Committee Against Torture (InCAT.org), headquartered in Toronto,
Canada, is a widely ambitious, non-governmental organization aiming
at providing legal aid for victims of torture, and at pursuing
justice in a court of law by holding the perpetrators and violating
states responsible for their actions.
"Zero tolerance on torture”
Alex Neve, National Post: Dec. 7, 2011
Canada abhors torture. We support all efforts to abolish it and to punish torturers. We insist that our policing and security agencies have nothing to do with it. That's Canada 's public line. Yet every time we seem to reaffirm these fundamental principles, a loophole always presents itself involving the words "national security."
The most recent disturbing example involves a 2008 memo from former CSIS director James Judd to then-minister of public safety Stockwell Day that has just come to light. In that document, Mr. Judd objected to a law-reform initiative spearheaded at the time by Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh. As part of a court-ordered overhaul of the immigration security-certificate process, Mr. Dosanjh had proposed a measure to keep evidence that might have been the result of torture out of security-certificate proceedings. The amendment passed, clarifying the principle that when there are reasonable grounds to believe that information had been obtained by torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, it cannot be used ... READ FULL ARTICLE
"The human rights revolution that started after — and
because of — WWII, seems to have too few disciples in the
countries that need it most.” READ
Silberman Abella, Supreme Court of Canada Justice
February 9th 2011
:: CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL SPEECH
CO-FOUNDER AND CO-CHAIR, RENOWNED HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE AND LAWYER,
DAVID MATAS IS NOMINATED FOR NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
here to view article on Lawyers Weekly ::
here to view article on The Epoch Times ::
inversion of law and morality
Cotler, National Post - May 13, 2010
Torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide are
perhaps the most heinous acts known to humankind. The horror suffered
by the victims of these international crimes and their families
Free and democratic societies such as Canada have a responsibility
to these victims. While our law may criminalize these atrocities,
it fails to provide victims a right of redress against their criminal
perpetrators. Indeed, our law shamefully favours the perpetrators
of such evil over the Canadians who are its victims.
The Canadian State Immunity Act is the mechanism of this injustice.
It "protects" foreign states from civil suits by Canadians.
While Parliament has deemed it worthwhile to make an exception
for commercial activity, it has not legislated an exception for
egregious crimes such as torture. Simply put, the act protects
the businessperson who has been the victim of a commercial wrong
but provides no redress for victims of international atrocities.
It is time to rectify this inversion of rights and remedy -- this
inversion of law and morality.
That is why I have tabled a private member's bill (Bill C-483)
to remedy this failure of justice and accountability in Canadian
law. It will remove the state immunity that currently shields
the states and officials that perpetrate these horrific crimes,
allowing Canadian victims to secure justice.
The case of Zahra Kazemi --the Iranian-Canadian photojournalist
whose brutal death in Iran shocked Canadians --highlights the
importance of this legislation. Ms. Kazemi, a Canadian citizen,
was tortured and raped in the infamous Evin prison in Iran and
eventually died as a result of her injuries. Her son recently
instituted a lawsuit in Montreal against Iran and its officials,
seeking justice in Canadian courts after such justice was denied
through prejudicial and flawed "investigations" in Iran.
The government of Iran maintains -- as it successfully did in
the somewhat similar Bouzari torture case in Ontario -- that the
lawsuit should be dismissed because of Iranian state immunity
under Canadian law. The result is Canada acquiescing in Iranian
After Bouzari was decided, it was argued that Canada had fallen
short of its international obligations in addition to its moral
ones. As a state party to the Convention Against Torture, Canada
had undertaken to ensure that there is adequate redress available
to victims of torture. Thus, the United Nations Committee Against
Torture, which monitors the treaty's implementation, criticized
Canada for its failure to live up to this standard upon learning
of the result in Bouzari.
The limited exception to state immunity proposed by my legislation
will ensure that justice is done without turning Canada's courts
into a magnet for international human rights lawsuits. The bill
requires that victims have a "real and substantial connection
to Canada"; it precludes a civil suit if there is a more
appropriate forum; and, in particular, it protects countries with
fair and impartial justice systems from frivolous and vexatious
lawsuits by requiring that victims invoke and exhaust all domestic
remedies in these rule-of-law countries before filing lawsuits
in Canada. This allows Canada to respect its international relationships
and defer to the judicial systems of states that provide justice
to victims. Only where justice would otherwise be denied does
this legislation refuse state immunity.
