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The tenth annual report on Canada's Program on Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes, hereafter referred to as the War Crimes Program, summarizes the activities of the War Crimes Program from April 1, 2006 to March 31, 2007. This report also reflects on the achievements and trends of the past decade. Canada's War Crimes Program has evolved over the years but its primary goal remains unchanged: to deny safe haven in Canada to war criminals, that is, individuals who may have been either directly involved or complicit in the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.
The program partners are the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The Program Coordination and Operations Committee develops policy, coordinates operations and assesses cases under the direction of the War Crimes Program Steering Committee, composed of senior managers from each of the partner departments/agencies.
The February 2005 budget renewed funding for the War Crimes Program until the 2009-2010 fiscal year. The funding remains at the 1998 level of $15.6 million per year. In light of this, the program partners are continuing to target their efforts on the most crucial and cost-effective activities to support program objectives, and have developed a Results-based Management and Accountability Framework (RMAF). The RMAF lists expected results and establishes a monitoring and evaluation strategy. Over 2007 and 2008, the partners will undertake a program evaluation to help improve the program.
The most effective measure to ensure that Canada is not a safe haven for suspected perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide is their early detection and subsequent prevention of entry into Canada. This measure is legislated in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). Under the IRPA, CIC visa officers are responsible for the selection of immigrants and temporary residents to ensure that they are not in violation of human or international rights. The CBSA provides visa officers with training, screening aids, intelligence and analysis. For complex cases, the War Crimes Program relies on legal advice and litigation support from the DOJ and investigative assistance from the RCMP.
If persons suspected of involvement in atrocities do arrive in Canada or are found to be living in Canada, the program partners assess the situation to determine the most appropriate remedy. Remedies include the following: criminal proceedings jointly administered by the DOJ and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) based on investigations conducted by the RCMP under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act; enforcement of the IRPA led by the CBSA, including denial of access to and exclusion from refugee protection and deportation; citizenship revocation led by CIC and the DOJ; and extradition to foreign states and surrender to international tribunals under the Extradition Act, led by the DOJ.
The DOJ also deals with litigation arising from any of these activities, such as judicial reviews of decisions under the IRPA or citizenship revocation proceedings. Some litigation proceedings are extremely complex and may reach the Supreme Court of Canada.
On the international stage, Canada plays a leadership role in global efforts to hold perpetrators of human rights abuses accountable for their crimes through cooperation with other countries and international tribunals. Because of its coordinated approach and its capacity to apply a range of legislative remedies, the War Crimes Program has become a model for other countries.
For more information on the program and previous annual reports, please refer to the War Crimes Program's Web site at www.justice.gc.ca.
In the 1980s, the DOJ and the RCMP created specialized war crimes sections to investigate allegations related to war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the Second World War. In 1998, the War Crimes Program was created as an interdepartmental initiative between CIC, the DOJ and the RCMP, marking a significant development in the country's battle against impunity. The CBSA became a partner in the program upon its inception in December 2003. The CBSA deals only with modern cases.
With the creation of the program and the implementation of stronger legislation in this field, Canada quickly assumed a leadership role in global efforts to hold war criminals accountable for their crimes. Daniel Préfontaine, President of the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy, commends the War Crimes Program as "a most positive and successful Canadian contribution to the international community's efforts to bring to justice those perpetrators of heinous crimes against humanity." He adds, "Canada has enacted legislation and put in place a highly effective team to ensure an effective and timely response to investigating and prosecuting war criminals within its jurisdiction."
Ezat Mossallanejad of the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture has described Canada's key role in negotiations leading to the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as follows:
[ 1 ]"Canada took practical steps and contributed to a United Nations trust fund and to NGOs (non-governmental organizations), enabling poor countries to participate in the negotiations that led to the adoption of the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court (ICC). Canada signed this important document on December 18, 1998, and introduced the new Act to implement the International Criminal Court on December 10, 1999. On June 29, 2000, Canada became the first country in the world that incorporated the Rome Statute for the ICC through its comprehensive Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act. The adoption of this Act paved the way for Canada to ratify the Rome Statute on July 7, 2000. Canada is among the few countries in the world that has legally accepted universal jurisdiction in the prosecution of perpetrators of torture, war crimes and crimes against humanity."
Canada's unique and comprehensive approach to dealing with allegations of war crimes has become a model for other countries, as noted by John Ralston, Executive Director of the Institute for International Criminal Investigations in The Hague:
"One of the international trends in the investigation of war crimes and other international crimes is the establishment of national units to pursue perpetrators. Having founded its national unit over 10 years ago, Canada has shown itself to be a prescient leader of this global development, taking an integrated approach which exploits the capabilities of all of the stakeholders in the process."
