Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Program Evaluation
4. Evaluation Findings
The evaluation considered the relevance of the CAHWC Program with respect to: the continued need for the Program; the responsiveness of the Program to federal government priorities, roles, and responsibilities; and the Program’s support for each partner’s strategic outcomes.
4.1.1. Continued need for the CAHWC Program
The evaluation confirmed there is an ongoing need for the Program for the following reasons:
Canada has ongoing international and domestic legal obligations to end impunity
The Program remains relevant because Canada is party to United Nations (UN) conventions on genocide, refugees, torture, war crimes, and, most recently, the Rome Statute (each of these legal obligations is discussed further in Section 4.1.4 below), and Canada has domestic responsibilities under the CAHWC Act, IRPA and the Citizenship Act. Therefore, these obligations require Canada to provide safe haven to refugees fleeing areas of prolonged conflict, but also require Canada to be vigilant in ensuring persons who committed or were complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide are not allowed to enter or remain in Canada and, when appropriate, are prosecuted for their crimes.
Atrocities continue to be committed
Many key informants explained that crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide continue to be committed as part of modern, non-conventional warfare, referring to conflicts and upheaval in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, South Sudan, or more specifically to extremist groups such as ISIS/ISIL and Boko Haram. Over the past several years, the UN has released numerous reports on the growing potential for, or observed commission of, war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Central African Republic, Sudan, South Sudan, Iraq, and SyriaFootnote 17. Specific concerns relate to recruitment of children and forced deportations in the Central African Republic (UNNC, 2011a), indiscriminate attacks on civilians and extrajudicial killings in Sudan (UNNC, 2011b, 2011c), warnings over the precursors to genocide, extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, and the use of children in armed conflicts in South Sudan (UNNC, 2014b, 2015b), and ISIS/ISIL’s use of torture, rape, starvation, abduction and conscription of children, sexual slavery, mass executions, and targeted violence against the Yezidi minority in Iraq and Syria (UNNC, 2014a, 2015a, 2016a, 2016b). Most recently, the UN has reported there were at least 18,802 Iraqi civilian deaths and 36,245 civilians injured between January 2014 and October 2015 as a result of the continuing conflict in Iraq; while many of the killings are attributed to ISIL, government security forces, militias, tribal forces, and Kurdish Peshmerga are also implicated in the widespread violence (UNNC, 2016a).
Canada is an immigrant- and refugee-receiving country and is therefore a potential destination for witnesses, victims, and perpetrators of crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide
The Program remains relevant because it provides interdepartmental coordination and expertise to ensure there are resources available to follow up on crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide allegations against individuals thought to be in Canada. Evidence from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) shows many of the high-conflict countries discussed above are among the top refugee-producing countries in the worldFootnote 18 and Canada is among the countries receiving immigrants and refugees from these areas. For example, Program data and documentary sources show that between 2008 and 2014, Iraq was the 10th largest source country for immigrants and refugees to Canada. Data from the UNHCR shows Canada has received several thousand refugees from other major conflict areas including Afghanistan and Somalia, as well as Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan (CBSA et al., 2011, p. 19; UNHCR, n.d). Most recently, the Government of Canada resettled 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February 2016 (GoC, 2016).
The Program also remains relevant as a coordinating point through which IRCC and the CBSA screen for inadmissibility under subsection 35(1) of IRPA. One aspect of security screening is to identify perpetrators of crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide and prevent them from attempting to seek refuge in Canada. As of 2011, there were nine regimes designated under paragraph 35(1)(b) of IRPA for crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide (among other international crimes) (CBSA et al., 2011, p. 19). There have been no new regimes designated since 2003, which is when paragraph 35(1)(c) of IRPA was added. According to visa data over an eight-year period, over one-tenth of visa applicants who were screened for crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide were denied entry to Canada. From 2003–2004 to 2013–2014, this amounted to about 2,800 visa applications denied for commission or complicity in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide.
Domestic efforts to address crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide are of increasing importance
Although international courts and tribunals demonstrate a commitment to addressing modern war crimes, national efforts — such as Canada’s CAHWC Program — are neither redundant nor unnecessary. Firstly, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia is winding down, while the one for Rwanda is already closed. Several Program and NGO/academic key informants noted how the shift toward domestic prosecutions will put greater pressure on domestic resources for costly investigations and prosecutions and will create a greater need for domestic expertise on issues related to crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide. This may be particularly challenging for countries that are less developed and/or have only just begun to rebuild their legal and police infrastructures following prolonged periods of conflict. Secondly, some Program and NGO/academic key informants noted that as the court of last resort, the ICC’s jurisdiction is limited to those conflicts where individual states cannot or will not investigate and prosecute crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide. A few of these key informants noted this put greater pressure on nations to pursue domestic investigations and prosecutions.
4.1.2. Does the Program meet government policy priorities?
The Program enforces Canada’s no safe haven policy and has fitted within the Government of Canada’s policy agenda
Evidence from key informant opinions and federal government statements (e.g., Speeches from the Throne and budget speeches) demonstrate that the Program has continued to meet government policy priorities. Key informants from partner departments/agencies believed the Program meets the policy priorities of the government, indicating the Program enforces Canada’s no safe haven policy and has fit comfortably within the Government of Canada’s law and order agenda.
Speeches from the Throne and federal budgets identified a number of priority areas that specifically relate to crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. For example, the 2009 Speech from the Throne emphasized the need to strengthen border security, maintain the integrity of the immigration regime, and reform the refugee system, all of which are interlinked with the objectives of the CAHWC Program. During the 2010 Speech from the Throne, the federal government announced its intention to introduce legislation to speed up the citizenship revocation process for those who have concealed their participation in crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. These changes were announced through Bill C-24 and became law through the Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act, which came into effect in May 2015 (CIC, 2015). The new laws are anticipated to improve the efficiency of citizenship revocations, which have traditionally taken several years to complete, and have thus affected Program performance. Finally, in 2011 the federal government committed $8.4 million per year in permanent funding toward Canada’s no safe havenpolicy. This was in addition to the $7.2 million in permanent funding the CBSA already received for its CAHWC Program activities. While not an increase in funding, the move to permanent funding demonstrated an alignment between the Program and government priority objectives.
4.1.3. Does the Program align with departmental strategic outcomes and priorities?
The CAHWC Program aligns with departmental strategic outcomes and priorities
The evaluation found that generally, the Program aligns with departmental strategic outcomes. While the Program is usually not specifically mentioned among its partners’ strategic outcomes, the essence of the Program is indirectly supported through several strategic outcomes, as summarized in Table 4 below.
Table 4: Alignment of the Program with departmental strategic outcomes
- A fair, relevant, and accessible Canadian justice system
- This strategic outcome includes the development and provision of services related to criminal law and policy. The CAHWC Program aligns with this outcome through the Justice policy work that relates to the legislative framework for pursuing individuals suspected of crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide.
- A federal government that is supported by high-quality legal services
- The CAHWC Section of Justice supports this strategic outcome by providing legal advice and support to the RCMP in conducting investigations and providing legal advice related to Program activities undertaken by the CBSA and IRCC. In addition, the CAHWC Section supports criminal prosecutions of those suspected of crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide.
- Criminal activity affecting Canadians is reduced
- Under the federal policing sub-program, the RCMP “enforces federal laws and protects Canada's institutions, national security, and Canadian and foreign dignitaries.” (RCMP, 2015). The CAHWC Program aligns with this strategic outcome and sub-program through its federal crime enforcement activities, namely, its work conducting criminal investigations related to those individuals suspected of crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide. The RCMP’s war crimes work is explicitly identified as falling under this strategic outcome (specifically, the Federal Crime Enforcement sub-sub-program (22.214.171.124), which contributes to increasing public confidence in the integrity of federal programs and services).
- International trade and travel is facilitated across Canada’s border and Canada’s population is protected from border-related risks
- The CAHWC Program aligns with this CBSA strategic outcome as it operates to screen and flag individuals believed to have committed or been complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide, and when appropriate, enforce orders to remove these individuals from Canada. In so doing, the integrity of the immigration system is upheld by not providing safe haven to individuals believed to have committed or been complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes or genocide.
- Newcomers and citizens participate in fostering an integrated society
- This outcome includes the revocation of citizenship when a person has obtained it fraudulently by knowingly misrepresenting or concealing information, such as involvement in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide.
- Managed migration that promotes Canadian interests and protects the health, safety, and security of Canadians
- This strategic outcome incorporates IRCC’s Migration Control and Security Management Program area, which “aims to ensure the managed migration of foreign nationals and newcomers to Canada” (CIC, 2014b). This is done by ensuring that migration is in accordance with IRPA and accompanying regulations, which is done through the institution of anti-fraud measures and eligibility and admissibility criteria, some of which operate to keep individuals suspected of committing or being complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide out of Canada.
Sources: (CBSA, 2015; CIC, 2014a; Department of Justice Canada, 2015a; RCMP, 2015)
In addition, general Government of Canada priorities to invest in crime prevention and the justice system (2011 Federal Budget), combat crime and terrorism (2011 Speech from the Throne), and uphold victims’ rights (2013 Speech from the Throne) can be more broadly interpreted as being compatible with the goals of the CAHWC Program
Key informants from all partner departments/agencies also believe that the CAHWC Program aligns with their department’s/agency’s strategic outcomes and priorities. For example, the CBSA is responsible for providing integrated border security that supports national security and public safety priorities, and facilitates the free flow of persons and goods. Immigration enforcement to keep individuals who are inadmissible for crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide from entering Canada is seen as a continuing priority at the CBSA in relation to the CAHWC Program. Three of IRCC’s operational objectives — preventing admission, detecting involvement, and revoking citizenship — are relevant to the Program and underlie its strategic outcomes. Both Justice and RCMP key informants also believe that the CAHWC Program remains relevant to departmental priorities.
