MINISTER OF JUSTICE RELEASES TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR INDEPENDENT ADVISER TO REVIEW NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION

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OTTAWA, March 13, 2010 – The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today released the Terms of Reference for the appointment of the Honourable Frank Iacobucci, Q.C., LL.D., as an Independent Adviser. Mr. Iacobucci will conduct an independent review of documents related to the transfer of detainees by the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan.

“As I stated in the House of Commons, the government acknowledges that it is appropriate that decisions on the disclosure of information in these circumstances be reviewed in an independent manner,” stated Minister Nicholson. “This will ensure that parliamentarians will have access to the relevant government information on the arrangements for the transfer of detainees in Afghanistan while ensuring there is no injury to Canada's national defence, international relations or national security.”

On December 10, 2009, the House of Commons passed a motion seeking access to documents that contain information that would potentially be injurious to Canada’s international relations, national defence or national security if released.  Mr. Iacobucci will review the protected information included in those documents as well as all other relevant documents, including those from the period 2001 to 2005, so that parliamentarians have a fuller understanding of the transfer arrangements.

Mr. Iacobucci will provide recommendations to the Minister of Justice as to whether information would be injurious to Canada’s international relations, national defence or national security and whether any such information should nevertheless be released because the public interest in disclosure outweighs the public interest in non-disclosure.  He will prepare a report on his methodology and general findings for public release. 

“As an independent and impartial adviser with significant expertise and experience in this area, Mr. Iacobucci will provide our Government with valuable advice for fulfilling our responsibilities to parliamentarians, Canadians and the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan,” added Minister Nicholson.

Terms of reference and biographical notes on Mr. Iacobucci are attached. Mr. Iacobucci will be unavailable for public comment until his report is completed.

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