Eli M. Rosenbaum, Director of the Office of Special Investigations in the United States Department of Justice, acknowledges Canada's influence on the U.S. war crimes program:
"In building its own program to take legal action against perpetrators of post-World War II human rights violations, the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Special Investigations (OSI) has closely studied the model of Canada's War Crimes Program. Canadian officials have been most generous in sharing information about techniques developed and lessons learned in the course of building a comprehensive, multi-agency program to deny safe haven to the perpetrators of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Indeed, Canada is one of the leaders in the drive to promote greater international law enforcement cooperation in the effort to bring such human rights violators to justice."
Several other countries visited Canada to consult with the program partners before or while setting up their own war crimes units. These include Australia, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom. Birgitte Vestberg, Director of Denmark's Special International Crimes Office (SICO), says that SICO was established in 2002 to prevent Denmark from "becoming a safe haven for perpetrators who had committed serious crimes abroad before taking up residence in Denmark. Canada's War Crimes Program inspired the Danish government to establish SICO, and the staff of the program provided guidance on staffing, good practices and contact points in far away jurisdictions." She refers to continuing cooperation and valuable information sharing through special investigations and meetings, "last but not least at the INTERPOL Conference hosted by Canada in June 2007."
The European Union has set up a network of war crimes experts from each member country to share information on the investigation and prosecution of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. Although it is a European forum, Tiina Kangas-Alku, an expert with the Council of the European Union, states that the network regularly invites Canada to attend its meetings because of its international reputation, adding that "Canadians' valuable expertise and willingness to share information on war crimes investigations has been widely noted in Europe and around the world."
In addition, Canadian case law has had an international infl uence. In 2003, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) issued its Guidelines on International Protection: Application of the Exclusion Clauses: Article 1F of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and accompanying background note. These guidelines contain several references to Canadian judicial decisions, notably the concept of complicity described in the Federal Court of Canada decision in Ramirez v. Canada (Minister of Employment and Immigration),  2 FC 317 (CA). Footnote 60 of the background note quotes the Court's view that "where an organization is principally directed to a limited, brutal purpose, such as a secret police activity, mere membership may by necessity involve personal and knowing participation in persecutorial acts." Canadian courts had been following this approach as established in Canadian jurisprudence in 1992, but after the UNHCR adopted this analysis in 2003, it has been applied more widely, both by international organizations and in other countries, as well as in Canadian cases.
While the intent of the program is to allow partners to choose from a range of complementary remedies to pursue in order to ensure that Canada is not a safe haven to perpetrators of human and international rights violations, partners reserve criminal investigation and prosecution, the most expensive options, to a fraction of the cases. In turn, partners diligently seek more cost-effective immigration processes such as early detection and prevention of entry into Canada to ensure that war criminals do not enter the country.
Jane Stoyles of the Canadian Centre for International Justice voices the need for more criminal prosecutions while recognizing the achievements of the program:
"Over the past decade, Canada has been a world leader in the development of international standards and mechanisms to seek justice in the face of genocide, war crimes and other atrocities. We have a great potential to continue to play a leadership role, but only if we begin to fulfill our commitment to support these mechanisms with trials at the national level. The opening this year of the first criminal case using Canada's Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act was a very welcome development, but unfortunately Canada has continued to emphasize the use of deportation and other immigration remedies when alleged war criminals and human rights abusers are present in Canada. We need to see the political commitment, with the accompanying budget, to do much more, both in terms of domestic prosecutions and in the negotiation of a justice alternative elsewhere, if we want to ensure that there is no safe haven for those who plan and carry out these crimes."
Canada's War Crimes Program has achieved many successes and earned international praise, and it will continue to build on its success.
Note: Some footnotes provide information on activities that have occurred after the 2006–2007 fiscal year framework, which is the focus of this annual report.
The most effective way to deny safe haven to people involved or complicit in war crimes or crimes against humanity is to prevent them from coming to Canada. CIC visa officers at Canadian missions abroad are the first line of defence in preventing war criminals from reaching Canada. Visa officers must screen and make decisions on a high volume of applications for permanent and temporary residence while providing timely processing and quality service. Visa officers are also responsible for reporting, identifying and documenting atrocities and refugee crises.
The CBSA's War Crimes Section in Ottawa provides training, research and analytical support to help visa officers identify persons who may have been involved in the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. Applications that raise war crime concerns are referred to the CBSA's War Crimes Section. The CBSA's analysts evaluate such cases using intelligence and research on country situations, regimes and organizations responsible for war crimes or crimes against humanity to aid in identifying possible inadmissibility. In examining the case, the analysts may ask the visa office to obtain further details or consult in-house researchers for more information.
The CBSA analysts then provide the visa office with an assessment and recommendation for inadmissibility based on war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. They also post lookouts in CIC's and the CBSA's computer systems to prevent the individual from attempting to enter Canada. In cases involving judicial review, visa officers rely on the DOJ for legal advice and litigation support.
