Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, holds up some of the 31,000 letters as they call on Saudi Arabia to free Raif Badawi as protesters take part in a rally outside the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Ottawa on Monday, November 2, 2015. A prominent human rights organization says Canada is failing to bring suspected war criminals to justice. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, holds up some of the 31,000 letters as they call on Saudi Arabia to free Raif Badawi as protesters take part in a rally outside the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Ottawa on Monday, November 2, 2015. A prominent human rights organization says Canada is failing to bring suspected war criminals to justice. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Changes needed to help Canada prosecute war criminals, Amnesty International says

The $15.6-million budget for the war-crimes program has remained static over the years,

A prominent human-rights organization says Canada is failing to bring suspected war criminals to justice.

In a newly released report, Amnesty International Canada depicts the federal Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Program as underfunded and underused.

Twenty years ago, Canada enshrined in federal law universal jurisdiction for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, meaning these offences are considered criminal acts in Canada even when they are committed abroad.

But only two people, both linked to the Rwanda genocide of 1994, have been prosecuted under the legislation.

Amnesty points to the case of Bill Horace, a former Liberian warlord, as evidence of Canada’s poor record in the years since.

It notes that Horace, who was shot to death in June in London, Ont., had been widely accused of committing mass murder, rape and torture in Liberia during the 1990s.

“Despite a mountain of evidence against him, Canadian officials never charged Horace, allowing him to live freely in this country since he first arrived in 2002,” Amnesty Canada said in releasing the report today.

More often than not, Canada washes its hands of its responsibility, failing to take any action to prosecute alleged war criminals or opting to deport them without any guarantees they will be investigated for their misdeeds, said Alex Neve, secretary-general of Amnesty Canada.

The $15.6-million budget for the war-crimes program has remained static over the years, but the costs of conducting investigations “have risen significantly,” the report says.

It urges the Canadian government to boost the resources of the federal program, improve the protection of victims and witnesses, and remove various legal and political obstacles to prosecution.

The report was co-ordinated by Sebastien Jodoin, Canada Research Chair in Human Rights and the Environment at McGill University, and developed with the input of lawyers, legal scholars, and law students.

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press

Canada

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said growing COVID-19 case numbers continue to be a concern in the province. (Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta announces 1,077 new COVID-19 cases Thursday

There are currently 14,052 active cases in the province

The Town of Blackfalds voted to implement a mandatory mask bylaw on Nov. 24. It is currently not mandatory across the province of Alberta, just in select municipalities. Photo coutesy of the Town of Blackfalds
Town of Blackfalds announces new facility closures and updates

The changes come after the province declared a public state of emergency on Tuesday

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said the 500 deaths from COVID-19 in the province are a tragic milestone. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta hits ‘tragic milestone’ with more COVID-19 deaths

Province up to 500 COVID-19 deaths, adds 1,265 cases

(Black Press file photos)
City of Lacombe announces new public health measures

The city is adopting recommendations that were announced by the provincial government yesterday

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

File Photo
Sylvan Lake Town Council asks for a mask bylaw to be brought forward for consideration

The bylaw would require face coverings in all indoor Town-owned and operated facilities

The corporate headquarters of Pfizer Canada are seen in Montreal, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The chief medical adviser at Health Canada says Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine could be approved in Canada next month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Health Canada expects first COVID-19 vaccine to be approved next month

Canada has a purchase deal to buy at least 20 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine,

People wear face masks as they pose next to a Christmas display in Montreal, Sunday, November 22, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
How to tell family their Christmas gathering is too risky and you’re not going

Dr. Hurst says it’s best to frame the conversation from a place of care, stressing safety precautions.

A sign instructs people to wear masks in downtown Calgary on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Pub and restaurant owners are trying to figure out how to comply with a stricter COVID-19 measure in Alberta that dictates only six people from the same household can sit at one table. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Brewpub owner pleased Alberta not closing sit-down dining as COVID-19 cases soar

Alberta’s caseload of COVID-19 infections has been growing for weeks

This undated photo issued by the University of Oxford shows of vial of coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
Canada can make vaccines, just not the ones leading the COVID-19 race

Canada has spent more than $1 billion to pre-order seven different developing COVID-19 vaccines

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at B.C. campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

A pedestrian wears masks while out walking in front of the Alberta Legislature as the COVID-19 numbers spike in Edmonton on Tuesday November 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Doctor says Alberta restrictions not enough to reduceCOVID-19 strain on hospitals

Mithani notes people are still allowed to gather indoors at large places of worship and in bars,

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Most Read