4.1.4. Is there still a role for the federal government to deliver the Program?
The Canadian legislative framework obligates the federal government to continue to act to prevent and deter entry, or remove individuals who have committed or are complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide
The Government of Canada has exercised its authority to create a legislative framework that obligates the federal government to continue to act to prevent and deter entry, or remove individuals who have committed or are complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide. The government has remedies available in the following legislation: the CAHWC Act, the Extradition Act, IRPA, the Citizenship Act, and the Criminal Code. Furthermore, as shown in Table 5, the Government of Canada has signed a number of international agreements that, among other things, obligate Canada to provide safe haven to refugees while ensuring perpetrators of crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide are excluded, removed, or prosecuted.
Table 5: International commitments and obligations related to addressing crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide
- Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1949)
- Declares genocide as a crime under international law and specifies actions that constitute genocide.
- Convention on the Status of Refugees (1951)
- Defines a Convention refugee, including refugee rights and criteria for exclusion from refugee protection, which includes commission of a crime against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity or a serious non-political crime outside their country of refuge. Canada is also signatory to the 1967 Protocol, which expanded the applicability of the 1951 Convention, removing geographical and time limits that restricted the definition of refugee.
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1987):
- Builds upon the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international covenants by further defining the act of torture and obligation of the state.
- Geneva Conventions of 1949 and additional protocols
- Provides rules limiting the effects of conflict in an effort to protect civilians and others who are not taking part in the conflict (civilians, aid workers) and those who can no longer fight (wounded, prisoners of war) (ICRC, 2010).
- Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (2002)
- Defines the rules, mechanisms, and jurisdiction of the ICC and established the principle of complementarity, where states have the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute CAHWC and genocide domestically. Canada is among 65 other countries that have enacted legislation containing complementarity or cooperation provisions (or both) to implement the Rome Statute (ICC, n.d). The complementarity principle establishes that state parties (such as Canada) have the primary responsibility for investigating and prosecuting persons who have committed or are complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide.
4.2. Performance – Effectiveness
According to the 2009 Treasury Board’s Policy on Evaluation, evaluating performance involves assessing effectiveness, as well as efficiency and economy. The subsections below discuss the effectiveness of the CAHWC Program in achieving its expected outcomes.
4.2.1. Increasing knowledge and awareness of the Program
The Program is expected to engage in training, development of tools and policies, knowledge management, and outreach activities that, taken together, are intended to increase knowledge and awareness of the Program both internally and externally, resulting in more effective Program delivery. Before looking at each of those activities, this section considers departmental and agency staff perceptions of their knowledge of all the Program components, as well as the clarity of roles and responsibilities within the Program.
Partner staff are generally knowledgeable about the Program and consider roles to be clear
The evaluation findings indicate that department and agency staff who undertake work related to the Program are generally knowledgeable of the Program’s components, although the level of knowledge is affected by various factors. The majority of respondents (66%) rated themselves as knowledgeable (31%) or somewhat knowledgeable (35%) of all Program components, including components outside their own areas of the Program. Factors affecting the self-assessment of knowledge are the years of experience, the department/agency of the respondent, and, to a lesser extent, the locations (overseas, region, headquarters) where the respondent worked.
- Respondents from Justice and the CBSA tended to rate themselves as knowledgeable or very knowledgeable, while respondents from IRCC and the RCMP tended to rate themselves as somewhat knowledgeable.
- Respondents with more than five years’ experience were more likely to consider themselves very knowledgeable or knowledgeable compared to those respondents with less experience.
- Based on their self-assessment, respondents who had worked at headquarters were slightly more knowledgeable than those who worked only in the regions or overseas.
|Response||Very knowledgeable||Knowledgeable||Somewhat knowledgeable||Not knowledgeable|
Source: Survey of departmental staff
Caution: Small sample size.
Note: Row totals may not sum to 100%, due to rounding.
|Response||Very knowledgeable||Knowledgeable||Somewhat knowledgeable||Not knowledgeable|
Source: Survey of departmental staff
Caution: Small sample size.
Note: Row totals may not sum to 100%, due to rounding.
|Response||Very knowledgeable||Knowledgeable||Somewhat knowledgeable||Not knowledgeable|
|Less than 1 year||--||--||--||--||2||40%||3||60%|
|Over 10 years||8||40%||5||25%||6||30%||1||5%|
Source: Survey of departmental staff
Caution: Small sample size.
Note: Row totals may not sum to 100%, due to rounding.
|Response||Very knowledgeable||Knowledgeable||Somewhat knowledgeable||Not knowledgeable|
|National HeadquartersTable note i||9||27%||14||41%||9||27%||2||6%|
|Regional unit (only)||7||35%||4||20%||6||30%||3||15%|
|Overseas mission (only)||--||--||3||23%||8||62%||2||15%|
Source: Survey of departmental staff
Caution: Small sample size.
Note: Row totals may not sum to 100%, due to rounding.
- Table note i
If respondents indicated they had worked at NHQ as well as another location, they are included under NHQ for the purpose of this analysis.
Key informants from partner departments and agencies confirmed and provided context for the survey findings. They reported that an understanding of the Program’s various components is much greater for senior staff. Key informants explained that awareness of the Program for staff working in regional offices or overseas may be somewhat lower than for staff working at headquarters because cases related to crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide are rare and their knowledge would be limited to operational policy related to these crimes.
Roles and responsibilities of the partner departments and agencies are generally clear, based on interview and survey findings. Survey results showed most respondents (66%) believe they understand the roles and responsibilities of each partner, although the majority only somewhat agree that the roles of other departments and agencies are clear (see Table 7).
|Not applicable to my work||3||4%|
Source: Survey of departmental staff
Some key informants from the Program provided additional context, noting that changes in structure and personnel within partner departments and agencies have meant that, while each partner’s role is understood, the roles and responsibilities within partner departments and agencies are less clear to other partners. Additionally, they noted that the complexity of remedies also means that partners not directly involved in a remedy do not have the in-depth knowledge of the process. For these reasons, having greater regularity of PCOC meetings and consistent representation of all partners, including representation from the appropriate divisions within partner departments and agencies, is considered vital to the effective operations of the Program. A few key informants mentioned issues with this in the past, when lack of understanding of the different roles within a partner department or agency meant that not all of the relevant people were consulted on an issue being considered by PCOC.
Training of Program partner staff is considered to have declined in terms of availability and adequacy
Based on interview and documentary evidence, the evaluation found that training continues to occur, although complete details for all training activities were not available. Interview and survey results indicate that training is an area for improvement in terms of amount available, level of training, and subject matter of training.
The documentary record of Program training activities does not provide the full extent and type of training offered. While outreach and training activities are discussed at PCOC as a standing agenda item, the focus is more on outreach and few training activities are mentioned. While maintaining a record of these activities was discussed at PCOC, the tool for tracking training and outreach was not developed.
Key informants from partner departments and agencies noted that the availability and adequacy of training specific to crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide has declined over the last several years. Some key informants considered training to be less regular, specific and collaborative than in the past, when the Program was in its early stages. The training challenges took different forms for each partner.
- Interviewees from Justice indicate training programs for counsel are hampered by a lack of funding and challenges in accessing that funding. They pointed out that training, particularly for more experienced counsel, requires international travel as this training is quite specialized and, if training is offered within Canada, experienced or senior counsel within the CAHWC Section are often providing the training.
- Although the CBSA key informants and internal documents praise the Agency’s 2014 War Crimes Intelligence Workshop,Footnote 19 and Agency personnel are pleased with the regular one-on-one “walk through” guidance offered by Justice on specific files, there was concern about the lack of training opportunities at the regional level and the limits of regional travel budgets, which would preclude regional staff from attending Ottawa-based training. They noted that the CBSA generally uses enforcement and operational bulletins to inform personnel about operational policies and address potential gaps, rather than offer formal training.
- Key informants from IRCC noted there is a lack of training tools for regional staff, particularly on the citizenship side. Much of the relevant CAHWC-related training appears to be targeted at overseas IRCC visa officers, and includes refresher courses on the CAHWC Act and regulations and the ability to seek advice through IRCC’s Case Management Branch, which provides guidance on individual cases.
- Although Justice conducted formal training with the RCMP in the past, this has not occurred in recent years, and RCMP interviewees indicated that there is currently no specific training for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. These key informants considered the development of standard, Program-specific training to be challenging because, while much of the essential skills for investigating these crimes are no different from homicide investigations, the contexts within these foreign jurisdictions are unique, differing from case to case. A few key informants emphasized the importance of understanding the specific cultural contexts.
Survey results aligned with key informant opinions. The majority of survey respondents (68%) reported that the amount of training provided is inadequate. These opinions were common across all respondent departments, but were most prominent among the CBSA and IRCC respondents. In addition, just over half of all respondents (53%) disagreed that the level of training available is suitable for someone with their amount of time on the job and responsibilities. These opinions were more prominent among respondents who had worked in areas related to addressing crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide for more than one year. Finally, respondents were somewhat more mixed about whether the subject matter of their current training met their needs, with some (43%) disagreeing and some (38%) agreeing. Table 8 presents overall results.
|Response||Agree||Somewhat agree||Somewhat disagree||Disagree||Not applicable to my work||Don't know|
|The subject matter of current training meets my needs||8||12%||18||26%||13||19%||16||24%||6||9%||7||10%|
|The level of training is suitable for someone with my time on the job and responsibilities||8||12%||14||21%||19||28%||17||25%||7||10%||3||4%|
|The amount of training provided is adequate||6||9%||8||12%||27||40%||19||28%||5||7%||3||4%|
Source: Survey of departmental staff
Note: Row totals may not sum to 100%, due to rounding.
Key informants offered some suggestions for how to improve training:
- Partners should offer more online training (e.g., webinars) and explore other delivery methods that will expand the reach of training opportunities to regional offices.
- Training should become more standardized, as training currently differs across regional offices in the CBSA.
- Some key informants wanted more training on Section 35 of IRPA.
- A few key informants commented that some departments used to offer annual sessions, and wished these could be reinstituted. Two sessions were specifically mentioned: a two-day training session or “open house” given by Justice; and an annual meeting hosted by IRCC, which was considered a valuable opportunity to learn IRCC’s perspective and make contacts.
- Justice staff in the CAHWC Section expressed the desire for opportunities to receive litigation training and experience.