In the 2006–2007 fiscal year, visa officials abroad investigated a total of 2,029 cases of individuals for possible war crimes or crimes against humanity, down 33% from the previous fiscal year's total of 3,024. This difference is due mainly to a similar drop in the number of temporary resident (visitor, student and temporary worker) visa applications reviewed for possible war crimes, from 2,879 last fiscal year to 1,883 this fiscal year. Last fiscal year's higher number of temporary resident applications was something of an anomaly, in that previous fiscal year totals were much closer to this fiscal year's total. The number of permanent resident visa cases investigated for possible war crimes remained constant, at 146, compared with 145 in 2005–2006.
During the 2006–2007 fiscal year, a total of 361 persons were prevented from coming to Canada because of possible involvement in war crimes or crimes against humanity. This includes those refused specifically for involvement or complicity in war crimes or crimes against humanity, those who withdrew when asked for more information and those who were suspected of war crimes or crimes against humanity but in the end were refused for other reasons.
The number of temporary resident visa applications refused remained the same as in 2005–2006, at 290, for a refusal rate of 15.4 percent, compared with 10 percent in 2005–2006. Visa officers refused 41 of these applications without referral to the CBSA. During the reporting period, 71 permanent resident applicants were refused visas or were withdrawn after screening for war crimes for a refusal rate of 48.6 percent, only slightly less than in 2005–2006.
The CBSA's war crimes analysts review permanent resident cases referred by visa offices and by offices in Canada. During the 2006-2007 fiscal year, the War Crimes Section received a total of 207 permanent resident cases and provided assessments on 146 referrals from visa offices abroad and 3 referrals in Canada. In 124 cases, the War Crimes Section provided a favourable recommendation, concluding that there was no involvement in war crimes or crimes against humanity. It should be noted that the CBSA's assessment in overseas cases is not the same as the final decision, which is always made by CIC visa officers.
The CBSA also provides 24-hour telephone support to visa offices and field offices in Canada, which often have questions when dealing with the arrival of persons from countries with war crimes concerns or who are subjects of computer lookouts. This telephone support is also available to other law enforcement agencies in Canada.
Not reflected in the numbers is the time spent by the CBSA on the pre-screening of delegates coming to Canada on official visits or to attend international conferences and events in Canada, usually at the request of other government departments and agencies.
CBSA researchers provide support and intelligence not only internally, but also to national and international partners and international criminal tribunals. During the 2006–2007 fiscal year, CBSA researchers responded to 1,386 requests for information on cases of alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity. They also completed 15 research products, including screening aids, quick guides and chronologies, and are continuing to work on another 8 products.
The CBSA also produces the Modern War Crimes News Bulletin, a weekly global media summary newsletter on issues related to war crimes and crimes against humanity, which is distributed widely within Canada and to partners overseas, including other countries and international criminal tribunals.
When a suspected war criminal enters Canada or is already living in Canada, a number of enforcement measures may be used, including exclusion from refugee status, findings of inadmissibility followed by deportation, extradition to foreign states, surrender to international tribunals, criminal investigation and prosecution, and the revocation of citizenship. This section deals mainly with modern cases and describes work on cases arising from the Second World War towards the end of this report.
A person who makes a claim for refugee protection in Canada may have a background suggesting possible involvement in war crimes. CBSA field officers investigate such cases, often with guidance from the War Crimes Section in Ottawa or specialized regional offices. The CBSA may intervene at the refugee hearing before the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) of Canada to seek the individual's exclusion from the definition of a Convention refugee. [ 2 ]
In 2006-2007, CBSA officials investigated 1,395 refugee claimant cases and filed 82 interventions at refugee hearings in cases involving war crime allegations, significantly down from 237 interventions the previous fiscal year. There are a number of reasons for this drop in interventions, including the safe third country agreement, fewer referrals from the IRB, and changes in source countries. For example, there have been more arrivals from Mexico and fewer from Burundi or Colombia. Some regions have had to deal with staff turnover or understaffing, and with no budget increase in 10 years, had to focus their priorities and concentrate on the most serious cases, which are most likely to succeed. In some cases, officials have redefined the criteria for inclusion in the war crimes inventory; for example, individuals may be reported for security concerns rather than war crimes.
During the 2006–2007 fiscal year, RPD decisions on CBSA interventions included 31 exclusions from refugee protection on the grounds of war crimes or crimes against humanity, 36 refusals for reasons other than exclusion for war crimes and 28 decisions to grant refugee protection. In another 11 cases, the claimant was considered to have withdrawn or abandoned the claim for protection.
These decisions resulted from interventions that were filed in previous years as well as in 2006-2007 since refugee hearings in complex cases, such as those involving war crimes, do not necessarily open and conclude in the same year.