This is not a partisan issue. All parties should share the premise
that oppressive foreign states should not be favoured over victimized
Canadians. Accordingly, my bill has been supported by members
from all parties, as well as an array of leading human rights
NGOs and legal experts, including the Canadian Centre for International
With Bill C-483 now introduced in Parliament, I invite the Conservative
government to support this legislation--indeed, to take it over
as its own --and to enact it into law.
-Irwin Cotler is special counsel on human rights and international
justice to the Liberal party and is the MP for Mount Royal. He
is a former minister of justice and attorney general of Canada
and is a professor of law (on leave) at McGill University.
National Post Published: Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Re: An Inversion Of Law And Morality, Irwin Cotler, May 13.
MP Irwin Cotler accurately and passionately expressed his well-founded
concerns that the Canadian State Immunity Act works a terrible
injustice by prohibiting legal claims brought in Canada by victims
of torture against countries who torture while permitting lawsuits
that arise from commercial misadventures.
Mr. Cotler then described my lawsuit in Canada against Iran that
alleged that I was tortured in the same Evin Prison in Tehran
where Zahara Kazemi was so horribly tortured and murdered.
My suit went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, only
to fall on the sword of state immunity.
I applaud Mr. Cotler's efforts to have the State Immunity Act
amended. Torture victims who make their way to Canada must be
permitted access to Canadian courts because they cannot return
to the torturing country and would never be permitted access to
justice there regardless.
But permit me one important correction to Mr. Cotler's column.
He stated: "The government of Iran maintains -- as it successfully
did in the somewhat similar Bouzari torture case in Ontario --
that the lawsuit should be dismissed because of Iranian state
immunity under Canadian law."
The facts are that in my case Iran did not appear to defend my
torture claim. It was the government of Canada that intervened
to oppose me. It was Canada that argued the State Immunity Act
prohibition that Iran would have submitted had it appeared. The
Liberal party was the government at that time, with Martin Cauchcon
the 46th minister of justice at the time my case was initially
heard in Ontario superior court.
Later on, when the Ontario court of appeal heard my motion for
appeal and eventually dismissed it (Dec. 3 and 4, 2003, and June
30, 2004, respectively), Mr. Cotler was Canada's 47th minister
Houshang Bouzari, co-founder, International Coalition
Against Torture, Toronto.
PRESS RELEASE, September 1st, 2007
Her Excellency Louise Arbour, The High Commissioner for Human
regards to your upcoming trip to Iran to gain a firsthand perspective
of the Human Rights situation there, we the Iranian Human Rights
activists Groups of the European Union EU and of North America
(IHRAG) and the Canadian based International Coalition Against
Torture (InCAT) would like to draw your attention to the widespread,
planned and systematic violation of Human Rights in Iran, during
the first 8 months of 2007.
click here to view Press Release::
Submissions to the Arar Commission
By: David Matas with the assistance of Sukanya Pillay)
click here to view submission ::
Press Release June 14, 2006
VIEW CLICK HERE::
Global Justice (updated version)
to the federal Liberal caucus immigration roundtable
Regina, Saskatchewan, August 23, 2005
By: David Matas |
click here to view article ::
Seeking Global Justice
speech to a conference on Counteracting Hate, Torture and Crimes
against Humanity Victims, Vancouver B.C. July 17, 2005
David Matas | ::
click here to view article ::
HUMAN RIGHTS RESOLUTION 2005/35
:: click here to view article
Hope for Victims of Torture - Globe and Mail
David Matas | ::
click here to view article ::
OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES. UNDER ARTICLE 19 OF THE
Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture
CAT/C/CO/34/CAN Committee against Torture 34th session
| :: click here
to view article ::
Kazemi's killers to justice - National Post - Thursday April 28
David Matas | :: click
here to view article ::
Release :: Canada charged with violating UN Torture Convention
May 2, 2005 ::TO
VIEW SUBMISSION TO THE CAT CLICK HERE::
International Coalition against Torture (InCAT) will present on
Tuesday May 3rd in Geneva a submission to the United Nations Committee
against Torture that Canada is violating the Convention against
Torture for denying to torture victims in Canada the ability to
sue in Canadian courts the states that have tortured them. The
submission will be made by David Matas and Houshang Bouzari. The
Convention against Torture requires Canada to "ensure in
its legal system that the victim of an act of torture obtains
redress and has an enforceable right to fair and adequate compensation".
further information contact David Matas by telephone at 204-944-1831,
or 011-41-22-989-9000 or, by email at David Matas at email@example.com
and Houshang Bouzari