard and disrespect for the courts and legal process which seem to be our main protection against totalitarian abuse. Worse, there are many who advocate that this case should be a political action rather than a legal one. Then there’s the serious issue of a political party that views personal freedom as an impediment to their political power.

        • Your comments identify perfectly the delusions the Liberals are prepared to perpetrate and make up in order to deflect from the debate – “First, I would like you to be shot in the back twice, denied medical treatment, be deprived of sleep for days at a time, be waterboarded weekly, be subjected to mock execution on a monthly basis for a few years and then comment on the pros and cons of this case. Somewhere, there is a man who shot an unarmed man seated with his hands up in the back who’s not under the microscope. Somewhere there’s a CSIS official who ordered an interrogation after a bit of Gitmo style softening up, also not in the public eye.” He was not shot in the back twice – he was shot in the shoulder once after he had thrown the two grenades and his AK-47 jammed. He was not denied medical treatment, and if he had been he would have simply bled out. Medical treatment was immediately administered by a second medic (he had killed the first). He was never waterboarded, far less weekly – at worst he was subjected to the “Frequent Flyer program” in which an inmate was moved every three hours and it was noted that “as a well fed 17 year old, he was handling it very well”. By that standard, I was tortured in the Canadian military for years. I could really use $10.5 million, but you’re simply making up fantasy.

  6. What is it that Maclean’s doesn’t understand about the Charter and the Supreme Court’s rulings related to this case. There is always some ideologue trying to twist reality to score mindless political points.

  7. “Those who think this is somehow a good deal should explain the suspect timing and the secrecy.”

    I would like an explanation for the secrecy. There is no rationale for not telling Canadians how much the government of Canada awarded Khadr. The fact that the amount of the award is secret means that the $10.5M figure is next to meaningless. As mentioned in the article, it could actually be $105M, or even just $1.05M. We don’t know because the government won’t tell us. So much for the transparency promised by this government.

  8. Let us backup a little and get an objective view point!
    I am sure everyone will agree that in prison right now are inmates that are guilty of crimes that are by far worse than what Khadr is assumed to have committed.
    Yet, these inmates are protected and have rights prescribe to them by the very constitution that were not applied to a 15 year old Canadian boy.

    Torture… not a part of the Canadian mosaic. It is not something Canadians anywhere would subscribe to. That kind thing happens in less developed parts of the world……not Canada.

    Yet we have these Conservative ass wipes who seem to saying exactly that in there right wing zeal to oppose not only to the judgement of the supreme court but also the payment.

    In some respect, maybe it is good that they being vocal in their opposition….it truly identifies them right wing nut jobs whose unrelenting dogma that has cause so much chaos south of the border.

    One last point, Canadians love to travel and they often travel to countries where justice is less or let’s say harsh. Whether you committed a crime or not, do you feel your country will come and get you or fight on your behalf after what Khadr experienced??? If our country can let a 15 year old boy to languish in a prison. Whether you are innocent or not what chance do you think you have getting any help?

    TORTURE IS NOT A PART OF MY CANADA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Repetition seems warranted here. Since 71% of Canadians think the settlement was wrong, it looks like some snow flake Liberals have joined the “Conservative ass wipes” on this one. Doesn’t look partisan to me!!

      • And a lot of those people in that poll also said they didn’t understand the case and needed more information.

        Regardless, constitutional principals aren’t based on popularity.

        And please don’t bring this snowflake (or asswipe, to the other guy) nonsense here – it doesn’t help anyone.

        • And after they all knew more info, 60% remained opposed. Had to include several former Liberal supporters of Mr. Selfie.

    • We tend to lose our senses and abandon our principals and laws when the words ‘terrorist” and “Muslim” are involved.

      We shouldn’t be afraid of terrorists and we shouldn’t let them change who we are. Sure, defend ourselves and enforce laws – but the Charter still has to apply.

      BTW, news outlets could do a better job at explaining the facts and issues here – most of us haven’t been following this story for 15 years.

  9. Is Scheer behind this media blitz from MPs? I don’t recall seeing anything quite like it.

    Their arguments are more about politics than principal.

    What would it have said about Canada and the Charter if Trudeau had fought a decided case tooth and nail?

  10. Am I the only one bothered that the official opposition is drumming up outrage in U.S. news outlets, in addition to our own?

    • I’m not bothered at all. Trudeau has spent most of his tenure trying to get loved outside of Canada. Hopefully this will dampen that silliness-we can’t afford the wasted $ he has spent boosting his ego.

  11. If this was such a noble course of action why was settlement confidential? Why weren’t all the details including the amount paid disclosed to all Canadians. Why weren’t the complete reasons for paying the amount settled disclosed to the public. The only info we have is thanks to a leak regarding the amount which could be significantly more.

    As a Canadian taxpayer I want to see and read the legal opinion upon which the Liberal government says the payment was based. The Liberal government says that such damages would have been $30m to $40m. As a Canadian taxpayer I demand that they prove those estimates provided by legal counsel.

    So, the real issue concerns what damages would Khadr be entitled to.