When allegations of war crimes or crimes against humanity are made against persons in Canada who are not refugee claimants, the CBSA refers these cases to admissibility hearings before the IRB Immigration Division. If refugee claimant cases are referred to admissibility hearings, the refugee claim is suspended pending the decision. During the 2006–2007 fiscal year, 11 admissibility hearings were opened for non-refugee claimants and 12 for refugee claimants. Four refugee claimants and three non-refugee claimants were found inadmissible for war crimes or crimes against humanity and were ordered deported. Two refugee claimants were found not to be inadmissible based on war crimes or crimes against humanity. The remaining cases are pending decision.
The inventory of cases still under investigation on March 31, 2007, doubled during the 2006–2007 fiscal year to 691 refugee claimant cases, from 346 a year earlier. However, as can be seen in Appendix 3, the investigations inventory has fluctuated from year to year. For example, in 2004-2005, the number of cases still under investigation was 663. Some of the reasons for this ebb and flow are the same as the reasons for the drop in interventions, such as changes in countries of origin and staffing issues. Complex cases require more time and resources. Investigations may need more than one year to complete. During the 2006–2007 fiscal year, the number of non-refugee claimant cases under investigation dropped slightly from 27 to 23.
Persons excluded from refugee status or otherwise found inadmissible for war crimes or crimes against humanity can be deported after they have exhausted all legal avenues and CIC officials have conducted a pre-removal risk assessment on non-refugees. Persons whose citizenship has been revoked can also be subject to deportation. During the 2006–2007 fiscal year, the CBSA removed 35 persons found to have been involved in war crimes or crimes against humanity. At the end of March 2007, the CBSA had an inventory of 59 enforceable removal orders. In addition, another 58 removal orders could not actually be carried out because of impediments such as a stay issued by a court or a lack of travel documents, while another 23 were awaiting a pre-removal risk assessment.
A warrant for arrest is issued when a person does not report for removal or other immigration proceedings, such as an admissibility hearing. In 2006–2007, 29 new warrants were issued. The warrant is considered executed when the person is arrested or when the person's departure from Canada is confirmed. During this reporting period, 23 warrants were executed. Of the warrants executed, 12 were new warrants issued and executed during the same year, and 11 had been issued in previous years.
Of the 23 warrants executed, 16 resulted in confirmed departures: the persons were removed or the CBSA had confirmation that the persons were living in another country. Of the others, one was released on terms and conditions and cash bond to report for removal, and another pending removal arrangements. Two were detained pending the issuance of travel documents and the finalization of removal arrangements, two were released on terms and conditions pending a pre-removal risk assessment, and one was released pending an admissibility hearing.
The fiscal year ended with an inventory of 162 outstanding warrants. Of these cases, 62 percent of the individuals were excluded from refugee protection or found inadmissible because of involvement or complicity in war crimes or crimes against humanity, while 38 percent were suspected of such involvement but did not appear for their hearings.
CIC has 18 active modern-day war crimes cases to review for possible revocation of citizenship. One of these cases is ready for recommendation to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. [ 3 ]CIC and the DOJ work closely together in citizenship revocation cases.
The RCMP War Crimes Section, composed of 11 full-time investigators, and the DOJ Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section work together to assess allegations referred for criminal investigation under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act. The Guiding Principles agreement signed in 2004 provides a basis for cooperation in the conduct of criminal investigations.
The RCMP is responsible for criminal investigations, with legal and research support from the DOJ, and targets individuals in Canada alleged to have participated in crimes against humanity, war crimes or genocide before their arrival in Canada. The RCMP responds to allegations from witnesses, foreign governments, community groups, non-governmental organizations and open source information.
RCMP investigators face challenges such as distant travel, negotiations with foreign governments, lapse of time and linguistic barriers. They must rely on witness testimonies from victims who are often difficult to locate and reluctant to speak to investigators. RCMP investigators carry out witness interview trips with the assistance of DOJ officials who liaise with representatives from foreign governments to secure cooperation in accordance with bilateral agreements.
There has been a growing increase in the number of such cases brought to the attention of the RCMP. During this reporting period, RCMP investigators conducted 12 investigative missions requiring travel to Europe, South America and Africa. In addition, investigators travelled to several Canadian cities. These investigative missions advanced criminal investigations in approximately 20 cases, which are now at various stages of completion.
The DOJ and the RCMP review the results of these investigations to decide whether to pursue criminal prosecution. Under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, the Attorney General of Canada must consent to charges before they are laid. The DOJ and the PPSC are responsible for bringing this matter forward under the Act.
In some cases, the partners determine that it would be more appropriate to pursue proceedings under the IRPA or the Citizenship Act, in which case the RCMP and the DOJ provide the results of their investigations to the CBSA or CIC.