- As Justice will be ‘investigating’ civil cases, the RCMP key informants suggested it may be beneficial for them to have training in interviewing techniques and obtaining witness statements.
Program tools, policies, and procedures are generally considered useful, although areas for improvement were identified
The Program partners have, over time, developed a number of tools, policies, and procedures. Most of these were initially developed outside of the time period covered by the evaluation, but may have been updated or revised since then.
Among survey respondents who were able to comment on the various tools, policies, and procedures, most considered them to be very or somewhat useful. However, for department or agency policies, procedures, and manuals, which should be relevant to all staff, about one-fifth of respondents did not consider them applicable to their work or did not have enough experience with them to rate their usefulness. This result may indicate a need to create more awareness of these tools, policies, and procedures related to the work of the Program. The survey responses also indicate room for improving these resources. For example, about one-third of respondents considered their department or agency’s procedures (34%), manuals (31%) and policies (30%) to be not very useful or not at all useful.
Based on survey results, the tools considered least useful are the CBSA 24-hour telephone support line and screening tools, and those considered most useful are lookouts in computer systems, country reports, and the file review criteria. See Figure 1.
Based on survey results and key informant interviews, there is a need to keep tools, policies, and procedures more up-to-date. Although nearly half of all respondents (48%, see Table 9) indicated that the tools, policies, and procedures they use are kept up-to-date so they remain relevant to their work, over half of all the CBSA respondents (13 out of 22) indicated their tools, policies and procedures were not kept up-to-date. These respondents commented on the need for updated manuals (such as the CBSA Enforcement Manual, and the Tactical Guide to Canada’s CAHWC Program), foreign contact lists, and country profiles. The CBSA reports that specific chapters of training material are updated on an as-needed basis when there is a change in policy. More comprehensive reviews of these resources occur less frequently. The Enforcement Manual was last updated in 2005, although during the evaluation it was in the process of being updated, and the Tactical Guide is from 2009. Key informants noted that the operational bulletins are intended to supplement the manuals until they are updated, but some thought that a ten-year period between reviews was excessive.
|Not applicable to my work||6||10%|
Source: Survey of departmental staff
Base: Respondents who have used at least one tool, policy, or procedure
Based on interviews, Justice counsel, particularly less experienced counsel, desire clearer policies on their role and more guidance on how to approach their work (e.g., they wish to know who has authority over different aspects of a file, when to contact the IAG within Justice). They also wanted more technological support, such as litigation support software applications, including an updated Ringtail.
For the RCMP, the types of support that interviewees indicated are most important to their Program-related work are the specialized policing services such as forensic anthropologists, ballistics experts, and crime scene re-creation experts. According to RCMP interviewees, the greatest impediment to continuity in police investigations is the limits on resourcing options to engage translators in support of investigations. The Public Service Employment Act rules on casual employment restrict hiring for more than 90 days in one calendar year. It is difficult for the investigative team to source a security-cleared interpreter/translator of a specialized language for the duration of the investigation.
The Program has undertaken knowledge management activities, but capacity to develop a coordinated approach has been an issue
Training materials, tools, policies, and procedures discussed above constitute some, but likely not all, of the information assets of the Program. Knowledge management involves capturing, organizing, and sharing this type of information. Generally speaking, knowledge management is considered important to improve the effective and efficient operation of a program, as well as to manage risks associated with the potential loss of expertise that will occur when employees retire or leave the related position.
The Program has undertaken some activities related to knowledge management. Although Program partners continue to collect and develop information, efforts to develop a shared repository of CAHWC information have stalled or become dormant. Probably the most comprehensive attempt at developing a central repository of data, literature, documents, and other materials relevant to the Program was the CBSA Modern War Crimes System (MWCS). According to CBSA key informants, this system fell into disuse for a number of reasons, including loss of funding and personnel (it was labour-intensive to update and maintain), lack of awareness of MWCS (personnel turnover), and the rise of the Internet, which led to staff doing searches on their own for publicly available material.
Other efforts at knowledge management that were undertaken at the PCOC level include:
- The Research Committee
- This committee was intended to build a bridge between Justice and the CBSA. However, it last met in March 2011. While an annual event on sharing research was planned, it does not appear to have occurred.
- The Virtual Library Project
- This project was announced in 2008 as a means of improving the coordination of the Program’s research capacity. Key informants stated that such a tool would be particularly useful because it would allow agencies to share their paper-based archives and list their research products produced over the past decade. The idea was revived in 2013 under the auspices of the Enhanced Cooperation Subcommittee of PCOC. However, based on Program documentation, plans have not progressed beyond the discussion stage.
- The Standardized Training Committee
- This committee’s mandate was to come up with products that can be used by all Program partners for training purposes. To date, the Committee has not produced any products or curricula due to lack of funding to support this work. As of 2013, the work of this committee was put on hold.
- Had committed to maintain a calendar of training and outreach activities, which could be used to document and link to training materials. However, it does not appear that this calendar was developed.
- The War Crimes Program Website
- The website was completed in 2010, but no major refresh of its content has occurred in the last five years. The website is both a knowledge management and an outreach tool. As will be discussed under Outreach, external stakeholders have noticed the staleness of the website.
In general, the level of coordination of knowledge management anticipated in the Program’s logic model (see Appendix A) is not evident from Program activities, which has also meant that some recommendations from the 2008 evaluation remain unaddressed. For example, a coordinated training plan was recommended in the 2008 evaluation and is indicated as a Program output under Knowledge Management; however, the Standardized Training Committee, which appeared to be tasked with developing that plan, has been placed on hold. According to its logic model, the Program also expected to undertake “administrative measures to promote proper recording, preservation, sharing, and transfer of operational/relevant information and records” (Department of Justice Canada, CBSA, RCMP, and CIC, 2013). As noted above, the MWCS, which the 2008 evaluation recommended improving and upgrading, is dormant. In addition, the lack of a centralized research database has resulted in a lack of coordinated research efforts, with the four Program partners independently conducting open-source research, creating substantial overlap, according to a few key informants. Given that the Program emphasizes its multi-disciplinary, coordinated approach as a major benefit, the lack of a coordinated training plan and a centralized research repository appears to be a major gap in its knowledge management efforts.
Outreach activities are ongoing, but could potentially be more coordinated and targeted
The Program’s outreach activities are intended to increase the knowledge and awareness of the Program by populations with a particular interest in crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide (e.g., NGOs that work in the area, organizations that assist diaspora communities, other countries that want to learn from the Program’s experience) as well as the general public. The evaluation findings indicate that the Program partners have individually participated in outreach activities during the evaluation period. Notably, few of these activities targeted the public. Examples of the type of outreach activities are listed below:Footnote 20
- Justice representatives attending the EU Genocide Network, which is considered good for sharing best practices and learning from other countries
- Program partners making presentations at various conferences, schools, and universities
- the Program’s public presence with website and annual reports
- meetings with other countries (e.g., the United States) to share best practices
- training for other countries (e.g., the CBSA conducted training in Islamabad, Pakistan)
- the CBSA workshop on war crimes intelligence (see discussion under training, above), which was attended by other countries and NGOs in addition to Program partners
- Justice working with NGOs and academic institutions to deliver courses on the CAHWC Act
- RCMP contribution to best practices to international police colleagues through attendance at INTERPOL and Europol symposia on CAHWC
- the CBSA’s current Intelligence and Analysis Section’s weekly publication related to contemporary war crimes, which is used as an outreach tool within the CBSA, IRCC, and international partners
- an outreach plan developed by the RCMP and Justice, which involved the creation of a pamphlet and work with diaspora communities from Rwanda and the Balkans
- media coverage of CAHWC prosecutions, which serves as a form of outreach
While outreach continues to occur, the evaluation found that the Program has not followed through on suggestions to address identified gaps, such as developing a combined outreach plan among partners and conducting more outreach to groups in Canada, both of which were raised in the 2008 evaluation as well as in 2010 at PCOC. Coordination of outreach may be affected by the decision to forego discussions on outreach at each PCOC meeting and instead use a calendar to record these activities; the calendar of outreach and training events, as noted above in the section on training, has not been developed. Also, in 2010, PCOC established the Education Needs and Outreach Committee, led by Justice and the RCMP, which would be responsible for promoting the Program, providing presentations, and producing products.
Some Program key informants still believe the Program needs to do more outreach with victim communities on a proactive and timely basis. According to Program key informants, the Program’s initial efforts to do outreach with Rwandan and Balkan diaspora communities did not work well and there was a lack of response from these and other target communities. However, the Program has continued to consider options in this activity area. In particular, over the past year, the Program has been considering options, around how best to reach Syrian refugees with information about the Program.
Survey and interview findings also indicate that outreach is an area for improvement. When asked to rate the level of awareness of international and domestic stakeholders who deal with human rights abuses, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, less than one-third of survey respondents believe these groups are very aware of the Program, although most respondents believe these groups are at least somewhat aware. One-quarter of survey respondents believe that the public is at least somewhat aware. See Figure 2.
In addition, most survey respondents who offered opinions do not believe that outreach efforts to raise awareness with domestic or international stakeholders are sufficient (see Table 10).
|Statement||Agree||Somewhat agree||Somewhat disagree||Disagree||Not applicable to my work||Don't know|
|The outreach efforts to raise awareness with international stakeholders are sufficient||3||4%||7||10%||8||12%||15||22%||10||15%||25||37%|
|The outreach efforts to raise awareness with domestic stakeholders are sufficient||1||1%||8||12%||12||18%||19||28%||8||12%||20||29%|
Source: Survey of departmental staff
Note: Row totals may not sum to 100%, due to rounding.
Key informant opinions aligned with and provided additional context for the survey findings. Program key informants reported that the Program has done some outreach work, such as working with NGOs and academic institutions to deliver courses on the CAHWC Act, and with diaspora communities, who can be a viable source of complaints, but they also noted more could be done. Academic and NGO key informants believed more Program outreach to domestic and international NGOs would help increase knowledge of the Program. They also suggested greater outreach with victims/survivors and victims’ organizations to ensure diaspora communities are aware of the Program and how it works.
