International Involvement

Because of its coordinated approach and its capacity to apply a broad range of legislative remedies, Canada’s War Crimes Program plays a leading role in international efforts to bring war criminals to justice. Program partners work closely with other countries on war crimes issues, providing assistance, information, and legal and investigative support to various states also engaged in the global fight against impunity as well as to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL), the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

All Program partners are represented in the Canadian government’s Interdepartmental Working Group for the International Tribunals, which examines the tribunals’ requests for assistance from Canada. They also work with the Department of Justice’s International Assistance Group (IAG) and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) to support the international tribunals. The IAG reviews requests relating to war crimes or crimes against humanity for mutual legal assistance from foreign governments, international tribunals and the ICC.

Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC)

In the 1990s, Canada played a central role in establishing international involvement in pursuing perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as promoting the creation of a permanent international court to bring to justice war criminals and perpetrators of crimes against humanity and genocide.

On December 18, 1998, Canada became the 14th country to sign the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. This Statute established the world’s first International Criminal Court (ICC) to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. In 2000, Canada enacted the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, becoming the first country to implement the Rome Statute into domestic law.

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