Canada's Program on Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes - 2011–2015: 13th Report

Introduction

This is the 13th Report on Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Program, hereafter referred to as the War Crimes Program. This report summarizes program activities from April 1, 2011, to March 31, 2015. The mandate of the War Crimes Program is to deny safe haven in Canada to war criminals and persons believed to have committed or been complicit in war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. The War Crimes Program contributes to the governmental priority to keep communities safe by providing a comprehensive response to persons suspected of committing or being complicit in war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide who attempt to enter or who have entered Canada.

The War Crimes Program is delivered jointly by four program partners: the Canada Border Services Agency, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration, the Department of Justice and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Canada Border Services Agency enforces the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in denying inadmissible persons access to Canada at ports of entry, excluding refugee claimants from protection and removing inadmissible and excluded persons from Canada. The Department of Citizenship and Immigration also applies the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act when determining the admissibility of temporary and permanent residents to Canada; the Department of Citizenship and Immigration conducts the initial screening as part of the visa assessment process to determine if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the applicant has committed or was complicit in the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. The Department of Citizenship and Immigration is responsible for initiating citizenship revocation actions at the Federal Court on fraud grounds with respect to individuals who are involved in war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide cases. Furthermore, the Department of Citizenship and Immigration can refuse citizenship applications under the Citizenship Act when there are reasonable grounds to believe that an individual has committed or may have been complicit in the commission of war crimes.

Under the Extradition Act, the Department of Justice is the lead on cases involving extradition to foreign states or surrender to international tribunals. The Department of Justice also works with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada in criminal proceedings led by that Department. Criminal proceedings are, in turn, based on investigations conducted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act. Finally, the Department of Justice provides legal advice to the Department of Citizenship and Immigration and the Canada Border Services Agency and conducts all litigation related to admissibility, exclusion and removal decisions.

Program partner officials share responsibility for managing the War Crimes Program through the War Crimes Steering Committee (the Steering Committee) and the War Crimes Program Coordination and Operations Committee. The Steering Committee, composed of senior executives at the level of Assistant Deputy Minister or its equivalent, works to ensure that the War Crimes Program’s activities delivered by each program partner are aligned with the Program’s objectives and overall governmental policy. The Program Coordination and Operations Committee consists of officials from each partner organization responsible for the overall management of the War Crimes Program. They carry out the following duties: operational policy development; the setting of priorities; integrated planning; common internal and coordinated external communication and information exchange; coordinated risk management through the targeting of overseas applicants, joint file review and the assessment of allegations; and accountability for performance.

An independent evaluation conducted in 2008 concluded that the War Crimes Program is relevant and necessary and that, in a cost-effective way, it boosts Canada’s ability to meet its domestic and international obligations to respond to war criminals and persons believed to have committed or been complicit in war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. The evaluation also recommended that permanent funding be given to the War Crimes Program; in response to this recommendation, the Government of Canada funded the War Crimes Program on a permanent basis in the 2011 federal budget. The budget for the War Crimes Program is $15.6 million per year.

This includes an ongoing commitment of $8.4 million per year in addition to the $7.2 million per year that the Canada Border Services Agency has from existing sources of funds. An evaluation is currently underway that will assess the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and economy of the War Crimes Program. The evaluation will be completed in 2016, and the report will be made available on the Department of Justice website.

Canada is internationally recognized for co-operating with other countries and with international tribunals in its response to war criminals and persons believed to have committed or been complicit in war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. Moreover, the War Crimes Program’s collaborative approach and use of multiple legislative methods to achieve its mandate have made the Program a model for similar initiatives in other countries.

For more information on the War Crimes Program, including access to previous annual reports and program evaluations, visit http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/wc-cdg/index.html.

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