Friday, March 5, 2010

Breaking: Canadian officials, war crimes

Canada wanted Afghan prisoners tortured: lawyer
CBC News: Federal government documents on Afghan detainees suggest that Canadian officials intended some prisoners to be tortured in order to gather intelligence, according to a legal expert.

If the allegation is true, such actions would constitute a war crime, said University of Ottawa law professor Amir Attaran, who has been digging deep into the issue and told CBC News he has seen uncensored versions of government documents released last year.

'If these documents were released [in full], what they will show is that Canada partnered deliberately with the torturers in Afghanistan for the interrogation of detainees... There would be a question of rendition and a question of war crimes on the part of certain Canadian officials. That's what's in these documents, and that's why the government is covering it up as hard as it can.'...

Until now, the controversy has centred on whether the government turned a blind eye to abuse of Afghan detainees. However, Attaran said the full versions of the documents show that Canada went even further in intentionally handing over prisoners to torturers. 'And it wasn't accidental; it was done for a reason,' he said. 'It was done so that they could be interrogated using harsher methods.'...

Many facets of the issue remain top secret, such as the role of Canada's elite Joint Task Force 2, or JTF2. There have been hints that JTF2 might be handling so-called high value prisoners...

Opposition parties have been trying to get the Conservative government to release the uncensored versions of the documents pertaining to the handling of Afghan detainees... On Friday, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson asked former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci to review whether there would be 'injurious' effects if some Afghan detainee documents were made public... He is not a sitting judge and can't legally rule or force the government to do anything.
Image source here.