Online publications through the Program’s website (annual reports, press releases) and/or publications by Program experts in crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide were a commonly recognized form of Program outreach. However, both Program and external key informants pointed out that the website has had few updates since 2010, and that the annual report for the Program has not been available for a number of years; as such it remains an inadequate vehicle for communicating with the external stakeholder groups and the general public.
4.2.2. Effective allegation management
According to the Program’s performance measurement strategy, allegation management is “the way in which the Program partners determine the disposition of cases” (Department of Justice Canada et al., 2013). There are several possible dimensions to allegation management, including identifying and screening allegations, investigating allegations, selecting and implementing remedies, and monitoring outcomes.
The evaluation findings indicate that, in general, the Program has effectively managed allegations; however, the limited knowledge of the Program as a whole among key informants and survey respondents lessens the strength of this finding. Many interviewees from partner departments could only comment on aspects of managing allegations in which they were directly involved. Some of these interviewees, but especially NGOs and academic key informants, said their ability to assess the effectiveness of allegation management was limited given the lack of up-to-date performance reporting and outcome information for the Program.
The Program is considered effective in identifying and screening allegations
Identification and screening allegations are considered important aspects of allegation management as they can send a message to individuals who have been involved with or complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide and to their networks (which may include other war criminals) that Canada will not provide a safe haven. Key informants from across the stakeholder groups (Program, international peer community, NGOs, and academics) recognized the importance of IRCC and the CBSA’s admissibility screening, and some described Canada’s approach to screening as very effective and advanced compared to other jurisdictions. In particular, the standard screening tools/questionnaires/protocols used by IRCC and CBSA staff for screening asylum seekers were noted as innovative and best practices that other countries should learn from and emulate.
A few key informants pointed out that conflicts that give rise to crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide can be localized and require very specialized knowledge of the region and the conflict in order to identify those who may have committed or been complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide. Program partners believe that tools are assisting with identification and screening for involvement or complicity in crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide, although there is interest in more training and updated tools (see Section 4.2.1). In addition to tools, collaboration among partners such as the CBSA, working with experts at Justice to ensure the CBSA’s screening took into account region specific-conflicts, helps ensure this step in allegation management is effective.
The Program is considered to conduct well-organized, detailed investigations of allegations, but resource constraints remain an issue
Few external stakeholders could comment on the effectiveness of the Program in investigating allegations, but those who did commended the RCMP for their well-organized, detailed, and well-executed investigation plan. All key informant groups noted the resource-intensive nature of CAHWC investigations. Several key informants (particularly Program partners, but also international peer organizations) raised concerns about the resource constraints of the RCMP, and how these constraints are affecting the number of active investigations that the RCMP can conduct. The RCMP position is that criminal investigations are prioritized and pursued in keeping with the Program’s capacity to pursue criminal investigations and prosecutions. The 2008 evaluation recommended funding to increase the investigative capacity of the RCMP. The resource demands on the RCMP are well beyond the CAHWC funding received; it was noted that expenditures exceeded the available Program allocation by between 50% and 150% (fiscal years 2010-11 to 2012-13). Justice has recently worked with the RCMP to reduce the criminal inventory by shifting files to IRCC and Justice to pursue immigration remedies, which is hoped to reduce the investigative burden on the RCMP.
RCMP and Justice work closely on investigations and recognize the need to have effective coordination
Both RCMP and Justice key informants spoke of the closeness of their working relationship on these investigations, as they can persist for years. They also acknowledged that the working relationship between the departments remains a work in progress. Several issues were mentioned:
- Coordination between Justice and the RCMP regarding the active criminal inventory could be improved. There have been situations in which priorities regarding which files should be active are not aligned, and files are pursued that the other partner has not prioritized and/or has closed. Key informants suggested that the RCMP and Justice need to communicate better on what files are priorities.
- RCMP key informants believe that investigations for the CAHWC Program could be improved and made more efficient by earlier and/or more direct involvement of the PPSC. Currently, the Justice CAHWC Section works directly with the RCMP on the investigations. Justice key informants noted that the cost of earlier involvement of the PPSC was a factor in the timing and type of involvement PPSC has on files that are being investigated.
- Both Justice and RCMP interviewees believe that Justice’s CAHWC Section would benefit from having more counsel with more experience in criminal litigation.
- The role of counsel in investigations was raised as an area that has, at least in the past, created tension. The level of Justice counsel involvement in investigations appears to vary by counsel and file, and may not always recognize that the RCMP is both the lead and the client on the file. As a result, a few key informants noted that Justice’s work products may not be seen as adding value to the investigation. Counsel desired greater clarity with respect to their role so that they would not be duplicating work or overstepping their authority in making information requests related to criminal investigations.
The File Review Subcommittee and criteria used to select remedies and prioritize files are considered effective
The selection and implementation of remedies was identified as an area where the Program had demonstrated improvement during the time period covered by the 2008 evaluation. Based on Program documents, to use limited resources most effectively and handle the volume of potential matters, the Program established a priority for using remedies. The highest priority is given to prevention remedies, which are to deny overseas visa applicants for whom there are reasonable grounds to believe they committed or were complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide. Second priority is given to the immigration remedies (i.e., refugee exclusion, admissibility hearings, and deportation proceedings). Citizenship revocation and criminal prosecutions, which rely heavily on thorough investigations for the evidence to support them, are considered critically important remedies, but are used selectively given the resources these remedies require. Criteria for determining which files are selected for the criminal inventory are adjusted depending on emerging pressures facing the Program, but they include factors such as seriousness of allegations, the presence of victims in Canada, and the returnability to the countries of origin.Footnote 21 Program key informants commented that the file review process has continued to improve, and they generally believe that the Program is making the best decisions regarding how to direct its resources.
The focus on prevention and immigration remedies received criticism from some stakeholder groups
All key informants emphasized Canada’s continued commitment to addressing allegations of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide through the Program. While acknowledging the cost of conducting criminal investigations leading to prosecutions for these crimes, some external (international peer community, NGOs, and academics) and Program key informants expressed a desire for the Program to attempt more prosecutions. These key informants criticized the emphasis on immigration remedies, as they view these remedies to be less effective in holding individuals who have committed or are complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide accountable.
Key Program strengths in allegation management are the multi-departmental approach and the expertise of staff
Many key informants across the stakeholder groups mentioned the Program’s multi-departmental approach, which brings together expertise and information across multiple disciplines as contributing to effective allegation management. Bringing individuals together from the partner departments and agencies was considered important to properly assess which remedy is appropriate. In addition, many key informants referred to the quality and expertise of Program staff, describing these individuals as world-class, knowledgeable, motivated, and very committed to their work. A few key informants highlighted the importance of having long-term or specialized staff working for the CAHWC Program, since these roles lead to cumulative knowledge and expertise.
Sharing information among partners is an important element of successful allegation management
As shown in the process flows for the remedies (see Appendix D), each remedy can involve multiple Program partnersFootnote 22 and different remedies may be used sequentially in some situations. As a result, the working relationship among the partners is a key element affecting effective allegation management. Key informants from partner departments and agencies generally praised the working relationship among Program partners, often commenting positively on the regularity of communications and meetings among partners.
Many of these key informants also referred to challenges related to sharing information within a multi-departmental/multi-jurisdictional environment. They explained that each Program partner stores their case information in separate databases, which, for structural and legal reasons, are not directly accessible to other Program partners. To work around this challenge, Program partners have developed different strategies to indirectly share case information, with mixed success.
For example, Justice and IRCC have developed a mechanism to facilitate locating and retrieving relevant case information, when appropriate, through a part-time IRCC liaison that is stationed in the CAHWC Section of Justice (although is still an employee of IRCC). Key informants from Justice explained that the liaison makes retrieving immigration files and information from IRCC faster and easier. These key informants believe this role has been tremendously helpful and has improved the relationship between IRCC and Justice. They desire to maintain this arrangement.
Another example of indirect sharing are the file transfer protocols developed between the RCMP and Justice and between Justice and the CBSA to indirectly transfer investigations from the RCMP to the CBSA through Justice. This happens in cases where there was insufficient information to further pursue criminal investigations, but still potential for the CBSA to pursue regulatory enforcement. The protocol involves the RCMP transferring case information to Justice, who then vets the information and provides the CBSA with information deemed releasable under privacy legislation. However, the CBSA key informants reported that the information provided is frequently missing important background information, which could assist the CBSA in making presentations to the IRB. As a result, the CBSA regional staff must conduct their own investigation which, according to the CBSA key informants, is duplicative and lacks the scope and detail that would come out of RCMP or Justice investigations.
RCMP key informants were frustrated by the amount of time it takes to transfer information domestically and internationally, and were concerned about the potential for Program and international partners to be duplicating efforts. These key informants suggested integrating domestic resources through a joint task force or by co-locating Program partners.
Case studies were a useful source for more specific operational information on how the partners work together. In case studies, some issues arose in terms of getting information from other partners in a timely manner (e.g., requests from RCMP to the CBSA or IRCC for information to support investigations).
Monitoring outcomes is identified as an area for improvement
Program key informants believe more regular performance reporting would create more accountability within the Program. Other key informants (NGOs, academics) also mentioned the lack of regular performance reports available online. A few key informants from partner departments/agencies also want the Program to conduct more monitoring of outcomes. There is the desire for internal reporting that tracks decisions in files and provides a feedback loop so that, for example, the final decision on screening for files on which it was consulted is relayed to the CBSA.
Overall assessment in allegation management
Survey findings indicate that the Program is successful in implementing most remedies. Those respondents who could provide an opinion believed that most remedies have been successfully implemented by the Program. The prosecution remedy was the one exception. Based on key informant findings discussed above, this assessment of the lack of success in implementing prosecutions is likely due to the small number of prosecutions and the resource constraints that limit the ability to pursue this remedy.
