This article first appeared in The Windsor Star – tj
August 19, 2010 – I sat in disbelief last night, watching the news about Omar Khadr’s trial at “Camp Justice” in Guantanamo Bay. Justice? OK, let’s look at justice in this case.
The testimony and evidence used in this case was extracted by coercion from Omar while at Bagram, the secret CIA base in Afghanistan. The 15-year-old boy was deprived of sleep for days while being bombarded with high-intensity lights, and then hooded, threatened with rape and murder while his arms were chained above his head. No lawyers, no Miranda rights, nothing.
This use of “coercion” on a 15-year-old is torture and prohibited by the Geneva Conventions, the United Nations Convention Against Torture and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights — all of which Canada is a signatory to — and the catechism of the Catholic church.
The trial of Omar Khadr is the first time since the Second World War that a juvenile has been brought before a military tribunal. The 1991 Paris Principles of the United Nations Human Rights Commission says child soldiers, “should be considered primarily as victims of offences against international law; not as perpetrators….”
On Jan. 29, 2010, the Supreme Court of Canada, in a unanimous decision, said Canada had violated Omar’s rights under the Canadian Constitution and international law. They ordered his repatriation. On July 5, 2010, the Federal Court of Canada gave the Harper government seven days to do so. Harper is appealing.
So, back to justice. Justice would be served if the Harper government and Jeff Watson, our local representative, would adhere to the law to stop ignoring the Supreme Court of Canada, thumbing its nose at the Canadian Constitution, discounting the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and disregarding the Geneva Conventions.
TREVOR McFADYEN, Windsor