|For Immediate Release|
|7 June 2007|
CCR calls on parliament to abandon unfair security certificates
The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR) and the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group (ICLMG) called today on Parliament to abandon the use of security certificates, in favour of a strategy of criminal prosecutions and full disclosure of evidence.
Following the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent Charkaoui decision, Parliament must decide whether to amend security certificate procedures or simply abandon their use. The CCR today made public a submission intended to assist Parliamentarians in making this choice.
“Canada has been making a mistake in using immigration processes to deal with security cases,” said Elizabeth McWeeny, CCR President. “Criminal prosecution is a much better approach, because it allows more effective protection not only of individual rights, but also of security.”
The CCR is concerned at the increasing use in Canada of secret evidence, and rejects the suggestion that it can be made acceptable by the introduction of a special advocate. The Supreme Court clearly stated that, because of the use of secret evidence, those subject to security certificates are denied a fair hearing.
“Special advocates are not the solution,” said McWeeny. “Even with a special advocate, the hearing will not be fair, as the Supreme Court made clear, because the person will not know and have the opportunity to respond to the case against them. This is not good enough, especially since we know from the Arar Commission that security agencies can make mistakes.”
“The introduction of a special advocate model in response to the Charkaoui ruling would dangerously erode the right to due process at the core of the Canadian justice system,” said Roch Tassé, coordinator of the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group. “We need to be clear that such a model has no place in Canada - not for security certificates, nor for other procedures.”
Canada has also been criticized by United Nations human rights bodies for using immigration processes rather than criminal prosecutions in security cases, as well as for the use of secret evidence.