Unfortunately, the fathers sin was to work to get him trained up as a terrorist. Unfortunately said training is what is problematic IMO. The Gitmo stuff didn't help either.
I agree the major problem was the father, but he's already dead so what we gonna do about that?
Treat the son in accordance with the international law that Canada was instrumental in bringing into force in respect of child soldiers? Seems not only simple and straightforward but also in accordance with the law.
I am with Senator, former General and former commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) Romeo Dallaire:
The minute you start playing with human rights, with conventions, with civil liberties, in order to say that you're doing it to protect yourself and you are going against those rights and conventions, you are no better than the guy who doesn't believe in them at all.
Since 2000, both Canada and the U.S., along with more than 125 other state-parties to the Optional Protocol on Children in Armed Conflict, have provided millions of dollars in efforts to demobilize, rehabilitate and reintegrate former child soldiers and have consistently advocated for the elimination of the recruitment and use of children in war. Moreover, demobilized child soldiers are considered victims who were coerced into committing serious crimes by adults.
It is hypocritical that Omar Khadr is not receiving the same rights as former child soldiers from countries such as Sierra Leone. His trial puts all former child soldiers in danger and undermines the tireless work that we have done to show child soldiers can be rehabilitated.
One of the problems with this case is that people do not have compassion for Khadr, but have compassion for child soldiers in other parts of the world. If a 15-year-old child in Sierra Leone or Uganda kills someone in a war, he is a victim in need of rehabilitation, but as soon as that child is accused of killing an American soldier, legal standards no longer apply.
It is a shame that Canada has allowed its citizen to be subjected to a process that is an affront to the rule of law. Equally shameful is that the U.S. is using a child detainee charged for war crimes as a test case for an immoral and illegal tribunal.
As early as August 2002, a U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia, in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld held that “(w)e must protect the freedoms of even those who hate us, and that we may find objectionable. If we fail in this task, we become victims of the precedents we create. We have prided ourselves on being a nation of laws applying equally to all and not a nation of men who have few or no standards.” Unfortunately, and much to the dismay of all who stand for the rule of law and due process, today we are all becoming silent victims.
On May 22, 2010 Dallaire wrote this piece for the Globe and Mail:
Canadians must realize by now that our government’s cynicism toward Omar Khadr’s tragic predicament reflects an unacceptable moral position. We are permitting the United States to try a Canadian child soldier using a military tribunal whose procedures violate basic principles of justice.
Stephen Harper’s Conservatives slough off this reality using clever words and pat responses.
Speaking recently about his government’s inaction on the Khadr file, Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier glibly told the House that “the current policy of the government is one that has been in place since 2002,” and that the government “is making sure that justice takes its course.”
The policy toward Mr. Khadr formulated by the Canadian government in 2002, during the panicky aftermath of 9/11, was unquestionably wrong. Sticking stubbornly to this six-year-old approach illustrates an inflexible policy mechanism, and perhaps even a compulsion to bow and scrape to the Bush administration.
In recent years, we have heard troubling facts about Guantanamo Bay and incontrovertible evidence of U.S. malfeasance.
In July, 2006, the United Nations called for the closure of Guantanamo Bay, terming the indefinite detention of individuals without a charge “a violation of the convention against torture.” Two months later, more than 600 U.S. legal scholars and jurists called on Congress not to enact the Military Commissions Act of 2006, as it would rob detainees of fundamental protections provided by domestic and international law.
This act allows prosecutors to use evidence gleaned from abusive interrogations, including coercion and torture. The commissions also sabotage individuals’ ability to defend themselves by barring access to exculpatory evidence known to the U.S. government. In Mr. Khadr’s case, documents to be used as evidence for war-crimes charges, laid in February, 2007, have been altered.
In December, 2007, Colonel Morris Davis, then chief military prosecutor of the military tribunals, resigned in protest over such political interference. “It’s a disgrace to call it a military commission,” he said. “It is a political commission.”
Omar Khadr’s ordeal began in 2002, when the 15-year-old was present during a firefight with U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Despite his age and the two serious gunshot wounds Khadr suffered during the incident, he was taken prisoner as an adult combatant for allegedly killing a U.S. serviceman. Even while he lay healing from his wounds, he was ill-treated, possibly tortured and certainly threatened with rendition, rape and death. We now know that even Canadian officials capitalized on Khadr’s incarceration at Guantanamo Bay to question him.
Despite all this, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister sticks to his line that the government “is making sure that justice takes its course.” It’s difficult to imagine how anything resembling justice can come out of Guantanamo Bay.
Within the international community, Canada is viewed as gullible for allowing one its citizens to be processed by an illegal tribunal system at Guantanamo, and as hypocritical for quietly acceding to the first ever child-soldier war-crimes prosecution.
Canada’s inaction has profound ramifications. The UN Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, says Khadr’s prosecution sets a hazardous precedent in international law, which will endanger child soldiers in conflict zones. The impunity enjoyed by the real criminals — those who have recruited child soldiers — continues to the detriment of real victims: the thousands of child soldiers around the world.
This government must act now, as all of our allies have done already, to bring its citizen home. Otherwise, we are abetting an affront to human rights and international law.