4.2.3. Deterring and preventing persons believed to have committed or been complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide from entering Canada
While there is no definitive evidence on whether the Program has deterred persons who have committed or been complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide from entering Canada, Canada has denied about 2,800 visas due to reasonable grounds for commission or complicity in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide since 2003–04. As discussed in Section 4.2.2., key informants and survey respondents consider IRCC and the CBSA screening processes to be effective in denying visas to persons believed to have committed or been complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide to prevent them from coming to Canada. Some key informants pointed out that the denial of visas sends a message to individuals who have been involved with or complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide and their networks (which may include other war criminals) that Canada will not provide a safe haven. Similarly, while key informants could not comment specifically on the deterring effect of Canada’s CAHWC prosecutions, many academic, NGO, and international key informants generally believe that prosecutions deter perpetrators from traveling to jurisdictions that will prosecute these crimes.
The Program performance data show that the number of visas assessed overseas and denied because of reasonable grounds to believe the applicant committed or was complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide has varied somewhat over the last decade, as might be expected based on variations in immigration patterns, but has averaged about 2,700 visa applications per fiscal year. As shown in Table 11, in the time period covered by this evaluation for which data are available (FY 2009–10 to 2013–14), the number of applications assessed overseas for crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide has fluctuated per fiscal year. The number of visa applications denied for commission or complicity in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide has declined substantially in the last three fiscal years for which data are available. In the previous five-year period (FY 2004–05 to 2008–09) a total of 1,867 visas were denied, compared to 701 visas in the most recent five-year period for which there is data. This decline is not reflected in the volume of visas assessed and, therefore, could be based on policy and operational factors and which populations apply for visas in a given year. The evaluation cannot speculate on the factors that might explain the decline in visa refusals based on commission or complicity in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide.
|2003-04||2004-05||2005-06||2006-07||2007-08||2008-09||2009-10||2010-11||2011-12||2012-13||2013-14||2014-15Table note iii||Total|
|Temporary resident visa||1,969||2,480||2,879||1,883||2,053||2,953||2,864||2,418||3,791||2,675||2,397||n/a||28,362|
|Permanent resident visa||331||171||145||146||191||197||371||216||39||103||184||n/a||2,094|
|Total deniedTable note ii||242||385||367||361||326||428||269||215||45||97||75||n/a||2,810|
Source: Program data.
- Table note ii
According to the Program performance reports, this number includes visa applications denied because of reasonable grounds to believe the applicant committed or was complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide; applicants who withdrew their visa applications when asked for more information during screening; and applications denied for other reasons, even though there were reasonable grounds to believe the applicant committed or was complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide.
- Table note iii
n/a – data not available
A few key informants noted that there is not a feedback loop for the Program to understand how individuals screened for crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide and who are declared eligible to enter Canada are later found in the inventory for immigration, criminal investigation/revocation, or investigation/prosecution remedies. This information would indicate how successful the Program is in preventing persons who have committed or are complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide from entering Canada.
4.2.4. Removing persons believed to have committed or been complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide
Once individuals suspected of crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide have entered Canada or are seeking refugee status from within Canada or at a port of entry, the Program has various remedies that, if successful, may ultimately result in their removal.
Assessing Program performance with the available data, as demonstrated in the sections that follow, is difficult. The performance data are based on annual totals for each remedy in isolation from each other, which limits the ability to assess success by knowing, for example, what proportion of individuals excluded from refugee protection is eventually removed from Canada. In addition, unless the person formally complies with the removal order, the Program does not know whether the individual has left Canada. In some cases, individuals with removal orders may leave the country without notifying officials.
With these limitations in mind, the Program performance data show a pattern of use of the remedies that align with the emphasis on immigration remedies over those of citizenship revocation and prosecution.
Exclusion from refugee status
As described in Section 2.4., the CBSA can intervene in refugee claims before the IRB that raise concerns about the claimant’s possible involvement in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide. If the IRB finds a person excluded from refugee protection, the CBSA may initiate admissibility proceedings for a finding of inadmissibility under s. 35 of IRPA or directly initiate removal proceedings where a removal order exists and is in force.
Based on performance data, both the number of refugee claims investigated for commission or complicity in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide and the number of interventions filed by the CBSA have varied year to year, which may be due to a variety of factors, including variations in volume of refugee claims and countries of origin of individuals claiming refugee status.
Using the previous six-year period (2003–04 to 2008–09) as a baseline and comparing it to the six-year period covered by the current evaluation (2009–10 to 2014–15) shows that the number of exclusions and denials as a proportion of total interventions has increased from 55% to 63%. This result must not be interpreted as the percentage of successful interventions. For each six-year period, some refugee claims in which the CBSA had intervened would be ongoing and some decisions made by the IRB would be based on interventions initially filed before the six-year period. That said, the number of war crimes-related exclusions and denials of refugee protection as a proportion of total interventions in which the CBSA has challenged refugee status on the basis of crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide is an indication of success (as seen in Table 12).
The data also appear to reflect the impact of the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Ezokola v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration),  2 SCR 678, which changed the test for assessing whether a claimant should be denied refugee status because of involvement in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide. The Supreme Court of Canada rejected the idea that exclusion under Article 1F(a) of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention) can be made based on “mere association”, and instead required evidence that an individual has made “a voluntary, knowing and significant contribution to the crime or the criminal purpose of a group.”
|Refugee claims investigated by the CBSA for commission or complicity in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide||883||2,024||1,373||1,395||612||549||794||680||602||503||365||445|
|Number of Interventions for exclusion filed by the CBSA for commission or complicity in crimes against humanity, war crimes or genocide||387||155||237||82||80||112||87||88||103||59||77||41|
|Cases excluded from refugee protection (reasonable grounds to believe commission or complicity in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide)||63||79||40||31||26||18||25||31||37||34||8||5|
|Cases denied protection for reasons other than crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide where an intervention for exclusion was filed||107||75||53||36||34||19||24||27||15||31||38||10|
Source: Program data.
Admissibility hearings before the IRB occur when foreign nationals or permanent residents who are already in Canada have become subject to allegations of crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide. If the person is a refugee claimant, the refugee claim is suspended pending the outcome of the admissibility hearing. A member at the IRB hears the case and decides whether the person should be allowed to remain in Canada. The volume of admissibility hearings is small and has declined over the last six years (2009–10 to 2014–15). The number of cases under investigation at the end of each fiscal year has also declined for refugee claimants in the last six years compared to that of the previous six years. The evaluation cannot speculate as to the reasons for the decline. See Table 13 and Table 14.
|Claimant found inadmissible and ordered for deportation (reasonable grounds to believe commission or complicity in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide||n/a||0||1||3||1||4||3||2||0||4||0||2|
|Claimant found not inadmissible following hearing regarding crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide||n/a||1||1||0||0||1||2||3||1||1||4||3|
|Cases still under investigation at end of FY||115||65||27||23||31||16||30||28||33||37||54||41|
n/a — data not available
Source: Program data.
|Claimant found inadmissible and ordered for deportation (reasonable grounds to believe commission or complicity in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide||n/a||3||4||4||4||19||6||5||5||8||7||3|
|Claimant found admissible following hearing regarding crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide||n/a||2||2||2||1||2||13||7||5||2||1||2|
|Cases still under investigation at end of FY||883||663||346||691||701||161||118||132||232||105||80||35|
n/a –data not available
Source: Program data.
Persons who are excluded from refugee protection or have otherwise been found to be inadmissible are subject to the removal process, which can lead to removal from Canada. Removing individuals from Canada is a complex process. The performance data reflect this complexity, as over the last 12 years, there remains a sizeable pending inventory of enforceable removal orders.
With the exception of 2011-13, the performance data show a general decline in removals since 2006–07. From 2003–09, there were 207 removals and from 2010–15, there were 138 removals on the ground of involvement or complicity in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide. In addition, at the end of 2014–15, there were 181 outstanding warrants for removal of these individuals. Immigration warrants are issued when an individual does not report for removal or for other immigration proceedings, such as admissibility hearings. The difficulty with assessing Program performance on the basis of outstanding immigration warrants is that individuals may leave Canada without notifying the CBSA, and since Canada has no exit controls, the Program does not know how many of the individuals with outstanding warrants may have already left.
Figure 4: Removals inventory
Figure 4: Removals inventory - Text Version
|Fiscal Year||Number of successful removals for CAHWC-related cases||Number in the pending inventory of enforceable removal order for CAHWC-related cases||Number of unenforceable removals (stayed, travel documents, PRRA)||Number of outstanding warrants for removal for CAHWC-related cases|
Revocation of citizenship
This remedy operates through the Citizenship Act, which enables the government to revoke the citizenship of persons who obtained their citizenship through misrepresentation, fraud, and knowingly concealing material circumstances. This remedy is used as part of the CAHWC Program when an individual fails to disclose information related to commission or complicity in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide. Once citizenship is revoked and all appeals are exhausted, a person reverts to their former status as a permanent resident or foreign national and may be subject to an admissibility hearing and removal.
The process for citizenship revocation has changed with the amendments to the Citizenship Act, which took effect in May 2015. The GIC is no longer involved under the new process, which is expected to shorten it. Under the previous model, there were many steps in the process that required intensive use of resources, and this limited the number of cases that could be pursued. Given this complexity, citizenship revocations were taking approximately three to five years, according to IRCC. Any effects of the changes to the citizenship revocation process are outside the scope of this evaluation, but the work underway to support the new process is discussed in Section 4.3.4.
The Program has pursued four citizenship revocation cases for modern war crimes under the previous model. One person has had his citizenship revoked by the GIC and has left Canada. In two cases, the Federal Court found in favour of the Minister’s position.Footnote 23 Additionally, there are two cases in the revocation process.
Criminal investigations and prosecutions
To date, the Program has pursued two criminal prosecutions for modern war crimes.
- One person, Désiré Munyaneza, was convicted of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide for his actions during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole for 25 years, which is the harshest sentence available under Canadian law. His appeals were exhausted at the end of 2014.