    The courts, when assessing damages look to the actions of the plaintiff as well as the defendant. So courts, would also consider the action and statements of Khadr. Khadr was a member of Al Qeada. There is a video of him making IEDs. He was in the compound where two Afghan soldiers, who were sent to negotiate the surrender of the Al Qeada group, were executed. He was party to a firefight with American soldiers, one of whom was killed and another wounded. After his capture he stated that it was his intent to kill American soldiers. He confessed to killing Speer and wounding Morris.

    Khadr would be free to rebut these defences. He could claim torture but the two Supreme Court cases, where he sought remedies for the violation of his charter rights and an order forcing the government to seek his repatriation, torture was never alleged and never address by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court only mentioned sleep deprivation prior to an interview by Canadian officials. Also the apology offered to Khadr did not mention any torture he might have suffered. This clearly suggests that there was indeed no torture.

    Mahar Arar received $10M and he was truly innocent and had actually been tortured based upon information provided by Canadian officials. The apology also referenced the torture he suffered. Khadr was not innocent.

    As a result of the defences the Canadian government could proffer, damages could be reduced significantly.

    Legal counsel when advising a client would have to present this as part of their opinion addressing the range of possible damage awards. So let’s see the legal opinion upon which the Liberals relief.

    Liberals profess to be open and accountable – but clearly not in respect to the amount of the compensation paid to Khadr.

    I agree there are many facts and legal issues that are attendant with this case. That is why, as a Canadian citizen I would have preferred that the decision re Khadr’s rights and any damages payable for any violation of those rights be left to capable individuals namely the Supreme Court. They are the only ones that can ensure that the issues are dealt with in an objective non political manner. Instead we have a secret deal completed by a group of incompetent politicians who obfuscate and misrepresent at every turn. All the while taking steps to stonewall a couple of true victims – the widow of Mr Speer and the injured soldier Mr. Morris.

    • “After his capture he stated that it was his intent to kill American soldiers. He confessed to killing Speer and wounding Morris.” Merely repeating this doesn’t make it true – there is no evidence that would stand up in a court of law to that effect.
      But again, like many, you conflate the issue of this alleged crime with that of the extralegal treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo and equally importantly the lack of access to legal due process. Legal process is all that protects us from total power. This is very much a Charter case – one can only stand amazed and appalled that so many would reject legal due process and the Charter itself so readily. Surely, we saw enough examples of the Charter providing the last line of defense from the authoritarian Harper government and undemocratic law to be well warned.

      • You miss the point.

        Apologies for not being clearer.

        The issue is DAMAGES and whether Khadr might be entitled to $10m or $40m or $500k.

        The Supreme Court has ruled that his rights were violated. Khadr had sued the government of Canada for breach of those rights and asked for $20m on the basis that such a breach led to his continued detention.

        The government of Canada would not try to argue that Khadr’s rights were not violated because that is now a given.

        The GoC would argue that damages should be considerably LESS (than $20M) because

        1. Khadr’s actions were a contributor to his detention. The GoC would go through all of Khadr’s conduct leading to his detention and the statements and admissions that he made while in custody. This would include the alleged statement that he intended to kill Americans and the confession of guilt he made. It would be open to Khadr to refute both. The GoC would proffer evidence that Khadr was a member of Al Qeada. They would include videos of him making IEDs. The GoC would go through everything that occurred on the day he was captured. The fact that those in the compound – which included Khadr – executed two Afghan soldiers sent in to negotiate a peacefull surrender. They will produce evidence surrounding Speer’s death and the injury to Morris. They will paint Khadr as a bad actor who contributed to his detention.

        2. The GoC will show that Khadr’s father was a member of Al Qeada as were other siblings. They will show that the mother was a supporter of Al Qeada and believed in martyrdom for her children. The GoC will show that Khadr and was part of family enterprise that supported Al Qeada to the point where three of them died fighting coalition forces that included Canada. They were bad people who contributed to Khadr’s conduct and detention.

        3. The Americans were responsible for his detention. The Supreme Court noted this when they held that although Khadr’s rights were violated by the action of the two Canadian officials – which contributed to Khadr’s continued detention – the US was “primarily” responsible for that detention.

        So. What damages should be paid to Khadr – assuming the GoC can establish the above? I would suggest such damag s would be significantly less than $10m. But as Canadian citizens we will never have the benefit of the Supreme Court conducting a thorough review. We don’t even have a legal opinion which supports the statements made by Trudeau and Goodale that the estimated damages would have been $30-$40M – twice what Khadr was actually asking for.

        To me this is a grievous injustice foisted on Canadians.

        • Concerns over the settlement are a red herring. The initial civil suit was launched as far back as 2004 by Khadr’s lawyers in the United States. It is in place because Canada did not carry out its duty toward Khadr, it is a punitive act. If you don’t understand that you don’t understand anything about why the courts likely would have handed down an order for payment much greater than the $10.5 million if Canada decided to keep bickering over it.

          Canada’s department of justice is responsible to manage and respond to this issue, and they’re going to follow certain procedures. People who believe the Khadr settlement was a political act instead of Canada’s discharging its legal duties are more than a bit out to lunch.

