Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Afghan Prisoner Scandal - Why Canada should follow through

Canada should call an impartial public inquiry into the transfer of Afghan prisoners, who were allegedly transferred into conditions that contradict the Geneva convention and are illegal under international law. International laws of the Geneva convention are also prosecutable under Canadian law. Should an impartial public inquiry take place and the evidence gathered indicates that trials should go forward, the ICC and the Canadian courts should pursue these crimes with their full means and authority.

At the very least, it looks like Canadian officials, from the Minister of Defence Peter Mackay to top military brass, might be found guilty of negligence in the transfer of Afghan prisoners. At worst, they are guilty of intentionally transferring those prisoners into conditions that contradict the Geneva convention, including torture, rape, and possibly even murder.

It's important this issue gets fully examined and taken through the course of the law. Firstly, this is important because Canada can't criticize other countries such as Sudan and Zimbabwe, who's leaders flaunt and break international law at will, while our own governments are not held accountable for their misdeeds.

Furthermore, the victims of this injustice, some of which may have been Taliban, others who may have joined the Taliban as a result of being humiliated by torture, rape, etc, would see this as a step toward justice.

If we don't hold our leaders accountable, how can we expect Afghanistan's government to do the same. By not seeking justice, we are allowing the Afghan government to point to Canada as an example and say, "Hey, they stonewalled justice and aren't accountable for their crimes, then neither are we."

A full inquiry, and if Canadians are found guilty, then a conviction, lets Muslim extremists around the world know that Canada goes into Afghanistan with high morals and principles and we prosecute those who break the law.

Justice gives Afghan people a reason to trust us. Injustice gives them fodder to recruit more extremists to kill our brave soldiers, our men and women who put their lives on the line. We owe it to Afghanistan. We owe it to our soldiers. We owe it to ourselves as a country with impeccable morals and traditions, to seek justice.

As Stephen Harper would say, we need to "shine light into dark corners" of government affairs.

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