Special Forum on “Evidence of Torture in Canada: The New Normal of Official Complicity?”


DATE & TIME: Wednesday, 9 January, 2013 – 1230-530pm

LOCATION: Room 1014, Ignat Kaneff Building, Osgoode Hall Law School (#32 on this map)

RATIONALE:

Over the last few years, reports and charges of increasing casualness by Canadian officials vis-à-vis the practice of torture, and information obtained by means of torture, have been circulating in the media, as well as legal and governmental circles. In light of the conclusions (and warnings made in the context) of the various public inquiries that looked at related questions during the past decade, this alleged shift in official attitudes is worrying and calls for public scrutiny.

This special forum seeks to take stock of the current state of the “torture question” in Canada, provide a platform for public debate about the issue, and spur further discussions about its most pressing and problematic aspects. It aims to bring together leading academics and lawyers confronting this issue in their work, as well as relevant Parliamentarians and journalists.

Amongst the central themes to be tackled at the forum are the following: recent government directives to administrative agencies about acting on the basis of torture-tainted evidence (for example, see the following ministerial directives); the hand over of Afghan detainees to Afghan authorities by Canadian forces with, allegedly, the knowledge that they could be tortured (and attempts to forestall subsequent public/political scrutiny – see further transcripts of a previous Nathanson special forum on this issue); as well as ongoing debates about the use of transnational evidence (possibly obtained by means of torture) in the context not only of criminal and immigration proceedings, but also civil proceedings.

This special forum is open to the public, and the media is welcome (interviews with individual speakers may be arranged upon request). For further inquiries, please contact Ms. Lielle Gonsalves, assistant to the Nathanson Centre, at lgonsalves@osgoode.yorku.ca.

PROGRAMME & VIDEO RECORDINGS:

12:30 pm – 12:40 pm

INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

Prof. François Tanguay-Renaud (Director, Nathanson Centre; Osgoode)

12:40 pm – 2:20 pm

EVIDENCE OF TORTURE IN THE COURTS: THE IMMIGRATION, CRIMINAL, AND CIVIL CONTEXTS

Chair:
Prof. Benjamin Berger (Osgoode)
Panelists:
Barbara Jackman (Jackman, Nazami & Associates)
Anil Kapoor (Kapoor Barristers; Special Advocate)
Prof. James Stribopoulos (Osgoode)
Lorne Waldman (Lorne Waldman and Associates)

2:20 pm – 2:30 pm

TEA & COFFEE

2:30 pm – 4:10 pm

EVIDENCE OF TORTURE & EXECUTIVE ACTION: THE CSIS, RCMP, AND CBSA ISSUES

Chair:
Prof. Ron Atkey (Adjunct, Osgoode; first Chair, Security Intelligence Review Committee (1985-89))
Panelists:
Ray Boisvert (Former Assistant Director, Intelligence (CSIS))
Prof. David Cole (Georgetown)
Prof. Kent Roach (Toronto)

4:10 pm – 4:20 pm

TEA & COFFEE

4:20 pm – 6:00 pm

EVIDENCE OF TORTURE & ARMED CONFLICTS: AFGHAN DETAINEES AND OTHER CASES

Chair:
Craig Scott (Member of Parliament for Toronto-Danforth)
Panelists:
Prof. Amir Attaran (Ottawa)
Murray Brewster (The Canadian Press)
Dr. Walter Dorn (Canadian Forces College)
Dr. Chris Madsen (Canadian Forces College)

MEDIA COVERAGE:

1. YFile Article (11 January 2013)
2. Radio Interview of Professor François Tanguay-Renaud, Champ Libre, Radio-Canada (14 January 2013, in French).

EVENT POSTER:

Evidence-of-Torture-Poster