On October 19, 2005, Desiré Munyaneza, a Rwandan national, was arrested for his alleged participation in the events in the region of Butare in Rwanda between April 1, 1994, and July 31, 1994. In January and February 2007, the Court, prosecutors and counsel for the defendant travelled to Rwanda for a rogatory commission to hear testimony from witnesses who could not come to Canada for the trial. The trial began in March 2007 in Montréal. (See case summary in Appendix 1.)
The program partners have continued to examine allegations of modern war crimes, including referrals from CIC and the CBSA and complaints received from the public, other countries and international institutions, to determine whether they should be referred for criminal investigation. In order for an allegation to be added o the RCMP/DOJ inventory, among other considerations, the allegation must disclose personal involvement or command responsibility, and the evidence pertaining to the allegation must be corroborated and obtainable in a reasonable and rapid fashion. During the 2006-2007 fiscal year, the inventory increased slightly to 62, with 8 new files added and only 3 closed.
The DOJ is continuing to handle allegations of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide related to the Second World War, with the assistance of RCMP investigators.
In Second World War cases, the Government of Canada has several legal remedies at its disposal: criminal prosecution under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act or civil proceedings under the IRPA or the Citizenship Act. Given the passage of time, the age and availability of witnesses, and the challenges of gathering evidence, most of these cases proceed by way of civil proceedings.
Since the Government of Canada began looking at Second World War cases, the DOJ has opened and examined over 1,800 files. As of March 31, 2007, 20 Second World War files were under active investigation and 160 initial allegations related to the Second World War were being examined. During 2006-2007, the DOJ completed investigations and closed 145 files. Files have been concluded either because the individuals never entered Canada, have left Canada or have since passed away, or because of a lack of evidence to justify pursuing legal action. The DOJ will assess with diligence the remaining files in its Second World War inventory to ensure that all serious allegations are investigated before the conclusion of the Nazi war crimes cases in the coming years.
The Government of Canada has taken action in 21 Second World War related cases. Of these, 14 were citizenship revocation cases before the Federal Court of Canada, 5 were deportation matters, and 2 cases were revocation proceedings that were not contested by the individuals in question. Overall, 5 individuals have had their citizenship revoked (Bogutin, Kisluk, Csatary, Maciukas, and Luitjens)[ 4 ] and 4 individuals were deported or left Canada voluntarily (Csatary, Maciukas, Luitjens and Kalejs). In 2 cases (Skomatczuk and Furman), the Federal Court of Canada determined that the individuals obtained their status in Canada through fraud or material misrepresentation related to their activities during the Second World War.
At the end of this reporting period, Federal Court proceedings in the case of Michael Seifert had been concluded with the decision pending. See Appendix 1.
In 1999, the Extradition Act was amended to allow Canada to enter into agreements for extradition on a case-by-case basis and to allow for surrender to international tribunals. Requests for extradition or surrender are not made public unless the Attorney General of Canada gives the authority to proceed.
In one action currently before the court, Italy requested the extradition of Michael Seifert, who was convicted in absentia by an Italian military tribunal in November 2000 for various crimes committed during the Second World War. Refer to the section titled "Citizenship revocation proceedings related to the Second World War" in Appendix 1 for more details.
The War Crimes Program plays a leading role in international efforts to bring war criminals to justice. Mutual legal assistance and exchanges of information with other countries and international bodies are an essential part of the global battle against impunity. Reciprocal relationships with international tribunals and other countries enable the sharing of resources, expertise, information, research and logistical support.
Program partners work closely with other countries on war crimes issues. For example, Mona Ragheb, Chief of the Human Rights Law Division in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, praises Canada's program partners for their cooperation on numerous issues. "In each case, we have been impressed with the professionalism of the program and the willingness of the war crimes team to work with its fellow law enforcement partners. In building our program, we have utilized many of the same tools that Canada's War Crimes Program has used so successfully."
The partners provide assistance, information and legal and investigative support to the international criminal tribunals for Rwanda (ICTR) and the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia and the ICC. All of the partners are represented in the Interdepartmental Working Group for the international tribunals, which examines the tribunals' requests for assistance from Canada. They also work with the DOJ's International Assistance Group and the Department of National Defence to support the international tribunals. The International Assistance Group reviews requests relating to war crimes or crimes against humanity for mutual legal assistance from foreign governments, international tribunals and the ICC.
The RCMP has a close reciprocal relationship with the international criminal tribunals sharing information and resources. During the reporting period, ICTR justice officials visited Canada and the ICTY assisted RCMP investigators working in the former Yugoslavia. DOJ counsel provided important legal support to the international criminal tribunals in Sierra Leone, Cambodia and Rwanda. Canada is the fourth largest contributor to the SCSL.