          It is as Trudeau said, the litigation and decision making was coming to a close. It was under the supervision of the courts. Canada has no position to go up before the courts and expect preferential treatment, and it certainly can’t go up the representative of our country and behave badly.

          Harper was an idiot without a clue about rule of law. Not everyone needs to act like him, nor should be expected to act like him in front of the courts.

          Speaking of not rewarding bad behaviour …. we had a terrible role model for a decade. He was an incredibly disrespectful man. Time to clean that up.

  12. He WAS a child soldier – taken to Afghanistan at 9, and was only CAPTURED at 15, so yes, he was a child soldier. Saying what the rules are doesn’t mean all countries adhere to them. Just as locks only keep out honest thieves, so do international rules during war time.

    He WAS tortured – sleep deprivation is classified as torture, even if ‘only’ using him as a human mop to wipe up his own urine is just degrading. It was up to OUR country to defend a Canadian citizen, regardless of the colour of his skin.

    It WAS a cost-saving measure. Based on prior records of the Government in court (who, btw is STILL fighting Vets regarding their rights), this could have dragged on forever. And the Government had already lost in court.

    $10.5mil or $105mil – doesn’t matter. What matters is our Government allowed a Canadian citizen to sit in a foreign jail and get tortured and that was WRONG.

    There are plenty of other things our tax money should go to – triple-digit court cases shouldn’t be one of them, no matter who the defendant is.

    And if the Speer family wants money, they need to sue their own government. Their son was a combatant in a war and was killed by another combatant. Those of us who signed the line know the risks, and if his family believes he was wrongly killed, that’s something they need to take up with the US armed forces, not the guy they believe killed him. It’s war, not murder, and there’s a difference.

  13. I wonder if the real reason the government didn’t want this to go to trial was because the testimony would have highlighted that the wrongs to My Khadr happened during the previous Liberal government. Certainly Mr Harper’s government did not pursue his repatriation but the original interrogation was on Mr Chretien’s and Mr Martin’s watch. I do feel that the settlement for Mr Arar was very appropriate but I would have preferred that Mr Khadr had to argue his entitlement in court. Without those arguments this government is establishing an unfortunate precedent – no proof needed.

  14. Terrible article. What really bothers me is the way Genuis abuses language. First of all whether he likes it or not Canada ratified the Optional Protocol on Child Soldiers – and was among the first to do so. So bracketing off “child soldier” is highly inappropriate. This man is an MP – if he can’t be trusted to know and support laws that Canada has committed to upholding, WTF is he doing making decisions for other people in our government? Genuis should be first with accurate information and right understanding of the circumstance and all the parametres that apply. Instead he offers a sloppy article that would barely muster a passing grade in a high school English class.

    Appalling. He can’t be trusted. I hope people don’t vote for him in the next election.

    Second “Finally, many of Khadr’s defenders invoke the idea of forgiveness. Putting Khadr in jail was an act of justice.”

    No. People able to see their way through the Khadr settlement do not agree Khadr should have been put in jail. As a child soldier he should have been afforded certain treatments from the moment he was picked up. In terms of Omar Khadr’s situation, there is only one thing to deal with and that is injustice on the part of the state (both the US and Canada) from the get go.

    Does Genuis not read? According reliable witnesses, Delta Forces prevented Omar Khadr’s execution and instructed medics to tend to his wounds. Despite losing one of their own they were the only guys in the field who paid attention to child rights in hostilities. That’s not an act of mercy. They were doing what they should have been doing. We do not excuse soldiers for following the law.

    After that Khadr was denied Canadian consular services and tortured at Bagram. This is also a matter of record. Whether Genuis likes it or not, torture is a war crime. Bush may have had his lawyers contort America’s laws beyond all recognition to give him the freedom to “disappear” thousands of people into Gitmo, but that doesn’t mean America’s actions were legal. This is also a matter of record, and something that has been taken up as a matter for concern in the US.

    I don’t think anyone needs to go much further into the information available on Omar Khadr to know that he was a 15 -year-old kid caught up in the middle of a situation after having been irresponsibly placed there by his father and mother. He did not run off independently to Afghanistan, radicalized into jihad. His father had wanted a nation guided by Islamic rule and had run half-way around the world until he found a niche where he could advance his ideologies. He tossed his children into that world because he was a fixer – politically dirty and ready to compromise himself on all sides to meet his particular understanding of jihad.

    The UN Protocol specifically understands the situation and circumstances of children pressed into hostilities. Not only is Omar Khadr a child soldier, he’s also a very good case of what the Protocol aims to get rid of.

    This isn’t a matter of forgiveness and justice. Omar Khadr did nothing. He didn’t toss the grenade, there’s no evidence he had gun, there’s no evidence he was trained in the Al Queda camp, and a 25-minute “incriminating” video has about a 30 second shot of him clipping cords and tossing them onto an area commanded by two other people who were talking about the assembly, plus about another 30 seconds of an evening scene where he may have buried and IED by the side of the road. It’s evident the IED was intended to take out a military vehicle. Genuis may not like it, but that’s not terrorism. That’s war.