Omar Khadr: A Hero of Canadian Values?

“Development of violence among the colonized people will be proportionate to the violence exercised by the threatened colonial regime”
Frantz Fannon

A lot of ink has and is being spilled on upholding the legal rights of Omar Khadr in the face of the American extra-legal war on terror. Khadr has to come home to save and serve our Canadian values the argument goes. In essence, this discourse seems to be not about Omar Khadr, but about Canadian values. It is the country’s conscience that is hurting, not the body of the accused. It is the Canadian government’s authority and international reputation that is being violated, not the humanity of the accused. It is our sensibilities for due process and fair trial that are under attack, not the sanity and dignity of the accused. For supporters and opponents alike, bringing Khadr back or keeping him at Guantanamo is about one thing: saving our values, not his life.

We talk about what these values are, but we leave out the values of those we constantly claim to empathize with, values ascribed today to the realm of radical or imagined politics but that are in fact enshrined in international law[1], which we uphold in the highest regard: the right of all peoples to fight for self-determination against colonial domination and alien occupation and to carve out their own path to economic, social and cultural development; the moral duty of all nations to eradicate the evil of colonization and alien subjugation.
If we really support those universal values, then we need to possess the moral courage to accept the cost in practical terms- a cost that Canada was more than willing to pay when its own or its allies’ rights were threatened.

A right to self defense means in practical terms a right to carry arms and a right to counter violence with violence. For the same violence inflicted by occupying powers (invited by colonially-instituted puppet regimes or not) will be claimed by the occupied. From the legitimacy of the law of war that endows people to put trust in their armed forces and the necessity at times of armed conflicts, Canadians should understand if not accept the violence inflicted against their or their allied troops at war. Canadian troops do what they are told, we are constantly reminded. “Enemy” troops are no different.

Omar Khadr, 15 years old or 45, was doing what he was told and possibly what he believed to be defending an occupied land. And yet, he is denied Prisoner of War status, something even Nazi foot soldiers were not. He is charged with murder; a crime constantly committed by American and Canadian troops in Afghanistan[2]. Under The Hague Regulations and Protocol I additional to the Geneva Conventions relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts, Khadr is entitled to POW status for a reason, he is classified as a soldier or belligerent. But we do not want to think of Khadr as a soldier (let alone a child), and all the universal values attached to that label regardless of the side one is fighting against. The same way we would rather stick to a debate about some values and not others, and ultimately in isolation of the person in question or his alleged actions. This is how drastic the debate has shifted in Canada away from what this war is all about and into the abstract sanitized space of moral values and legal rights. And that should not come as a surprise; given that the debate is not about Khadr, but rather about our ….values.

[1] United Nations General Assembly, Resolution 1514 adopted in 1960, which all countries are obliged to respect.
[2] Human Rights estimates dozens of children killed by ISAF since the invasion of Afghanistan.

30 Responses

  1. Bob Tarantino says:

    I understand that, seeing as it is the middle of the summer, the submissions pile for The Court might be a little thin, but, really, do you need to embarrass yourselves by running this sort of stuff? Was there no adult around who could have given this a cursory reading for spelling and grammar (it took the combined skills of two writers to overlook the missing “the” in the first sentence and screw up a three letter word (POW vs PWO), to name only the two most impressive mistakes)?

    How about internal logic and factual accuracy? “A right to carry arms” is a “Canadian value”? The International Security Assistance Force authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 1386 is an instrument of “colonial domination and alien subjugation” (or, alternatively, an “occupying power”)? The government of Afghanistan (an Islamic Republic whose genesis was the UN-sponsored Bonn meetings in late 2001, ratified by the June 2002 loya jirga, and which is recognized by the UN as the legitimate government of Afghanistan) is a “colonially-instituted puppet regime”? What axiom of “Canadian values” mandates treating different UN decisions differently, according to the whims of the authors? How is it that the accusation of “murder” is thrown around (“constantly committed”) and then the joke of a citation is to “Human Rights [sic] estimates dozen of children killed by ISAF since the invasion of Afghanistan” (in other words, somebody, somewhere at some time (though we won’t specify who, where or when) said that somebody, somewhere at some time (though, again, we won’t deign to specifiy who, where or when) committed murder)? The authors couldn’t find a single authoritative hyperlink about murder? So they not only can’t write or argue coherently, they can’t even run a Google search? Weak, from top to bottom.

