Tag Archives: international law

Canadian PM Rejects Court Order On Khadr Release

The ongoing saga of Omar Khadr continues since Prime Minister Stephen Harper refused to obey a court order which demanded that Canada ensure the release of the young man from the prison at Guanatanamo Bay. Federal Court Justice James O’Reilly said Canada had denied the Toronto born Khadr his constitutional rights to a fair trial as well as violating international law protecting children captured in an armed conflict. Khar was a teenager when captured by American soldiers in Afghanistan. O’Reilly emphasized that “Canada had a duty to protect Mr. Khadr from being subjected to any torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.” The prime minister told Parliament he would continue looking into the matter but refused to take any positive action.

A nation does not get to pick and choose which of its citizens it will protect. Khadr was a fifteen year old boy when captured in 2002 and he has now been in prison for seven years. Judge O’Reilly pointed out that America flouted international law by not providing “special status as a minor” when they captured the young boy. This is simply another sad story in the ongoing saga of Bush’s violation of international law.

Sweden Accused Of Laxity On War Criminals

Amnesty International issued a blasting report on failure of the Swedish government to take an active stand on issues of war crimes that occurred outside its own borders. Although Sweden is renowned for its own liberal laws and fight against war crimes, it will not adjust its laws to take into account what happens elsewhere in the world. Amnesty International wants Sweden to extend provisions under the international legal principle of universal jurisdiction, which permits states to charge and prosecute for serious crimes regardless of where they were committed. The report claims “up to 1,500 war criminals freely roam the streets of Sweden.”

The principle of universal jurisdiction is a controversial idea and many nations refuse to accept the concept that international bodies can exert jurisdiction on crimes that happened anywhere in the world. In the absence of such an approach to law, war criminals can always find a save haven to escape prosecution.