RCMP investigators and DOJ counsel attended an ICC conference in The Hague focusing on war crimes investigation tools and methods. The RCMP also provides assistance to foreign law enforcement agencies that travel to Canada to conduct investigations.
In March 2007, a delegation of all four partners visited Zagreb, Croatia, for a meeting on visa issues. At the end of the fiscal year, the RCMP, with the assistance of the DOJ, was preparing to host the 3rd International Expert Meeting on Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in Ottawa in June 2007.
CIC visa officers abroad are responsible for reporting and liaison on global migration, country situations and emerging trends, and have developed ongoing relationships with host countries, other diplomatic missions, international organizations and international criminal tribunals. This is particularly true of those in Geneva, Brussels and Washington, where international meetings are held to discuss issues related to migration and human rights.
DOJ counsel have contributed to the development of international criminal law by engaging in numerous outreach activities such as attending and speaking at conferences, publishing articles in law journals, and giving guest lectures and seminars at universities both in Canada and abroad, including at the University of Ottawa, the University of Western Ontario, Oxford University and the Galway Human Rights Center. This further illustrates how the War Crimes Program serves as a model for partner countries. DOJ officials also visited Honduras to sign a memorandum of understanding to facilitate investigations involving suspects in Canada implicated in the commission of war crimes or crimes against humanity in Honduras.
Program partners recognize the benefits of international cooperation and outreach in the maintenance of its objective to fight impunity and the importance of spreading this message on a global scale.
Canada has proven to be a pioneer in the development of a world-class war crimes program. Its coordinated approach and initiative in the realm of international cooperation and outreach has earned the War Crimes Program acclaim in the global community. Strong legislation reflects the Government of Canada's determination to hold suspected perpetrators of war crimes accountable for their actions. Continued funding pressures require that the War Crimes Program continue to focus on the most cost-effective measures to deny safe haven to war criminals in Canada, particularly through their early detection and the prevention of their entry into the country. The RMAF and upcoming Evaluation in 2008 will assist program partners to maximize the available resources in a transparent manner.
Note: Names are given only in cases that have been the subject of public attention.
Munyaneza, Desiré: On October 19, 2005, Mr. Munyaneza, a Rwandan national, was arrested in Montréal for his alleged activities relating to the Rwandan genocide in the region of Butare in Rwanda in 1994. Mr. Munyaneza was charged with two counts of genocide, two counts of crimes against humanity and three counts of war crimes pursuant to the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.
In November 2005 the Quebec Superior Court issued an order of non-disclosure of the evidence and a ban on the publication and diffusion of the names of witnesses. In January and February 2007, the Court, prosecutors and counsel for the defendant travelled to Kigali, Rwanda, to hear the evidence of witnesses who were unable to come to Canada to testify. On March 22, 2007, the Court issued a further order against the publication of the names of the first seven witnesses, and permitting those witnesses to testify behind a screen out of the sight of the public. The trial began in Montréal on March 26, 2007, with testimony from the first witness. [ 5 ]
A Bosnian national of Serbian ethnicity applied for a temporary resident visa to visit his son in Canada and the case was referred to CBSA analysts in May 2006. During the conflict in Bosnia, the applicant was a conscript in charge of communications for a unit of the Army of the Republika Srpska, based in a northern town in Bosnia. The CBSA provided the visa office with information regarding the forced displacement of ethnic Croatians in the town at the hands of Serbian forces. The visa officer questioned the applicant further about his possible complicity in the widespread and systematic displacement of civilians committed by Serbian forces in the area. The applicant was extremely evasive when confronted with the information and finally conceded that he had heard of some "injuries" in the area. In June 2006, the visa officer refused the application, concluding that the applicant was complicit in crimes against humanity and therefore inadmissible.
In May 2006, a former Yugoslavian military officer applied to visit Canada. The visa office in Belgrade referred the case to CBSA analysts. The applicant had been an officer for many years in the Yugoslavian military, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, which he held from July 1985 to December 1998. Immigration legislation includes senior military officers in the inadmissible category of senior officials of a regime designated as having engaged in gross human rights violations, war crimes or crimes against humanity. The applicant was subsequently refused since he was a senior military officer in a designated regime.
The commissioner of police in Zimbabwe, as well as the senior assistant commissioner and the assistant commissioner of police applied to attend an international police conference in Vancouver in 2006. Credible research shows that the police force in Zimbabwe has often been implicated in widespread and systematic human rights violations including torture, assault and arbitrary detention. The police in that country have used excessive force in dealing with public demonstrations, opposition leaders, in arresting women and children during a peaceful protest in 2005, in the destruction of property and in the recent forced evictions of 700,000 residents of informal settlements. The three applicants were refused as they were found to be complicit in serious human rights abuses as described in the IRPA.