  2. Note – two corrections to the text in this post were made following the receipt of the above comment.

  3. Bob,
    “We misspell words, we have typos, and yes, sometimes our grammar is just awful.” Those are not our words and they don’t refer to this posting. This is the New York Times language guru that is speaking about errors in one of the most prestigious papers in North America where stories are vetted by several experts in the field. Perhaps you should send them a smart email asking if any adults are around in their newsroom. http://www.regrettheerror.com/newspapers/ny-times-language-guru-talks-about-errors. Of course, we regret the two errors you point out notwithstanding the tone of your remarks and bearing in mind that our most “impressive” mistakes are the skipping of an article [the] and the flipping of two letters in an Acronym [ PWO instead of POW].
    As for your complaint about the use of the terms occupation, etc…this is exactly the debate that Canadians should engage in, and contesting the stamp approval of an occupation of Afghanistan by the superpowers through a weakened U.N. as an attempt to abuse international law is precisely the point we make. Colonialists and Occupiers never describe themselves as such. They are liberators and the warlords of the Loya Jirga are democracy activists and the puppet government of Hamid Karzai is the legitimate governor of an Islamic Republic…..
    As to the claim of killing children by ISAF troops, the latest episode of Canadian soldiers killing two children is ample proof of this point. But for those who truly value accuracy (never to be applied to unsurprisingly detailed knowledge of what Khadr allegedly did in the thick of battle), check reports by Human Rights Watch [that was the intended reference] easily accessible on the net from as early as 2003 [e.g. http://hrw.org/english/docs/2003/12/13/afghan6585_txt.htmIn].
    Any quick search on BBC will unearth stories about how many civilians -collateral damage have been killed with impunity

  4. Samer says:

    A very thought provoking and informative article. Thanks for contributing this!

  5. Matthew P Harrington says:

    Assuming that Khadr is a prisoner of war — a proposition which is dubious even under the Geneva Convention — writers such as this do not explain what should happen to him. Does the author suggest that declaring Khadr a POW would immediately give him the right to be released or the right to some sort of trial? If so, that’s not what the Geneva Convention requires.

    If Khadr were in fact a POW the Americans would still have the right to hold him until the cessation of hostilities. Given that Khadr’s compatriots continue to assert that they are at war with the United States and continue to take steps to attack it, one might argue that Khadr’s detention is perfectly in keeping with the Geneva Conventions. When the war ends, Khadr can go home.

    Ultimately, I think this post is a bit off base as it seems more about politics than law.

  6. Matthew, I didn’t realize there was a clear distinction between politics and law.

    But you are right, counsel for Khadr has expressed that the solution is a political, and not a legal one: http://lawiscool.com/2007/10/22/law-is-cool-podcast-6/

    This does not mean this is not a legal issue, but that our political representatives have failed to show leadership.

    Canadian values, as I understand it, is that all Canadians are given the same status, irrespective of how we may or may not view their personal politics.

    The involvement of the Canadian Bar Association over the issue does demonstrate the relevance to the legal community.

  7. Angela Day says:

    Omar Kadr should NEVER have been sent to Guatanamo Bay, but he was and mistakes do happen. However, has has been left there for 6 years now. It is about time the Canadian public stepped in and have an end put to this nightmare and stop the torture and ask the immediate return of Omar Kadr back to Canada. He is being punished for what his father did. His father by the way is now deceased. He died in 2003 and omar should not be held responsible for what his father did. This child needs to come home. We as human beings, as Canadians and as Americans have to say enough is enough, please Prime Minister Harper call for Omar Kadr’s return to Canada, it is about time now.

  8. Johannes says:

    In attempting to say everything, this article says nothing. It is of poor quality and brings the status of this blog down a few notches.

