Canada Free Press threatened with jail for supporting Bush
November 27, 2004
Re: your article in the free press.
( By your tone, and obvious despisal of the anti-Bush protestors, you and your free press is no more independent and fair than the corporate owned media. If you and your editors want to affiliate yourself with them, and should you have any say in Bush's visit here, as such you and your colleagues could be personally liable to prosecution under the Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act by virtue of section 21 of the Canadian Criminal Code, for crimes so serious that they are punishable in Canada by up to life imprisonment.)
Here are two articles you may wish to educate yourself by (sic):
November 26, 2004
A Memo to Canada's Ministry of Immigration
Why Bush Should be Banned from Canada
By MICHAEL MANDEL and GAIL DAVIDSON
The Honourable Judy Sgro, P.C., M.P.Minister@cic.gc.ca
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Ottawa Canada K1A 1L1
Tel: 1 613 954 1064
Fax: 1 613 957 2688
Dear Minister Sgro,
Re: President George W. Bush proposed November 30th 2004 visit to Canada.
We wrote to Prime Minister Martin on November 19 2004 (see following letter) protesting the invitation of President Bush to Canada on the grounds of the President's flagrant commission of the most serious crimes against international law. Our letter is enclosed.
As that letter indicates, many of the crimes of which President Bush stands accused are crimes under Canadian law, specifically under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.
We are writing to you now to remind you that these crimes render President Bush inadmissible to Canada under our immigration laws. Because responsibility for the operation and enforcement of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act lies with you and your Ministry, we are calling on you to advise the Prime Minister of this fact and to insist that he rescind this invitation out of respect for our laws.
As you know, section 35 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, 2001 2001 provides as follows:
35. (1) A permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible on grounds of violating human or international rights for
(a) committing an act outside Canada that constitutes an offence referred to in sections 4 to 7 of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act;
Paragraph 2 of section 35 allows for exceptions to be made for other classes of inadmissible foreign nationals 'who satisf[y] the Minister that their presence in Canada would not be detrimental to the national interest.' However, these exceptions specifically do not apply to those who have committed acts constituting offences referred to in sections 4 to 7 of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.
Section 6 of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act incorporates by reference all international crimes against humanity and war crimes, and, explicitly, all crimes enumerated in Articles 7 and 8(2) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Section 7 of the Act places special responsibility on 'military commanders' and other 'superiors' for crimes committed by their subordinates that they knew of, or were criminally negligent in failing to know of, and with respect to which they did not take necessary and reasonable steps to prevent.
Section 33 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act specifically provides that
'facts that constitute inadmissibility under sections 34 to 37 include facts arising from omissions and, unless otherwise provided, include facts for which there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have occurred, are occurring or may occur.'
The evidence of President Bush's past and ongoing criminality is overwhelming. A recent editorial in the Washington Post commented on some of the now well known facts regarding the chain of memoranda from the President and white house White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales, now Attorney General, that led to the use of torture by the US Armed Forces. These memoranda clearly establish the President's culpability for the torture used on detainees at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prisons. We also refer you to the many careful reports prepared by respected human rights organizations, journalists and scholars and also to recent decisions by US Courts, some of which are referenced in our letter to the Prime Minister and others we have listed below. These clearly provide far more than 'reasonable grounds to believe' in President Bush's legal and moral responsibility for the gravest crimes under numerous provisions of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.
We are sending a copy of this letter directly to the Interdepartmental Operations Group (IOG), the agency through which, we have been given to understand, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Department of Justice and the RCMP investigate all allegations of crimes against humanity and war crimes.
We remind you of the proud claim made by Canada's War Crimes Program in its 2003-2004 report that,
The policy of the Government of Canada is unequivocal. Canada will not be a safe haven for persons involved in war crimes, crimes against humanity or other reprehensible acts.
The time is short before President Bush's intended visit, so we are asking that you or your representative meet with us immediately to explain the action you intend to fulfill your obligations under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Michael Mandel and Gail Davidson
on behalf of Lawyers against the War (LAW) a Canada-based committee of jurists and others with members in thirteen countries. They can be reached at: email@example.com
cc. Interdepartmental Operations Group, firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Mandel, Professor,MMandel@osgoode.yorku.ca
Osgoode Hall Law School,
4700 Keele Street,
Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3.
Tel: 416 736-5039, Fax: 416-736-5736,
Tel: 604 738 0338; Fax: 604 736 1175,
SELECTED LIST OF REPORTS DOCUMENTING CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND WAR CRIMES FOR WHICH PRESIDENT BUSH IS CRIMINALLY REPSONSIBLE
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, Report Off Target: The Conduct of the War and Civilian Casualties in Iraq http://hrw.org/reports/2003/usa1203/usa1203.pdf
November 22, 2004
An Open Letter to Prime Minister Martin
Why Bush Should be Banned from Canada
By MICHAEL MANDEL and GAIL DAVIDSON
The Right Honourable Paul Martin
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Canada K1A 0A2
Tel: 613 6868
Dear Prime Minister Martin:
It was with absolute dismay that we learned of the planned visit of President Bush to Canada on November 30th 2004.