A citizen of China submitted an investor application in Beijing in 2003 and followed up with more information in 2005. He had worked for the Public Security Bureau in senior positions at a prison farm and a labour camp. At his interview, he admitted to knowledge of violence against prisoners or suspects, but claimed that being a senior officer from witnessing violence or torture carried out by officers under his supervision. He said that he did not hear any complaints during his years of service. He concluded his interview by stating that whatever happened during his years of service as a police officer did not matter, because it was in the past and he was now a businessman. In May 2006, the case was referred to the CBSA's War Crimes Section, which provided an unfavourable recommendation. The application was refused in March 2007 for inadmissibility based on complicity in crimes against humanity.
A citizen of Haiti, who was a permanent resident of the United States, arrived in Canada in 2005 as a visitor. He stated that he had been one of the founding members of the Front for the Advancement of Haiti (FRAPH), a paramilitary group linked to the Cédras regime, which was responsible for serious human rights violations in Haiti between 1992 and 1994. He denied that this movement committed human rights violations, claiming that the documentary evidence of violations was false. He was reported as inadmissible based on crimes against humanity and was referred to a hearing of the Immigration Division of the IRB. A member of the division concluded that he was inadmissible for complicity in crimes against humanity as an influential member of the FRAPH, which had terrorized the Haitian people between 1992 and 1994 and was responsible for torture, rape, extrajudicial executions and massacres. As a result, he was deported to Haiti in September 2006.
A citizen of Pakistan was a Mohajir, a term applied to Muslims who left India for Pakistan at the time of partition. From 1985 to 1992, he was active in the student wing of the Mohajir Qaumi Movement, in charge of a section of the party in his neighbourhood in Karachi. In 2002, he went to the United States, and in 2003, he made a refugee claim at the Canadian border. The CBSA intervened in his refugee hearing in Montréal to argue for his exclusion. The RPD member excluded him from refugee protection, owing to the duration of his participation and his responsibilities in an organization that was responsible for terrorist acts and crimes against humanity. He was deported to the United States in February 2007.
A Palestinian national made a refugee claim upon arrival in Canada in 2004. The Minister of Public Safety Canada indicated the intent to intervene at the refugee hearing. The claimant had served as a Second Lieutenant in the Palestinian Authority from 1997 to 2001, and from 1998 to 2001, as a military judge in the Palestinian Authority state security military courts. The role of the military court was to try police and security force personnel as well as civilians engaged in crimes against security forces. Documentation clearly established the systematic use of murder, torture and imprisonment in violation of international law within the military court system. The claimant testifi ed that most of the cases before him relied on confessions as evidence, at least one quarter of which were obtained through coercion, including extortion, intimidation, sleep deprivation and torture. On September 12, 2006, the RPD found that the client was complicit in widespread and systematic crimes against humanity within the Palestinian military court system and was therefore excluded from refugee protection. This case was appealed to the Federal Court of Canada and was dismissed.
A citizen of Nigeria made a refugee claim on arrival in Toronto in 2001 and later moved to Alberta. He admitted to being a founder and leader of the Bakassi Boys of Nigeria, a ruthless vigilante group responsible for violence and serious human rights abuses, including arbitrary detentions, torture and summary executions.
CBSA officials in Toronto intervened in the refugee hearing, and in November 2005, the client was excluded for crimes against humanity as described in the Refugee Convention. [ 6 ] After a negative pre-removal risk assessment, he was arrested in February 2007 by CBSA officials in Edmonton and deported on March 5, 2007.
A citizen of Angola received a visa in July 2005 to visit Canada for a vacation and made a refugee claim in September 2005. He based his claim on his membership in the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC). The FLEC is an armed rebel group that committed human rights violations. It is recognized as an organization that is directed to a limited and brutal purpose. As such, CBSA officials intervened to argue that the claimant should be excluded for crimes against humanity. On March 9, 2007, the RPD excluded the client from Convention refugee protection for crimes against humanity due to his membership in the FLEC.
Seifert, Michael: The Minister of Citizenship and Immigration commenced proceedings to revoke Mr. Seifert's citizenship in the Federal Court of Canada on November 13, 2001. The hearing concluded on September 15, 2006, with the Judge reserving his decision. [ 7 ]
In November 2000, an Italian military tribunal found Michael Seifert guilty, in absentia, of various crimes committed while he was a guard at a German police transit camp in northern Italy. At Italy's request, the Canadian government also commenced extradition proceedings against Mr. Seifert. On December 28, 2005, the Minister of Justice ordered Mr. Seifert's surrender to Italy. Mr. Seifert appealed his extradition to Italy before the B.C. Court of Appeal.[ 8 ]
Skomatczuk, Jura: On August 17, 2006, following a trial combined with that of Josef Furman, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that Mr. Skomatczuk had obtained his Canadian citizenship through fraud or material misrepresentation. The Court found that he had hidden his wartime activities from Canadian offi cials when he was lawfully admitted to Canada in 1952, and that he served as a guard in the German concentration camp system after training at the SS Trawniki training camp in 1943. Based on the Federal Court decision, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration may consider whether to recommend revocation of Mr. Skomatczuk's citizenship to the Governor General in Council. If citizenship is revoked, deportation proceedings may be considered.