    Among other things, the suggestion that Khadr be classified as a POW is somewhat puzzling. On one hand, this article suggests he is a hero for representing some sort of due process. On the other, if Khadr was classified as a POW, he would not historically be entitled to due process (minus the erroneous recent SCOTUS decision to the contrary).

    That said, the issue of his entitlement as POW is not so clear cut as the authors suppose. A competent court, under international law, is allowed to classify soldiers as non-combatants (Article 5 of 3rd Geneva Convention). This is exactly what a US court did when it decided he could be charged with murder. The decision to charge Khadr with murder is thus in accordance with international law.

  9. And in today’s news, counsel for Khadr are bringing action against our PM for his inaction.

    The suit’s legal premise is based on Canada’s obligations under international law to co-operate in the social integration and rehabilitation of children in armed conflicts…

    In May, the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that Khadr’s detention violated basic human rights norms. More recently a Canadian judge deemed that Khadr’s treatment by U.S authorities – including sleep deprivation – violates international prohibitions against torture.

    The suit, filed in Federal Court, is modelled on ones in Australia and Great Britain. Those countries eventually repatriated their citizens from Guantanamo.

    As stated above, this was not entirely unforeseeable.

  10. Zeppo says:

    I agree with Mr. Tarantino that this article seems to more of a rant than a comment on legal issues relevant to Mr. Khadr’s case.

  11. Angela Day says:

    Guilty or not, Omar Kadr, being a Canadian should be tried in Canada.

  12. Sajjad says:

    It is absolutely preposterous that the Harper government refuses to intervene in Omar Khadr’s case. The question of whether Omar Khadr did in fact commit war crimes is not of issue at this time. Besides, whatever happen to innocent until proven guilty? And even if he did commit such a crime, no one should be tortured and treated in such a manner. It is about time the Canadian government intervened in this case and brought Omar Khadr home so that justice can be served.

  13. Zeppo says:

    Sajjad and Angela Day,

    Your arguments are moral arguments, not legal arguments. Any decisions about whether Omar Khadr has had a fair trial or returns to Canada will be made by the President of the United States and/or by SCOTUS: Canada does not figure in the equation here and has absolutely no power to intervene. SCOTUS will not hear the Khadr case until the military tribunals are done.

    A Canadian PM could have screamed (Jean Chretien, Paul Martin or Stephen Harper) but there is a rule in politics that says “don’t make a big stink about something when you know you will be ignored because it makes you look tiny and helpless” and the current and former PMs know this.

    SCOTUS cares as much about what the Canadian PM thinks as it does about what the Chief Bugler of Western Uzbekistan thinks. SCOTUS cares about the laws of the United States, including the Constitution – that’s it. The problem for Mr. Khadr is that it will take a while for the case to get there.

    The President maybe cares about what the PM thinks a little bit more but he won’t budge now that the Military Tribunal process is in motion (a process that he has invested, and burned, a huge amount of political capital in). My political guess is that the current President is biding his time until January and will let the next president try to unwind this ball of knots. My guess is that the next president won’t get around to this issue until maybe next summer when Guantanamo inmates will start to be released. If Mr. Khadr’s case has reached the civilian courts by then the president may not intervene but may not contest a ruling in Mr. Khadr’s favour so as to allow a face-saving exit.

  14. flipper says:

    Let’s stick to the basic facts in this case instead of all the on-line histrionics.This terrorist was captured in Afghanistan after being injured in a firefight with our American allies.He is charged with a CAPITAL crime ,to wit, MURDER , .That is the reason he is the only western detainee still incarcerated in Guantanamo.He is not regarded by the Americans as a child soldier(they are not signatories to that convention).He is currently classified as an UNLAWFUL ENEMY COMBATANT. HE is awaiting trial on Oct.8. The media has made him into a poster boy for terrorism what with his cute smiling face.( Can’t anybody find a recent picture of him? He wouldn’t look so loveable now!)As for allegations of torture COME ON.!!! The video that I saw shows him sitting on a leather couch ,drinking a soft drink..HOW INHUMANE.. And the sleep deprivation WOW!! Moving him from cell to cell every three hours ..(I worked shift work for 30 years and was also sleep-deprived)The Americans have had him for the past 6 years and they can keep him.The lawyers will undoubtedly get more strident as his trial date approaches ,leading to even more frivolous lawsuits etc. The whole issue boils down to GUILT OR INNOCENCE His military and civilian lawyers have done nothing but delay and obfuscate using the courts as their weapon of choice….His guilt will be shown and he will face justice..