- In another case involving the Rwandan genocide, Jacques Mungwarere was found not guilty after 26 weeks of trial. In 2013, the court ruled that although Mungwarere's testimony was not credible, the Crown had not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Table 15 shows the RCMP and Justice’s inventory of modern war crimes cases between 2005–06 and 2014–15.
|Files open at start of FY||88||57||62||55||54||58||58||65||49||28|
|Files added||10||8||2||5||10||4||7||18||11||n/aTable note iv|
|Files closed||41||3||9||6||6||4||0||34||32||n/aTable note iv|
Source: Administrative data.
n/a – data not available
- Table note iv
A file closing backlog had been addressed as well as a number of new allegations received. As of February 1, 2016, there were 66 active files, including ‘initial allegations’ (i.e., those files being assessed in order to provide a recommendation to the File Review Subcommittee), criminal (RCMP) and civil files.
4.2.5. Canada’s leadership regarding crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide issues
An expected outcome for the Program is that its work will demonstrate Canada’s leadership in addressing crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. The evaluation findings show that Canada is still considered one of the leading nations in the fight against impunity, but that there is a perception that it has stepped back a bit from its earlier vanguard role.
Canada has historically been a leader and continues to be influential, with well-regarded expertise
Canada was an early leader in adopting a comprehensive strategy to address crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. Canada was the 14th country to sign the Rome Statute and, in June 2000, became the first country in the world to implement the Rome Statute with the passage of the CAHWC Act (GAC, 2015). Many key informants recognized Canada’s historic leadership role citing the CAHWC Act (and prosecuting cases under the Act), the early creation of dedicated war crimes units in the RCMP and Justice, and Canada’s role in the creation of the ICC.
International and external key informants reported that Canada has influenced other jurisdictions’ approaches to modern war crimes. Program key informants reported that the CAHWC Act has influenced the drafting of other countries’ national legislation. Interviewees from the UK and New Zealand indicated that their approach emulates aspects of the CAHWC Program. For example, the CBSA’s approach to security screening formed the foundation of how the UK’s Office of Security and Counter Terrorism’s Special Cases UnitFootnote 24 carries out its operations. The 2008 evaluation noted that the Canadian model also influenced approaches taken in Denmark and Australia (Department of Justice Canada, 2008, p. 39).
Furthermore, the body of Canadian jurisprudence related to crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide has become an important source of guidance for other countries. For example, New Zealand’s former Refugee Status Appeals Authority (now the Immigration and Protection Tribunal, or IPT) has relied upon Canadian jurisprudence in its decisions (Rikhof, 2009, p. 479). Country study interviews confirmed that Canadian court decisions serve as an important source of information.
Key informants (NGO, academic, international peer community) credited much of Canada’s leadership role to the CAHWC experts within Canada’s Program. In particular, personnel within Justice’s CAHWC Section were recognized by international, academic, and NGO key informants as international experts in prosecuting these crimes domestically. These key informants also expressed appreciation for the CAHWC Section’s openness to information sharing and provision of training and guidance to other countries. International key informants also praised the professionalism and care Canadian prosecutors and RCMP investigators have taken when working with witnesses to ensure they would not be re-traumatized and would be comfortable enough to provide testimony. International key informants characterized RCMP investigations as well organized, with detailed investigation plans, and commented positively on the collaboration between the RCMP and Justice counsel.
For a few international key informants, although Canada is not considered a leader, it is still regarded as an experienced country in the fight against impunity.
Canada’s leadership perceived to be waning or at risk of waning
For some key informants, Canada’s leadership on issues related to crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide is perceived to have waned or is at risk of waning. Specifically, some of these key informants focused on federal government international activities that did not seem to align with Canada’s historic image as a leader on these issues. Examples provided by key informants include Canada staying out of initiatives in 2013 and 2014 to encourage the UN Security Council to refer Syria to the ICC, Canada’s position on Palestine becoming a member of the ICC,Footnote 25 and Canada’s refusal to endorse budget increases for ICC programs, despite the ICC’s growing case load. A few key informants pointed out that Canada used to lead in its strong support of the ICC, which influenced the responses of other countries. While Canada has continued to meet its ICC funding obligations,Footnote 26 it has advocated for zero nominal growth in the ICC’s budget, recommending budgetary efficiencies and more disciplined use of Court resources (GoC, 2013, 2014, 2015).
Notably, although Canada played a key role in establishing the ICC and was among the first countries to ratify and implement the Rome Statute, the Government of Canada has not yet ratified the Rome Statute’s 2010 amendments on crimes of aggression and additional prohibitions on chemical and other weapons (GoC, 2015). That being said, the vast majority of states that ratified the original Rome Statute have not yet ratified the 2010 amendments (UNTC, 2016).
A few key informants also believe the Program has become a lower priority for the federal government, whose political commitments (along with resources) have shifted toward anti-terrorism or organized crime initiatives. However, Canada is not alone in these shifting priorities; a few international key informants, as well as information from the UK and France country studies, also indicated that funding for their CAHWC initiatives competes with national priorities, such as funding for anti-terrorism activities, which have become high profile domestic crime and public safety priorities in these jurisdictions.
Some internal and external key informants also referred to Canada’s record on prosecutions as an indicator of leadership. While many key informants (internal and external) recognize the substantial cost of prosecuting crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide and the high standard of proof required for such prosecutions, and generally commend Canada for undertaking any prosecutions, they believe the results are not meeting earlier Program expectations. Recent performance indicates the Program conducts one or two prosecutions every five years.
Some external key informants compared Canada’s performance to European jurisdictions, such as Belgium, which has had 10 prosecutions since 2002, and has another 103 cases under investigation or on trial (Eurojust, 2014, p. 31). International key informants also commented on Sweden’s recent successes. Sweden established its war crimes unit in 2008 and implemented its Rome Statute legislation in 2014, but has managed to complete five prosecutions and have another 26 cases under investigation or on trial (Eurojust, 2014, p. 31). International key informants attributed Sweden’s success to adequate resourcing, while many internal and external key informants attributed Canada’s lack of prosecutions to a shortage of Program funding, indicating the Program is doing what it can within the budget it is provided.
4.2.6. Extent Program assists Canada in meeting its international obligations
The Program is helping Canada meet its international obligations through its management of allegations
Most key informants (internal and external) believe that Canada is meeting its international obligations. Allegations of crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide are taken seriously. Program data demonstrate that Canada has used the available remedies to respond to allegations of these serious international crimes (see Sections 4.2.3. and 4.2.4.).
The Program assists Canada in meeting obligations for international cooperation and information sharing
Many domestic and international key informants generally believe Canada is meeting its international obligations regarding crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. Some of these key informants focused specifically on how Canada is meeting its international obligations to share information about international crimes through INTERPOL and the EU Genocide Network and provide mutual legal assistance to international partners. Internal documents show Canada has expanded its information sharing network through a number of MOUs, including the Five Country ConferenceFootnote 27 (FCC) with Australia, Canada, the UK, the United States of America and most recently New Zealand. The FCC allows for cooperation and exchange of information in investigations relating to crimes that fall under Article 1F(a) of the Refugee Convention (Bolhuis & Wijk, 2015, p. 43). International MOUs on mutual non-coercive assistance in matters related to CAHWC and genocide have also been established with the Republic of Croatia (2006), the Republic of Honduras (2007), and the Republic of Serbia (2009).
Survey findings are in accord with key informant opinions. Most of the survey respondents believe that the Program has made a minor or substantial contribution through sharing information/intelligence with international partners about the allegations against specific individuals and through sharing information/intelligence with international partners about the context and history of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. The results do indicate a potential area for improvement, as almost half of respondents considered the Program’s contribution to be minor. Suggestions made by Program and external key informants in improving information sharing internally are discussed in Section 4.3.5.
|Substantial contribution||Minor contribution||No contribution||Negative contribution|
|Sharing information/intelligence with international partners on the allegations against specific individuals||21||31%||33||49%||13||19%||1||1%|
|Sharing information/intelligence with international partners on the context and history||20||29%||32||47%||15||22%||1||1%|
Source: Survey of departmental staff
Note: Row totals may not sum to 100% due to rounding.
In addition to these generally positive findings about the Program’s international cooperation, the evaluation found some evidence of Canada’s assistance to the ICC, beyond providing monetary contributions, in meeting the Rome Statute’s specific obligations to cooperate with and provide assistance to the ICC in its investigation and prosecution of crimes within the jurisdiction of the international court (ICC, 2011 Articles 86, 87, 93).
Program funding is a constraint on the ability to more fully fulfill the complementarity principle
The Rome Statute’s complementarity principle establishes that state parties (such as Canada) have the primary responsibility for investigating and prosecuting persons who have committed or are complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide. As discussed earlier, Canada demonstrated its commitment to this obligation by enacting legislation to implement the Rome Statute in 2001, and has acted upon this obligation by conducting two prosecutions for modern war crimes.
As noted above, many key informants recognized the substantial cost of prosecuting crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide, and attribute Canada’s lack of prosecutions to inadequate funding. Several interviewees, representing all key informant groups, were more critical of Canada’s record on prosecution, believing Canada is doing the minimum to meet its obligations to prosecute crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide domestically. These key informants questioned Canada’s preference for immigration remedies, arguing this approach displaces international criminals, but does not hold them accountable. Arguably, while this remedy is Canada’s most cost-effective means of achieving the Program’s no safe haven outcome, this approach does not contribute to fulfilling the Rome Statute’s principle of complementarity.
4.3. Performance – Efficiency and Economy
The Treasury Board Secretariat’s 2009 Directive on the Evaluation Function describes the analysis of efficiency and economy as an “assessment of resource utilization in relation to the production of outputs and progress toward expected outcomes.” The evaluation of the CAHWC Program assessed efficiency and economy in two ways:
- First, the evaluation assessed the economy of the Program by considering whether Program resources were expended as planned by comparing planned-to-actual resource use/spending for the Program with an explanation of any variance.
- Second, the evaluation assessed the allocative efficiency of the Program by considering whether the resources used to achieve outcomes were reasonable.
