Under what treaty would Khadr come home? - Macleans.ca

Under what treaty would Khadr come home?

Many questions follow Omar Khadr’s guilty plea


News that Omar Khadr pleaded guilty this morning to war-crimes charges before a U.S. military tribunal comes with reports that, after serving another year in Guantanamo Bay, he will be allowed to apply to spend the rest of an eight-year term in a Canadian prison.

There are many questions left to be answered about the details of the plea bargain and the stance of the Canadian government on this disturbing case. But here’s one that springs to mind: Under what treaty would Khadr be repatriated to serve out a sentence in Canada?

I just looked up the “Treaty between Canada and the United States of America on the execution of penal sentences.” It stipulates the circumstances when Canadians convicted of crimes in the U.S. can apply to serve time in Canada (and vice versa). Article II of the treaty specifies that it does not apply if the offence is “solely against the military laws of a Party.”

It seems to me the whole point of setting up the dubious tribunals system at Guantanamo was to make sure Khadr, and others held at the camp, were tried in some sort of military judicial setting, and not in a regular U.S. court changed with criminal offences. So this particular treaty, which applies specifically to criminal convictions and expressly not to military ones, doesn’t seem to cover his case.

Any lawyers out there who can point to another treaty that does apply, or who can show how this one might be interpreted in such as way that it might be sufficient to allow for Khadr’s return?


Under what treaty would Khadr come home?

  1. I'm not sure the treaty cited above would be applicable in this situation, as it defines "Offender" as some one who is convicted "in the territory of either Party". Would Guantanemo be considered "in the territory" of the United States? If not, Canada and the US would't bee bound by the treaty.

  2. I would guess the government has another issue, which is they would no doubt like to ensure that Khadr serves the entire sentence. Are there existing provisions to do that, perhaps through the Anti-terrorism Act?

    • I had the same thought. Given some of the craziness that has happened with our parole board in the past I can understand why the Conservatives would not want him anywhere near the Canadian correctional system.

      Given Khadr's admission of guilt and of being a member of Al Qaeda and of conspiring with Osama Bin Laden, is there any possibility that Khadr could somehow be declared a dangerous offender & held indefinitely?

      • He was 15 years old. At that age, you were wacking off non-stop. Does that mean you should be labeled a dangerous sex offender now?

        • Yeah but it was in your mouth Kee-raist so that doesn't count.

      • Splendid idea.

  3. A friend who deals with youth justice in Canada told me on the weekend that the 8 years served by Khadr (x 2 for pre-sentencing time served = 16 years served) means he would normally, in Canada, already have served more than a normal sentence for a homicide committed by a juvenile. So he would have a good case to be released on arrival.

    • There is no more 2 for 1 which is a great thing. We are not just talking about a homicide here. Khadr took up arms as a terrorist against his own country therefore committing TREASON. He killed and killed an allied soldier. I have no sympathy for Omar Khadr and hope he spends a long time in prison. Better yet, let him out and give him a job at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

  4. This should be appended to every media report on the Khadr kangaroo trial.

    • By the freely given testimony of his family Khadr fought as a mercenary in a foreign war and violated the Geneva Conventions. Why is he not being extradited to stand trial in Canada?

      • Because all of the evidence is totally inadmissible regarding the most serious charges. The witnesses lied about key elements of the story, and the confession was almost certainly obtained under duress (and good luck getting testimony to that issue).

        Given that he was a minor, and the conditions he's been held in, and that nobody in Canada seems interested in arguing that he broke Canadian law, then all you have is that he suited up for Al Qaeda…and he's more than paid for that.

      • Oh I would absolutely support a trial for Khadr in Canada or the US, civilian or military. The "process" he's been stuck in for 8 years has none of the transparency, fairness or checks and balances of a proper trial.

        Unlike Stephen Harper, I believe that our system of justice is capable of properly handling even "serious" charges like those faced by Khadr.

        • If Canada can handle home-grown terrorists plotting to blow up buildings and people in Toronto and Ottawa … if we can try violent biker gangs who have actually killed police, judges and corrections officers … if we can deal with testimony from confidential, undercover and intelligence sources … if we can do all of this without setting fire to our most basic principles of justice … then yes, Canada can deal with Khadr.

          Harper cannot, it seems. He reduces us. This disgusts me.

  5. If one country wants to get rid of a prisoner, and the other country doesn't mind taking him, then you do not need a treaty.

    The treaty would only apply, I believe, if one country said to the other country, "you guys HAVE to take him."

    • Well, no, there would still have to be some legal basis on which he could be detained in a Canadian court. The government can't simply imprison people because it chooses to.

      • Security certificates come very close to that; however, they can't be applied to Canadian citizens, and Khadr is still one.

  6. It's a travesty that in order to be rescued from legal limbo Khadr has to stand up and pretend he is pleading freely when it's perfectly obvious that the absence of an opportunity to get a fair trial is what has coerced the plea. Even more odious is that he has to agree to never take legal action against the United States. Clearly the US government knows what it's doing is wrong or it wouldn't stipulate that condition.

    The largest spy and security appartus ever created on earth can't catch Osama bin Laden so they scapegoated a misguided teenager instead. And the Canadian government cheers it on because this fits with their authoritarian notions of crime and punishment, but somehow fails to trigger their pseudo interest in freedom from government intervention. Apparently answering census questions is intrusive but torture, detention and kangaroo trials for children are justice. Disgusting.

  7. Is there a "My Country has Done Nothing to be Ashamed of .. wink,wink,nudge,nudge" treaty ?

  8. Abolish dual citizenship and re-instate treason as a criminal offence. Being a member of a terrorist group is treason. The Charter has made Canada a soft overly politically correct country open to ridicule. Bring the equal rights pendulum back to neutral!

    • When men were men….and sheep were nervous……

    • Treason is still in the Criminal Code, is it not? I think a case could theoretically be made, though the child soldier element certainly complicates things…

      • Under UN law, he was not a child soldier, a year over the age criteria, when he did the crime. It is just like what happened to his father. There were people who cried to have him repatriated back to Canada while he was serving time in Pakistan prison, now look what happens. I wonder if it is possible to deport him (to Egypt) for violating his oath of citizenship?

    • And what other country is Omar Khadr a citizen of?

      • Egypt.

  9. Section 46 of the Criminal Code encompasses both Treason and High Treason. It is still an offence, and holding dual citizenship would not be a defence, nor would the age of the offender (if over 11) although it would affect sentence.

  10. Just let him rot in US jail. Canada does not need anymore citizens of conveninece – hapily receiving welfare but being full of
    hate towards everything what Canada represents.

    • I was about to say the same thing about you. Except I think an extrajudicial firing squad is more like your ticket.

  11. Security. Certificate.

  12. Khadr killed and terrorized people in Afghanistan, he must be sent there for trial by Afghans and for Afghans.