  15. Sajjad says:

    Yes, our arguments are somewhat moral as opposed to legal. But, the fact is Omar Khadr’s human rights as a minor have never been recognized. He was subjected to interrogations over a three year period without access to legal counsel. Further, no investigations appear to have been initiated into reports of torture and other ill-treatment despite the fact that Guantanomo Bay is known to carry out human rights violations.

  16. david f says:

    This boy is being used as a political football. He is being tried in what seems to me a mock show trial. There is little doubt that he has been mistreated. Records that are normally carefully kept and guarded have mysteriously gone missing.

    In all the rancor and both legal and political, a Canadian citizen sits in a jail cell waiting. Waiting for a sentence which has been in alll likelihood, been predetermined.

    The Canadian value here is compassion for the helpless, and the offer of a helping hand and comfort in a time of need. He should not be used to make a political point. That he has been used in this way by both Prime Minister Chretian and Prime Minister Harper does not speak well of those two leaders. I am personally ashamed of the way they have acted.

    One does not make a legal or political point with the U.S. We have seen how they dealt with the Softwood Lumber Issue. Even when they loose, they refuse to admit that they lost and simply continue what an international court has three times over declared unlawful for them to do.

    We will win no points legal or politically with this case. Our primary concern should be for one of our own citizens.

    Cheers,
    David

  17. Sandra says:

    Are you kidding me? Really? First off, shift work can not be compared to sleep deprivation, the former being a voluntary condition while the latter is a recognized method of torture. As a Canadian, you have the privilege of knowing that any employment you find will be governed by laws in which your rights as a worker are enforced. For example, your charter right not to be subjected to discrimination, among the multitude of other rights that we as Canadians enjoy.

    The issue about Khadr, is not his age or where he was captured, it’s about the fact that he is a Canadian, and the basic rights that we as Canadians are guaranteed and expect to enjoy are not being upheld. I am not going to discuss his alleged crimes, but the issue behind the Khadr case is the same as the Arar case. These are Canadian citizens whose government failed to protect their rights as Canadians.

    It is constantly said that the goal of the war on terror is to eradicate the terrorists and to install democracy in these countries. Well, why does this not apply to the Americans whose behaviour is not that different from the criminals they call terrorists? There are several articles on how legally, the US is going to have much difficultly in attempting to try these alleged criminals in court considering their basic rights have been violated. You can’t try these people by American law if you haven’t afforded them the rights that American law dictates should be theirs. You can’t have it both ways.

    Moreso, is this the democracy we want to install in these countries? Let me guess, we’re not leading by example, it’s a case of do as we say, not as we do.

  18. flipper says:

    Why should this terrorist be singled out for all your attention? I assume it has to do with your status of law students.There are thousands of canadians imprisoned abroad in various hostile nations.Any Canadian traveling abroad has the duty to follow the rules of that nation (I personally don’t know of a country where MURDER is legal) To claim after the fact that he is a Canadian citizen and should be protected by this country’s constitution is a farce. You state you do not wish to discuss the case ,the facts once revealed will undoubtedly show his guilt!You can rail against the Americans,their military court system,their war on terrorism etc. but the basic question is (without all the legalese mumbo-jumbo) Guilt or Innocence? As for my comment about shift workers, studies have shown that sleep deprivation IS one of the major hinderances to health.I doubt that many of you will ever have to work shifts,all coming from well-to-do families..The KHADRS represent a past and future danger..from father AHMED SAID KHADR (Killed in Afghanistan)ABDULLAH KHADR (facing extradition for war crimes) ABDURAHMAN KHADR (released from gitmo 2003) OMAR KHADR (facing war crimes trial)and KARIM KHADR ( paralyzed in same shootout that killed the father).Canada has been too lax in allowing these subversives back into this country..Lastly,who was KHADR fighting for when he was captured? The Taliban,you know ,an ISLAMIC fundamentalist regime who have in the past stoned women to death for not wearing the proper Islamic dress or for any hint of adultery! Khadr will get a first-hand look at the American military court system..He will be forced to take responsibilty for his actions..WHAT A NOVEL CONCEPT!!!