Surely you are aware of the many grave crimes against humanity and war crimes for which President Bush stands properly accused by the world, starting with the Nuremberg Tribunal's 'supreme international crime' of waging an aggressive war against Iraq in defiance of international law and the Charter of the United Nations, and including systematic and massive violations of the Geneva Conventions Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War and Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, as well as the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. As recently as November 16, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and former war crimes prosecutor Louise Arbour called for an investigation into crimes against the Geneva Conventions in the assault by US forces on the densely populated city of Fallujah.
The terrible toll in life and limb of these crimes was documented in a study carried out by the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health in Baltimore and published in the October 29, 2004 issue of the British Medical Journal The Lancet which conservatively estimated that the war had taken 100,000 Iraqi lives, mostly women and children. This was well within the range predicted before the war, for example by a British affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War who, in November 2002, assessed the probable death toll at a minimum of 48,000 deaths, mostly civilians, and predicted that post-war conditions would cost an additional 200,000 lives.
The President's responsibility for these offences derives not only from his 'command responsibility' as Commander in Chief of US forces, for crimes that he knew were being committed, or ignored through willful blindness, but did nothing to prevent; it also comes from his direct involvement in the formulation of policy. This includes his personal involvement not only in the devising and waging of an aggressive, illegal war, but also of the unlawful refusal to grant prisoner of war status to prisoners of war, contrary to specific provisions of the Geneva Conventions, an act repudiated in the US Courts. It also includes the approval of techniques of interrogation by his direct subordinate, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, that legally and morally constitute torture and that led directly to the disgraceful violence against Iraqi prisoners, for example at the prison at Abu Ghraib.
As you know, not only are these acts criminal under international law, but many of them are also criminal under Canadian law, under laws enacted in pursuance of our international obligations, most importantly the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, put in place just four years ago under a Liberal government. They also violate the provisions on torture in the Canadian Criminal Code.
By these laws, Canadians and non-Canadians alike are liable to prosecution in Canada, no matter where in the world they have committed their crimes. Furthermore, as the Attorney General can advise, the fact that these crimes have been committed by Mr. Bush while President of the United States is absolutely irrelevant to his personal liability to prosecution in Canada, according to principles established at Nuremberg and universally recognized since then, including by the British House of Lords in the Pinochet case in 1999. And if President Bush were to visit Canada after leaving office, we would be seeking the Attorney General's permission under section 9 of the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act and section 7 of the Criminal Code to commence proceedings against him.
However, as you also know, should President Bush come to Canada now, while still President, he would be clothed with both diplomatic and head of state immunity from our laws and we would be powerless to bring him to justice.
Your invitation in these circumstances, therefore, shows contempt for both Canadian and international law and is a grievous insult to the literally hundreds of thousands of victims of President Bush's international crimes. It is also our belief that the invitation endangers Canadians' security at home and abroad, because it is a departure from our steadfast refusal to this point to participate in this criminal war of the Bush administration. In fact, it is our belief that this invitation can only act as an encouragement to President Bush in his continuing criminal activity, providing him with an important platform in this, his first post re-election foreign visit, to defend illegal US actions in Iraq and to improve his international standing despite them, all this against the wishes of the majority of Canadians.
Indeed, we feel bound to point out that your invitation to President Bush may thus constitute an abetting of the crimes he and his administration and military continue to commit. As such you and your colleagues could be personally liable to prosecution under the Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act by virtue of section 21 of the Canadian Criminal Code, for crimes so serious that they are punishable in Canada by up to life imprisonment. Abetting a crime, as the Attorney General will advise, is regarded as equally criminal to actually committing it and is complete when one intentionally, knowingly, or with willful blindness encourages the commission of a crime by another.
Nor would President Bush's immunity be capable of shielding you and your colleagues from prosecution, because, as the Attorney General will advise, the immunity applies only to foreign officials visiting Canada and not to members of the Canadian government itself. Nor does the inability to prosecute a criminal affect the criminal liability of an abettor.
It is for all these reasons we urgently request a meeting with you, the Foreign Minister, the Attorney General or your representatives in Ottawa, so that we might have the opportunity to elaborate on these matters and to persuade you to declare President Bush persona non grata in Canada, or at least to rescind this invitation, and thus to avoid implicating yourselves and Canada in the most serious of international crimes.
Michael Mandel and Gail Davidson
on behalf of Lawyers against the War (LAW) a Canada-based committee of jurists and others with members in thirteen countries.
Michael Mandel, Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3J 1P3.