The Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Program involves a multi-dimensional process that takes into account international obligations, and includes criminal, civil (revocation of citizenship) and administrative (immigration) remedies.
Summary of Process
Investigations related to war crimes focus on individuals in Canada who are alleged to have participated in genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity anywhere in the world. Allegations are received from a variety of sources including victims, witnesses, foreign governments, local ethnic communities, non-governmental organizations and the media. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) conducts criminal investigations, with assistance from the Department of Justice’s team of lawyers, researchers, historians and analysts.
Once completed, investigations are submitted to the Department of Justice for consideration for prosecution. Following examination of the results, the Department of Justice determines whether to issue a recommendation to prosecute to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. A prosecution under the Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act requires the consent of the Attorney General.
If there is not enough evidence to proceed with a criminal prosecution, the Department of Justice may provide the results of its analyses to the Canada Border Services Agency to use in its enforcement activities, or to Citizenship and Immigration Canada to use in citizenship revocation proceedings.
The Program has several remedies available to deal with alleged war criminals and people who are suspected of involvement in crimes against humanity or genocide:
- Designation of governments and regimes considered to have engaged in gross human rights violations under 35(1)(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
- Denial of visas to persons outside of Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
- Exclusion from the protection of the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
- Inquiry and removal from Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
- Prosecution in Canada under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act;
- Revocation of citizenship under the Citizenship Act and deportation under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
- Extradition to a foreign government (upon request) under Canada’s Extradition Act; and
- Surrender to an international tribunal (upon request) under Canada’s Extradition Act.
The decision to use one or more of these mechanisms is based on:
- the different requirements of courts and tribunals in criminal, civil and administrative cases to substantiate and verify evidence;
- the resources available to conduct the proceedings;
- the likelihood of success of a given remedy; and
- Canada’s obligations under international law.
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