  19. Zeppo says:

    Sandra said:
    The issue about Khadr, is not his age or where he was captured, it’s about the fact that he is a Canadian, and the basic rights that we as Canadians are guaranteed and expect to enjoy are not being upheld.

    Once Khadr left Canadian soil he left the Charter behind: other countries don’t recognize our laws on their soil. If you travel to France (using a nice country as an example) and break a law there the Charter won’t help you. Only the laws of France apply. Omar Khadr is in Guantanamo Bay where only the laws of the USA apply: only ‘Bill of Rights’ rights apply there, not ‘Charter rights’.
    I recognize that there are reported allegations of rights abuses but these allegations must be tested in courts in the USA.

  20. Angela Day says:

    Wherever you travel, every Canadian has the right to be protected
    by it’s government.

  21. FACT: Canada is obligated under international law to cooperate in the social integration and rehabilitation of child soldiers in armed conflict.
    FACT: Omar Khadr was legally a child soldier aged 15 when he was captured by U.S. forces in 2002 in Afghanistan during an armed conflict.
    FACT: The Supreme Court of Canada ruled last May that Khadr’s detention violated basic human rights and a Federal judge, justice Richard Mosley, deemed it in contravention to international prohibition against torture – great way to get him socially integrated!!!.
    CLEAR CONCLUSION: Canadian government’s refusal to press for removing Khadr from Guantanamo and repatriate him is illegal.
    RATIO: The fact that this conclusion is not clear in the public debate is precisely why we chose to talk about the political in this case rather than the strictly legal. For when the law is not enforced in clear cut cases, the reason is very likely to be…political.
    Some inciting flippant flippers know this all too well and point out the “ISLAMIC” nature of Khadr’s alleged crime, confident that it renders any solid legal argument one could come up with irrelevant…only they simply reinforce the reason why the legal and the political are never completely separate.

  22. Zeppo says:

    Angela Day said:
    Wherever you travel, every Canadian has the right to be protected
    by it’s (sic) government.

    How is this right formed in law? What form does the ‘protection’ take?

    Although other countries may have constitutions with principles similar to our own, the other countries will not recognize our Charter as valid law in their respective jurisdictions. The previous statement applies to statutes and precedents as well. If this right cannot be enforced then it is not a right (at least not in law).

    The United States (and other countries) are just as zealous in protecting their sovereign jurisdictions as we are in protecting our own.

    Mr Khadr’s rights, such as they exist in law, will have to be determined by US courts in accordance with the laws of the United States.

  23. Zeppo says:

    Let me respond to the post by (Safieddine and Younes) above with a few simple comments:

    FACT: Canada is obligated under international law to cooperate in the social integration and rehabilitation of child soldiers in armed conflict

    Perhaps (though no citations of statute or treaty were provided), but only where the government has legal jurisdiction to act. The government (including the courts) have no jurisdiction to compel any person in the United States to do anything. If the laws of Canada applied in this case then the courts in Canada could issue writs of mandamus to have Mr. Khadr released: but they don’t. Why? Because it would be meaningless to do so. So it goes for the PM. He has no authority either. Parliament? – same thing.
    For a court to tell the PM to demand that the US return Mr. Khadr would simply be the court telling the PM to do something futile because the court knows it would be futile for itself to demand it. QED.

    FACT: Omar Khadr was legally a child soldier aged 15 when he was captured by U.S. forces in 2002 in Afghanistan during an armed conflict.