As noted in Section 2.7, the CAHWC Program has operated with the same budget of $15.6 million per fiscal year since its inception in 1998. The evaluation cannot fully determine whether the resources were expended as planned given that two of the four partner departments do not currently track their CAHWC Program expenditures. As IRCC and the CBSA funding is A-base funding, it has been co-mingled with other funding used to support immigration activities, whether or not related to the Program Given the nature of their work, the regular course of duties of most incumbents’ positions will include work on crimes against humanity, war crimes or genocide as well as other files, and the time spent on each type of file is not currently tracked. The CBSA reported having spent all of its funding ($7.2 million annually) but noted that there is no longer a designated CAHWC Unit at the CBSA. Admissibility under IRPA, which includes crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide, is a programmatic function across the Operations Branch. Therefore, the CBSA estimates it spends considerably more through its base funding
Based on available financial information and key informant opinions, the evaluation has found that the Program is showing signs of financial strain. A major theme in the interviews of departmental staff was also that investigations are under-resourced. RCMP key informants reported that a lack of funding for war crimes investigations means these investigations use resources allocated to other mandates, which the available financial data supports as expenditures exceeded the available CAHWC Program budget by between 50% and 150% (FY 2010–11 to 2012–13). While the RCMP tracks the funding it receives for the CAHWC Program, not all expenditures are separately tracked. For example, investigators draw upon other specialized services within the RCMP — such as forensic anthropologists, polygraph experts, ballistics experts, and geospatial services — for support. The costs for these services are not charged to the SII Unit.
4.3.2. Allocative efficiency
The Program’s primary method for addressing allocative efficiency is focusing its resources on the less costly methods of ensuring that Canada does not become a safe haven for those suspected of involvement in modern war crimes. As noted earlier in Section 4.2.2, the Program has prioritized prevention (overseas processing of visas) and immigration remedies (refugee exclusion, inadmissibility hearings and deportation). Lower priority is citizenship revocation followed by prosecutions. Table 17 presents estimated costs for each remedy based on simple and complex scenarios. The costs map directly onto the priorities established for the use of the remedies with the highest priority (denial of visa) having the lowest cost, and the lowest priority (prosecutions) having the highest cost. The use of the remedies also reflects the priorities established with denial of visas being most used, followed by exclusion for refugee claim determination process, admissibility hearing and removal under IRPA, revocation of citizenship, and prosecution.
|Remedy||Estimated cost per caseTable note viii||Use of remedy on CAHWC-related grounds (2009–10 to 2014–15)|
|SimpleTable note vii||Complex|
|Denial of visa/entry to persons outside Canada - Without the CBSA involvement||$34||$175||
15,058 applications assessedTable note vi
701 visas denied
|Denial of visa/entry to persons outside Canada - With the CBSA involvement||$1,405||$6,280|
|Admissibility/eligibility/exclusion for refugee claim determination process (assumes intervention, PRRA)||$25,903||$55,162||
3,389 refugee claims investigated
455 interventions for exclusion filed by the CBSA
285 individuals excluded/denied refugee protectionFootnote 28
|Investigation/admissibility hearing and removal under IRPA - Non-refugee (assumes PRRA)||$39,387||$116,784||
97 hearings opened
45 claimants found to be inadmissible
|Investigation/admissibility hearing and removal under IRPA - Refugee (assumes PRRA)||$42,235||$122,908|
|Investigation/Revocation||$921,653||$1,582,109Table note v||Four cases pursuedFootnote 29|
|Investigation/Prosecution||$5,746,411||$6,172,671Table note v||Two cases pursuedFootnote 30|
|Extradition upon request||$342,040||$417,040||None|
Source: Program data
- Table note v
Given the low number of investigations leading to citizenship revocation or prosecution, the estimates are based on limited information about actual costs, and so may not be fully representative of future cases.
- Table note vi
Data on use of denial of visa/entry to persons outside of Canada are based on 2009–10 to 2013–14 data. Statistics for 2014–15 were not available.
- Table note vii
The simplicity/complexity of a case is characterized by the process flow, for example a more complex case could involve an appeal of a court decision.
- Table note viii
These are estimates only for salary dollars and O&M (operation and maintenance) costs gathered for the purposes of the evaluation O&M costs are a standard estimate and are proportionate to salary. These figures may not include additional costs related to a remedy For example, the estimates noted for removal process do not include transportation costs (airline ticket, cost to obtain visas and travel documents) associated to removing an individual.
The cost comparisons for the remedies and the performance data indicate that the Program has been successful in its efforts to adopt a cost-effective approach. While this approach is efficient, whether the Program's priority setting of its remedies has been at the expense of the objectives of the Program in holding those who have committed or been complicit in war crimes accountable, is a question raised by some internal and external key informants (see Sections 4.2.5 and 4.2.6).
4.3.3. Challenges to Program efficiency
The evaluation found the Program is experiencing several challenges that are thought to affect its efficiency.
Inadequate funding is affecting Program efficiency
Key informants from across the Program partners reported that while Program funding for investigations has not changed for approximately 15 years, the cost of investigations (which includes salaries, overseas travel for field investigations, and translators) has increased significantly. Program documents and several key informants raised concerns over the amalgamation of the RCMP’s former War Crimes Team into a larger section of the RCMP (the SII Unit), which also handles other types of sensitive investigations. These concerns centred on two issues that were seen to affect the Program’s efficiency:
- Availability of investigators to focus on CAHWC files
- Concerns were expressed over a lack of available investigators, which some respondents saw as the reason files were in the inventory. Program documents raise concerns that it will not be possible for the RCMP to address all the files in its inventory in a timely manner. All six members of the SII Unit can be committed to war crimes investigations, but may be re-deployed or re-assigned to other priority investigations as needed. The SII Unit is able to task other investigators outside the unit to work on CAHWC investigations; however, the RCMP notes that the number of investigations it undertakes is limited by general Program capacity to pursue prosecutions.
- Generalized roles associated with diminished expertise and efficiency
- Some key informants (internal and external) believe a more specialized approach is needed for CAHWC investigations given their complexity. Many international key informants (as well as the EU Genocide NetworkFootnote 31) recognize specialized CAHWC investigators as a best practice. With this in mind, several Program key informants (not from the RCMP) are concerned there will be fewer opportunities for specialization within the reorganized RCMP Unit. While a few investigators within the Unit have considerable CAHWC experience, there are concerns that attaching less experienced investigators to these more experienced officers will decrease the efficiency of the investigations.
Many key informants from across the stakeholder groups also believe the Program’s ability to undertake prosecutions has been constrained by a lack of funding. Inadequate funding is also believed to have affected the CAHWC Section’s outreach, capacity building and training efforts. Key informants from Justice report that restrictions on travel funding have resulted in staff mixing their outreach activities into their operational missions. In particular, these key informants expressed frustration at the level of red tape involved in accessing funds for travel, to acquire tools (such as analytical software), or to access additional training on legal and operational aspects of the Program.
Many survey respondents also believed there are inadequate resources for training, investigations, gathering information, and outreach and communications. About half of all respondents reported there are inadequate resources for training and professional development (53%), investigations (50%), gathering and disseminating information and/or intelligence data (49%), and outreach and communications (46%).
4.3.4. Current efforts to improve Program efficiency
In response to the funding constraints and identified challenges, the Program has undertaken numerous measures to improve efficiencies across the Program and within specific Program partners.
Efficiency is a core aspect of the Program’s multi-departmental coordination
Program key informants believe the coordinated, multi-departmental approach eliminates redundancies in roles, information gathering, and establishing international contacts while also allowing each partner to have their own areas of expertise in terms of processes, policies, and legislation. This expertise and the results of this expertise (e.g., evidence from investigations) can then be shared among Program partners to achieve specific remedies.
As discussed in Section 4.2.2, the Program has continued efforts to remain efficient through prioritizing cases based on complexity and cost. Specifically, prioritization begins with the least costly and least complex remedy (preventing suspects from entering Canada) and, when necessary, proceeds to the next level of cost and complexity (refugee exclusion, inadmissibility and deportation proceedings), and lastly, when appropriate, escalates to the most costly and complex remedies (revocations and criminal investigations/prosecutions).
The Program undertook further efforts to improve the efficiency of the file review process in 2013, adding more stringent criteria for files to be added to the criminal investigation inventory. This was done to keep expansion of the inventory to a minimum, given the limited Program capacity to conduct criminal investigations and prosecutions. Additionally, the CAHWC Section agreed to complete the initial contextual and legal background research on files awaiting active investigation, in an effort to reduce the research demand on investigators. In an effort to reduce discrepancies in filing systems, the RCMP has developed a new electronic system for all its war crime investigations that is compatible with Justice’s system.
In 2013, PCOC also took steps to address Program efficiency by striking an Efficiencies Subcommittee to consider how the Program could improve its operations.
Potential efficiency gains through focus on revocations
Some key informants indicate the Program has shifted its focus toward revocations instead of prosecutions. As part of this shift, files from the RCMP’s criminal inventory were removed and considered for citizenship revocation. To aid in this process, Justice developed a litigation checklist to determine how to proceed with investigations and citizenship revocation litigation. Tools were also developed to ensure that priority files (which have the most resources devoted) are monitored to make sure they are proceeding as planned. Additionally, staff members from the CAHWC Section are paired with more experienced litigators from regional offices in an effort to build litigation capacity among the Section’s legal counsel.
The CAHWC Section has been working toward building litigation capacity internally so that counsel in the Section can litigate or assist in the litigation of citizenship revocation cases. This is believed to be a less costly approach to revocations than involving regional litigation counsel, and will complement the potential efficiencies (and resulting increased demand) introduced through amendments to the Citizenship Act that removed the GIC from the revocation process. Program key informants described the previous citizenship revocation process, which involved the GIC as final decision maker, as slow and inefficient. Overall, Program key informants were hopeful that these legislative changes would lead to a more efficient and transparent process, as well as a more effective working relationship between IRCC and Justice. One key informant from Justice opined that litigation under the Program has not been this efficient in the last 20 years, and the Program could do more with additional resources.
Despite the optimism expressed over the potential efficiencies to be gained through the Program’s shift to revocations, there are challenges on the horizon that could affect further implementation of this approach. In particular, while many jurisdictions have mutual legal assistance treaties with Canada, these agreements cover criminal matters and may not extend to aiding litigation related to citizenship revocation. Key informants from Justice indicate there has been mixed success gaining cooperation from foreign jurisdictions. In addition, some Program and external key informants note that while the shift toward revocations is considered to be a more effective and efficient approach, prosecutions are seen as a more principled approach.
