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Complicity in detainee torture by Canada

by John McNamer

Kamloops, BC --  Canada may be formally investigated under terms of international law for alleged complicity in torture and involvement in the US extraordinary rendition program, according to new information received from the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague.

The ICC on July 16, 2016, notified human rights activist John McNamer that his 2013 request for a formal investigation of alleged war crimes by Canada related to Afghan detainee torture and extraordinary renditions is now being looked at in the context of "a situation already under preliminary examination by the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP)."

"Accordingly, your communication will be analyzed in this context, with the assistance of other related communications and other available information," the OTP told McNamer in an email document.

The document went on to say that "the Prosecutor must consider whether there is a reasonable basis to believe that crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court have been committed, the gravity of the crimes, whether national systems are investigating and prosecuting the relevant crimes, and the interests of justice."

It also said that "meaningful analysis of these factors can take some time."  Prosecutors promised McNamer that he will be kept informed, saying, "As soon as a decision is taken on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation, we will advise you promptly and we will provide reasons for the decision."

McNamer said in a press release that he has had several acknowledgements from prosecutors over the past few years, but this one is noteworthy because it is another indication that the OTP is actively looking at the "big picture of well known wide-scale torture programs" as related to the Afghanistan conflict.

He said that the OTP in its annual report on preliminary investigations for 2016 said it is focused on potential crimes by Taliban and Afghan government forces, but it also made it clear it is considering some conduct by international forces.    

"Anyone examining torture of Afghan detainees will be remiss if they do not take a close look at Canada's very well documented complicity in torture and in the illegal US extraordinary rendition program," McNamer said.  "What a lot of people don't realize is that Canada is fully accountable to the ICC, unlike it's ally the United States."

McNamer is an independent investigative journalist and human rights activist.  He has submitted more than 300 documentations to the OTP showing evidence of alleged complicity in torture and extraordinary rendition by Canadian Forces and responsible Canadian officials related to the Afghanistan Mission.

He initially studied the situation as a researcher for several years with Lawyers Against the War and later went on to independently file a formal request for investigation of war crimes with the ICC.  A Canadian citizen, McNamer was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for service with the US 4th Infantry Division in Vietnam.  

The formal request for ICC investigation and all documentations can be found here:

Click here to view ICC Submissions, Canada Detainee Torture


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