    Has the US signed a a treaty stating this? Two links I followed said no, it has not: only the executive branch has signed. The Constitution of the United States (s2) requires that the Senate ratify a treaty by a two-thirds majority. The articles I read stated that the CRC had not been ratified by the Senate. If not ratified then the treaty is not a law of the United States therefore international law does not apply in Guantanamo. QED

    The Supreme Court of Canada ruled last May …
    The SCC is a magnificent and powerful institution in Canada but its rulings are not binding south of the border. SCOTUS can tell the president what to do if the executive branch has broken the law; the SCC, not so much. QED

    RATIO … For when the law is not enforced in clear cut cases …
    Who is not enforcing the law? The RCMP? Well, the FBI won’t let them do that (not to mention the US Marines). How would the law be enforced? The Canadian state has no legal jurisdiction here, otherwise a Canadian court could issue a writ to command that Mr. Khadr be brought before the court: but it can’t. QED

    Flailing moral arguments do not trump legal ones. Only the laws of the United States apply here. Anyone who wants to help Mr. Khadr had better crack open some US law books.

  24. trina says:

    Thank you Flipper, you captured my sentiments exactly! A person that sees the issue for what it really is. Thank you again

  25. In response to Zeppo’s latest response:
    One doesn’t build a straw man out of an argument and then huff and puff to blow it.

    In fact, what his flailing argument proves is that the U.S. is an international pariah!!! One doesn’t have to research for too long to know that the U.S. spares no occasion to refuse to commit to international law…thus when we refer to international law, the point is that Canada has an obligation to uphold it in the face of pariahs like the U.S. This means that

    1) The Canadian government is required to take “all feasible measures” [Convention on the Rights of the Child] to ensure protection and care for Khadr who is considered a child soldier under international law. Whether the U.S. has signed to it or not is irrelevant since we are not asking that the U.S. government be prosecuted under the convention for violating it (though that would save the world so many lives). The Canadian government has not taken any measures, even something as basic and feasible as an official request for extradition or a strong statement calling on U.S. to return Khadr.

    2) The Supreme Court of Canada decision is not binding south of the border and we did not argue as such. The court’s proclamation, which should be binding on the Canadian government, proved that Khadr was not being rehabilitated in Guantanamo, unless torture counts as rehabilitation. Again, we mentioned it to argue that the CANADIAN government has an obligation based on that assessment and international law to take “feasible measures” to repatriate and rehabilitate Khadr, not that the Canadian Court’s order be enforced in U.S. jurisdiction. This becomes an even stronger argument given that Canada is a state party to the conflict in which Khadr was involved in.

    3) Other countries like Britain were able to reportedly use this logic to bring back their citizens. To say there are no legal arguments to compel Canadian government to seek repatriation of Khadr is countered by precedent.

    Finally, there is precedent where Canada has exerted pressure to repatriate citizens when the legal system they are subjected to is suspect (e.g. Mexico). And the U.S. is such a place when it comes to cases relating to the so-called war on terror by testimony of its own Supreme Court. No one expects the government to send special forces or issue an order for the return of Khadr. But the government is not even willing to consider any form of pressure. Arguing that Canada’s hands are tied based on legal arguments when not a single objection by Canada has been raised in the face of a lawless and terrorizing administration like Washington is false and misleading. All of this to show that politics hidden in the garb of law is motivating this debate.

    If anyone has a flailing moral argument, it is those who are eager to bend the law and devise every possible strict interpretation to justify torture, propagate Islamophobia, and hide the truth of what the U.S. and Canadian governments are doing around the world behind the mask of self-righteousness and moral superiority.

  26. Zeppo says:

    Your flailing argument does not prove that the U.S. is an international pariah for the simple fact that the U.S. is not an international pariah. I am curious as to your definition of pariah. The U.S. is the largest trading nation on earth and has diplomatic representation in almost every country there is. While there many be many who think its treatment of persons at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere has not been good, it is far away from being a pariah. It is in fact still the most powerful nation on earth and its power, diplomatic influence, trade and aid are still sought widely.

    International law only goes as far as those states who choose to sign a binding treaty to uphold it. The U.S. has not ratified the CRC so it is not applicable. International law is not some fuzzy wool blanket that covers the earth. If a state has not signed up to treaty then the law is not applicable for that state. I do not know where you are getting the idea that the U.S. has broken international law by not upholding the CRC. There may be other treaties, perhaps, but not this one.