Other efforts/tools that contribute to Program efficiencies
The CBSA has reinstituted monthly meetings between its regions and NHQ in an effort to strengthen the relationship between these two groups. The meetings are used to discuss policy issues and share updates from the NHQ, including information from PCOC.
Additionally, internal CBSA documents indicate the Agency and IRCC have developed a number of tools and techniques to facilitate visa processing. These resources include open-source screening aids designed to assess admissibility; information sharing systems; accessible country information; group profiles; and open and classified sources of intelligence that are produced in-house or shared from domestic and international partners. Notably, survey results show that IRCC respondents in particular favour their screening tools, with the majority rating them as somewhat or very useful.
4.3.5. Suggested approaches to improving Program efficiency
Several suggestions for improving efficiency came from the key informant interviews and the document review. Many of these suggestions focused on operational efficiencies that could improve effectiveness. Some of these approaches could also create additional Program costs.
Reducing duplicative information collection/improving information sharing
Although internal key informants and international stakeholders frequently praised the Program’s cooperative approach to sharing knowledge and experience,Footnote 32 some international and Program key informants believe it would be beneficial to consider further improvements to information sharing. For example, these interviewees suggested establishing a shared repository of information to ensure the Program and international partners (such as France, the UK, and Australia, and international NGOs) are not duplicating efforts. If one partner has already produced in-depth research into a topic, then this information should be accessible to partners. In response to these challenges, Program documents show that the Program is investigating approaches to improving international cooperation through open-source information sharing among national immigration war crimes units.
Other suggested improvements to information sharing focus on investigations. RCMP key informants, in particular, suggested developing methods to enable sharing information gathered through investigations among countries that are prosecuting modern day war crimes. These key informants believe that this approach will increase efficiency by reducing duplication of effort that is created when different countries interview the same witnesses. It would also reduce the likelihood of inconsistent statements, which can occur when individuals are interviewed multiple times. RCMP key informants also suggested that the Program consider ways to collect and preserve evidence at earlier stages, such as evidence that may be gathered by NGOs working in conflict areas where crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide are known to be occurring, or evidence from interviews with refugees who have come to Canada from those areas. While the information may not be relevant to current CAHWC Program investigations, it could become relevant to allegations that arise later. Having the information already collected and available could greatly improve the quality of the evidence relied upon, as well as increase the efficiency of investigations.
Domestically, the Program has recognized and attempted to address shortcomings in information sharing among Program partners, but has had mixed success. While Program key informants indicate that the IRCC liaison working with Justice (through an MOU between the departments) has improved information sharing between those departments, other projects, including the Modern War Crimes database, the Virtual Library Project, and file transfer protocols developed between the RCMP and Justice and between Justice and the CBSA are not functioning as intended (see Section 4.2.2). Going forward, the Efficiencies Subcommittee is exploring a number of different approaches to improving the efficiency of information sharing among partners. These approaches are summarized below.
Table 18: Efficiencies Subcommittee approaches to improving information sharing
- Integrating Justice and CBSA research products into IRCC’s (planned) resource and research centre for revocation cases
- Collecting knowledge from outgoing overseas visa officers to share within IRCC and among other Program partners
- Developing a list of research products produced in the last 10 years by each partner, which will be used to make more efficient project assignments based on resource availability and expertise (rather than location of researcher)
- Secondment of personnel between Program partners to improve sharing of specialized expertise among the four departments. Previously a Justice researcher was seconded to the CBSA, and there is interest in further exploring cooperation and areas of overlap
- Using a common electronic drop box (such as SharePoint) to collect, maintain, and disseminate information among partners. This site would include information created by Program partners, other government departments, and also relevant and credible NGO sources
- Improve coordination prior to Justice’s overseas missions to allow IRCC and the CBSA to provide input on benefits they would like to derive from the mission
- Use the CBSA HQ and regional meetings as a vehicle for legal advice from Justice in response to written requests for legal opinions
Furthermore, a few Program partners suggested there could be better or more direct information sharing between the Program and the DND (particularly the DND’s human rights country reporting) and greater engagement from GAC to assist in obtaining appropriate country documents to execute removal orders. The Efficiencies Subcommittee has also recognized potential efficiencies in sharing with other federal government departments and organizations and has recommended establishing mutual sharing arrangements with Privy Council Office, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and the IRB.
Improved coordination with PPSC
Key informants from the Program and stakeholders from other federal departments provided a number of suggested efficiency improvements to how the Program coordinates its work with the PPSC. For example, for criminal prosecutions, Justice, RCMP, and PPSC should maintain a single version of the case file to ensure all parties have the same information. Maintaining mirror files creates inefficiencies for PPSC and can lead to potential disclosure issues. Key informants from the RCMP and stakeholders from other federal departments also recommended earlier involvement of PPSC in investigations to ensure their expertise in criminal prosecutions is more fully utilized from the outset. A few RCMP key informants expressed interest in working directly with the PPSC rather than working through Justice. Key informants from Justice are aware of these suggestions, but believe earlier involvement of PPSC would need to be done on a case-by-case basis because such an involvement would lead to greater Program costs for Justice. Documentation from the Efficiencies Subcommittee also suggests that for future prosecutions, it would be more resource-efficient to have counsel from the CAHWC Section as one of the three prosecutors on the PPSC team instead of playing a support role. This issue will be addressed when the Program has its next criminal investigation ready for prosecution.
4.4. Program Design
The CAHWC Program was designed to be a coordinated, multi-disciplinary program, and the benefits of that approach have been outlined in several sections of the report and will not be revisited here. Both key informants and survey respondents believe that the coordinated approach is necessary, and that the current legislative and policy framework is insufficient on its own to hold persons accountable who have committed crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide. They pointed out that CAHWC issues cannot be addressed by each partner in isolation and require a coordinated approach to ensure that Canada meets its domestic and international obligations. The key bodies that ensure this coordinated approach are considered below.
PCOC seen as important and effective
As explained in the Program profile, activities of the Program partners are coordinated through the PCOC, which coordinates and facilitates interdepartmental efforts to assess allegations, develop operational policy, carry out integrated planning and accountability functions, and ensure Program compliance with international obligations (CBSA et al., 2011, p. 3). The PCOC consists of representatives from each of the partner departments (Department of Justice Canada, 2008). Many key informants from the partner departments described PCOC as a logical and effective way to collaborate, reduce redundancies, share information, and prioritize cases. The PCOC was also described as adding stability to the multi-departmental, multi-remedy approach, providing the Program with a central coordinating body that allows partners to know what each other is doing at a case and policy level. Despite the overall high regard for the important role of PCOC, a few key informants from IRCC would like more consistent inclusion of representatives from both the immigration and citizenship programs at IRCC.
Based on a review of documents, the Program needed a stable secretariat to ensure that meetings are called according to schedule, minutes are kept, follow-up occurs on action items, etc. In 2014, the Program created a secretariat at the CAHWC Section to provide support to PCOC, its subcommittees and the Steering Committee through calling meetings, keeping minutes, drafting documents, and maintaining SharePoint sites.
File Review Subcommittee assists with allegation management
PCOC includes a number of subcommittees responsible for specific tasks. For example, the File Review Subcommittee plays a key role in the Program’s allegation management activities. The Subcommittee reviews all allegations received against Canadian citizens or persons present in Canada involving crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide and then determines the appropriate remedy. Files are then channeled to the appropriate departmental authority for action. Internal documents indicate the Subcommittee is intended to help prevent partners from working at crossed purposes. Program key informants described the Subcommittee as a tangible effort to manage CAHWC cases. They were generally positive about the function of the File Review Subcommittee, although some suggested there was room for improvement. For example, a few suggested the Subcommittee meet more frequently and that it actively facilitate cooperation among Program partners. A few key informants from the CBSA suggested the file transfer process could be more streamlined, so that once a file is prioritized, the material is transferred in a more timely fashion. More details on challenges in the file transfer process are provided in Section 4.2.2.
Key subcommittees established, but progress hampered
Program documents show there are a number of other subcommittees that have been formed under PCOC, including a Research Committee, a Virtual Library Committee, a Standardized Training Committee, an Enhanced Cooperation Committee, and an Efficiencies Subcommittee. Few key informants provided comments on these groups, except to say that the Enhanced Cooperation Committee was developed to improve information sharing among the Program partners, but that it has yet to achieve this goal. For further details on this committee, see the discussion about the Virtual Library Project under Section 4.2.1. Program documents indicate the work of the Virtual Library Committee and the Standardized Training Committee has been affected by a lack of funds or available human resources, while the work of the Research Committee (involving Justice and the CBSA) also stalled. The Co-Location Committee (involving IRCC, the CBSA, and the RCMP) ended due to a lack of support among the partners. As described in Section 4.3.4, Program documents show the Efficiencies Subcommittee (created in 2013) has undertaken considerable efforts to explore and develop efficiencies at the Program, departmental, and Government of Canada levels.
Concerns over effectiveness of ADM Steering Committee
The Program partners also operate the Steering Committee, which is composed of senior managers at the Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) or equivalent level from each partner. The Steering Committee plays an oversight role for PCOC and is tasked with ensuring Program activities align with the Program objectives within each of the partnering departments, and overall Government of Canada priorities (CBSA et al., 2011, p. 3). The Steering Committee was meeting on an ad hoc basis and, based on available documents, had gone a few years without meeting. It committed to meeting twice a year, starting in 2013, but the documentation available to the evaluation did not confirm whether more regular meetings are occurring.
While internal key informants generally recognize the Steering Committee as an important component of the Program’s multi-departmental governance, several of these key informants expressed concerns about the Committee’s functionality and effectiveness. Specifically, key informants commented on the absence of ADMs at the meetings of the Committee and the use of ADM delegates who did not seem well prepared. A few key informants noted that since the Steering Committee is supposed to play an oversight role for PCOC, it did not make sense to have director-level delegates attend the ADM committee, given most PCOC representatives are at the director-level. These key informants believe the lack of ADM attendance makes for awkward and disjointed operational oversight.
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