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International War Criminals

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Statement made on 28 September 2011 by Senator Roméo Dallaire

Hon. Roméo Antonius Dallaire:

Honourable senators, as a preamble to my question, I would like to say that on several occasions I have appeared as a witness before international tribunals that have indicted perpetrators of genocide and people who committed crimes against humanity. None of these tribunals imposed capital punishment, which for me was a determining factor in my decision to testify or not.

A few years ago, we passed Canadian legislation allowing us to bring to trial within our own country an individual who has committed or is suspected of committing a crime against humanity or a war crime. This legislation was passed to provide us with the means to take legal action and impose sanctions such as life in prison or a punishment to fit the crime.

Two and a half years ago, I appeared as a witness during the first trial for genocide in Montreal. The individual was ultimately sentenced to life in prison.

We know that such individuals are living here in Canada. We know that at the Department of Justice there is a unit devoted to examining the issue of international criminals. Nevertheless, instead of judging them in accordance with our own laws, even if they are Canadian citizens, albeit fraudulently, we have decided to simply return them to their home country and let their country deal with them.

Some of those countries practise torture and capital punishment; it seems to me that another one of our laws states that we must never return people to a country where torture and capital punishment are in place.

Has the government changed that policy in order to wash its hands of this, just like Pontius Pilate?

Please click here to read the full text of the Senator's question

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