    1) Futile does not equal feasible in my dictionary. The Canadian government may ask for Mr. Khadr’s return politely and it will be told ‘no’ politely. If it asks less politely, it will be told ‘no’ less politely. The matter is before the military tribunals as established by Congress. Only the courts (the U.S. courts) can say whether the treatment Mr. Khadr has received has violated due process or other rights established by U.S. law.

    2) The SCoC decision proves nothing to Americans. The decision dealt with disclosure of documents to Mr. Khadr (under s.7 or the Charter) and made a ruling that Canada had violated its human rights obligations by participating in the interrogation process. The ruling makes no pronouncements about the legality of U.S. actions.

    3) I am not familiar with all of the foreign detainees but I do not believe others released were facing charges of homicide. These are serious charges Mr. Khadr is facing.

    As far as the precedent(s) (absent any citation(s) whatsoever) you are referring to, perhaps the Canadian government did discuss issues of law and the treatment of accused with the Mexican government but this is at the political option of both governments. The Mexican government is not legally obliged to discuss matters before the Mexican courts with Canadian officials. Any allegations of treaty violations (i.e. the right to consular assistance of an accused under Article 36, subparagraph 1(b), of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations) have to be brought before a court of law, not the government, if the independence of the courts is to be maintained. Motions and arguments would be presented and the court would make a ruling. If the government, including the Mexican government, were allowed to just haul an accused from court and ship them out then the independence of the courts would be destroyed.

    You are entitled to your opinions of the U.S. and its acts but these are not legal arguments and are of no use in Mr. Khadr’s case. There is no feasible option here but to allow the military tribunals to finish their hearings and to make their rulings. Afterwards the case will begin winding its way up to SCOTUS if the government and Mr. Khadr want to fight it that far. The President has asked for and Congress has approved these military tribunals. The two political branches of government have spoken so there is no opportunity for political action anymore: the matter is before the courts. No intervention from outside sources will have any weight at all. Asking the PM to intervene is futile, not feasible.

    My personal opinion is that the family is more than half responsible for Mr. Khadr’s (the child soldier’s ) predicament, having allowed him to head to a war zone with his father. Read this and let me know what you think. Omar’s brother was paralysed for life in the shootout that killed his father. I do not believe that a family who was concerned about the welfare of their 15 year old child would have sent him to a war zone.

  27. flipper says:

    IT seemed that you did not like my comments about the “religion of peace” and struck them from your website..All the things that I stated are true ,those events did happen and are not subject to any other interpretation… You advocate a certain type of censorship …

  28. Zeppo says:

    I included two links in my previous post but thecourt.ca webite ate them. The link referring to Khadr’s family is from the cbc.ca website. The other link refers to the SCoC Khadr decision.

  29. 1) Differentiating between International Relations and International Law: U.S. is an international economic and military juggernaut, of course.. that makes it an international bully, which makes it an international pariah when it comes to subscribing to international law. Reference to pariah was about subscribing to int’l law, not as you confirm extending one’s power internationally.
    2) Our legal arguments were about obligations of Canadian government, it is about legality of Canada’s actions. Not sure we can make that any clearer. You say futile is not feasible. We say predicting futility is defeatism or propagandist rhetoric in support of U.S. bullying to scare anyone from doing anything. Canada has a lot of
    clout if she wishes to use it.
    3) The U.S. Congress and other bodies have spoken!!!! So? our legal arguments are about Canada’s actions not the U.S.
    4) Canadian interference in Mexico was a political one. PM Harper personally intervened in case of Brenda Martin who was jailed in Mexico. And it is political action prompted by legal arguments that we are asking for.
    5) Your argument seems to constantly refer to U.S. laws or what the U.S. president or Congress said or did. Are we in Canada or the U.S.? No one is speaking of U.S. laws or actions here. We are in Canada and facing a case where a citizen is in the hands of an unlawful belligerent country. All our argument is about what the Canadian government is obliged to do.

  30. Canadian says:

    Just because he’s Canadian doesn’t give him the right to go fight for afgan militants and get off the hook.

    If he wants to fight with them, he should be able to deal with the consequences.

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