Furman, Josef: On August 17, 2006, following a trial combined with that of Jura Skomatczuk, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that Mr. Furman had obtained his Canadian citizenship through fraud or material misrepresentation. The Court found that he had hidden his wartime activities from Canadian offi cials when he was lawfully admitted to Canada in July 1949, and that, during the Second World War, he served in the German concentration camp system after training at the SS Trawniki training camp in 1943. Based on the Federal Court decision, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration may consider whether to recommend revocation of Mr. Furman's citizenship to the Governor General in Council. If citizenship is revoked, deportation proceedings may be considered.[ 9 ]
Katriuk, Vladimir: In January 1999, the Federal Court of Canada found that Mr. Katriuk obtained Canadian citizenship by deception in that he concealed his active membership in the Schutzmannschaft Battalion 118 and his participation in its activities in Belarus, including anti-partisan operations. The Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed Mr. Katriuk's attempts to appeal the Federal Court's findings. Based on the Federal Court decision, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration may consider whether to recommend revocation of Mr. Katriuk's citizenship to the Governor General in Council. If citizenship is revoked, deportation proceedings may be considered.[ 10 ]
Oberlander, Helmut: In February 2000, the Federal Court of Canada found that Mr. Oberlander had obtained Canadian citizenship by deception in that he concealed his membership in Einsatzkommando 10a, a unit that systematically carried out mass executions of civilians, particularly Jews, in the occupied Soviet Union. The Governor-in-Council revoked Mr. Oberlander's Canadian citizenship in July 2001. In May 2004, the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the revocation of Mr. Oberlander's citizenship because the report of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, on which the Governor in Council had based its decision, had failed to address the issue of whether Mr. Oberlander's case fell within the Canadian Government's revocation policy for Second World War cases and had not balanced his personal interests against the public interest. Based on the decision, the Minister may consider submitting a new report recommending revocation to the Governor General in Council. If citizenship is revoked, deportation proceedings may be considered.[ 11 ]
Odynsky, Wasyl: In March 2001, the Federal Court of Canada found that Mr. Odynsky obtained Canadian citizenship by deception in that he concealed his service as a guard at the SS forced labour camps of Trawniki and Poniatowa. Based on the decision, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration may consider whether to recommend that the Governor General in Council should revoke Mr. Odynsky's Canadian citizenship. If his citizenship is revoked, deportation proceedings may be considered.[ 12 ]
Fast, Jacob: On October 3, 2003, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that Mr. Fast had obtained his Canadian citizenship by deceit, in that he failed to reveal his German citizenship when applying to come to Canada in 1947. The Court also found that Mr. Fast had collaborated with the German Security Police responsible for enforcing the racial policies of the German Reich. This means that the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration may consider recommending to the Governor General in Council that Mr. Fast's citizenship be revoked. If his citizenship is revoked, deportation may be considered.[ 13 ]
|Number of files as of March 31, 2006||57|
|Number of files added (2006-2007)||8|
|Number of files closed||3|
|Number of files March 31, 2007||62|
in RPD hearings
|Cases reviewed abroad||Cases reviewed in Canada||Modern war crimes cases concluded|
|Inventory||Cases under investigation abroad||Refugee cases under investigation in Canada||Non-refugee cases under investigation in Canada|
Designated June 16, 1993, extended on August 15, 1997: the Bosnian Serb regime from March 27, 1992, to October 10, 1996.
Designated October 12, 1993: the Siad Barré regime in Somalia between 1969 and 1991.
Designated April 8, 1994: the former military governments in Haiti between 1971 and 1986, and between 1991 and 1994, except the period of August–December 1993.
Designated October 21, 1994: the former Marxist regimes of Afghanistan between 1978 and 1992.
Designated September 3, 1996, amended September 9, 2004: the governments of Ahmed Hassan Al-Bakr and Saddam Hussein in power in Iraq from 1968 to May 22, 2003.
Designated April 27, 1998: the Government of Rwanda under President Habyarimana between October 1990 and April 1994, as well as the interim government in power between April 1994 and July 1994.
Designated June 30, 1999, amended March 14, 2001: the governments of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Serbia (Milosevic) from February 28, 1998, to October 7, 2000.
Designated March 14, 2001, amended September 9, 2004: the Taliban regime in Afghanistan from September 27, 1996, to December 22, 2001.
Designated November 21, 2003: the Government of Ethiopia under Mengistu Haile Mariam from September 12, 1974, to May 21, 1991.