Case Name:
Khadr v. Canada (Prime Minister)

Omar Ahmed Khadr, Applicant, and
The Prime Minister of Canada, the Minister of Foreign
Affairs, the Director of the Canadian Security
Intelligence Service, and the Commissioner of the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police, Respondents

[2009] F.C.J. No. 462

2009 FC 405

Docket T-1228-08

 Federal Court
Vancouver, British Columbia

O'Reilly J.

Heard: October 28, 2008.
Judgment: April 23, 2009.

(92 paras.)


Nathan Whitling and Denis Edney, for the Applicant.

Doreen Mueller, for the Respondents.


1     O'REILLY J.:-- Mr. Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was arrested in Afghanistan in July 2002 when he was 15 years old. He is alleged to have thrown a grenade that caused the death of a U.S. soldier. He has been imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay since October 2002 awaiting trial on serious charges: murder, conspiracy and support of terrorism.

2     Mr. Khadr challenges the refusal of the Canadian Government to seek his repatriation to Canada. He claims that his rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (sections 6, 7 and 12) have been infringed and seeks a remedy under s. 24(1) of the Charter. More particularly, Mr. Khadr asks me to quash the decision of the respondents not to seek his return to Canada and order the respondents to request the United States Government to repatriate him. Mr. Khadr also asks me to overturn the respondents' decision on the grounds that it was unreasonable and taken in bad faith. Finally, Mr. Khadr seeks further disclosure of documents in the respondents' possession.

3     I am satisfied, in the special circumstances of this case, that Mr. Khadr's rights under s. 7 of the Charter have been infringed. I will grant his request for an order requiring the respondents to seek his repatriation from the United States. Given my conclusion regarding s. 7, it is unnecessary for me to deal with the other grounds Mr. Khadr raised before me. The issue of disclosure has already been conclusively decided by the Supreme Court of Canada and, therefore, cannot be re-litigated before me.

4     These are the questions that arise in this case:

(Provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the international instruments cited below are set out in Annex "A".)

5     Mr. Khadr was born in Canada in 1986. He moved with his family to Pakistan in 1990. In 1995, his father, Mr. Ahmad Khadr (Ahmad), was arrested for alleged involvement in a bombing of the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad. The rest of the family returned to Canada. They moved back to Pakistan in 1996 after Ahmad was released. They came back to Canada again in 2001 for a number of months while Ahmad recuperated from an injury caused by a landmine. The family moved to Afghanistan in July 2001. After the events of September 11, 2001, Mr. Khadr and his brothers attended training camps associated with Al-Qaeda.

6     The events surrounding Mr. Khadr's arrest in July 2002 are disputed. Clearly, he was present at a gun-battle near Khost, Afghanistan, during which a United States soldier was killed by a grenade. Mr. Khadr is alleged to have thrown that grenade. He maintains that he did not.

7     Mr. Khadr was himself seriously injured during the gun-battle by both bullets and shrapnel. He received medical treatment and was held in custody at Bagram Airbase for several weeks thereafter, and then transferred to Guantánamo Bay on October 28, 2002.

8     In his affidavit, Mr. Khadr describes various forms of mistreatment both at Bagram and Guantánamo Bay. For purposes of these proceedings, it is unnecessary for me to make any definitive factual findings about the conditions of Mr. Khadr's imprisonment. However, there are three significant facts that are relevant to this application and on which there is agreement between the parties.

9     First, on detention, Mr. Khadr was "given no special status as a minor" even though he was only 15 when he was arrested and 16 at the time he was transferred to Guantánamo Bay.

10     Second, Mr. Khadr had virtually no communication with anyone outside of Guantánamo Bay until November 2004, when he met with legal counsel for the first time.

11     Third, at Guantánamo Bay, Mr. Khadr was subjected to the so-called "frequent flyer program", which involved depriving him of rest and sleep by moving him to a new location every three hours over a period of weeks. Canadian officials became aware of this treatment in the spring of 2004 when Mr. Khadr was 17, and proceeded to interrogate him.

12     After Mr. Khadr's arrest, Canadian authorities asked United States officials for consular access to him while he was being held at Bagram. It was denied. Canada also made clear that it believed that Guantánamo Bay was not an appropriate place for a child to be kept in custody. A diplomatic note dated September 13, 2002 stated:

13     While Mr. Khadr was at Guantánamo Bay, Canadian consular officials made inquiries about him beginning in November 2003. They also sought assurances that the death penalty would not be imposed on Mr. Khadr and that detainees generally would be treated in accordance with international law. Canada also expressed its concern about allegations that Mr. Khadr and other detainees were being mistreated. Beginning in 2005, Canadian officials visited Mr. Khadr a number of times to check on his welfare. In general, they found that he appeared to be healthy and well-fed. When he complained that his gunshot wounds were bothering him and still bleeding, Canadian officials requested medical treatment for him, and it was provided.

14     In addition, Canadian officials, including agents of the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), visited Mr. Khadr a number of times and questioned him. In particular, in February 2003, CSIS agents and an officer from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) interviewed Mr. Khadr over the course of four days. Additional interrogations followed in September 2003 and March 2004. These visits were for purposes of law enforcement and intelligence gathering, not consular assistance to Mr. Khadr. Indeed, Canadian officials told Mr. Khadr in 2003 that they could not do anything to help him.

15     A report on the March 2004 visit by a DFAIT official states (referring to Mr. Khadr as "Umar"):

16     Even before it came to light that Mr. Khadr had been subjected to sleep deprivation, Justice Konrad von Finckenstein had issued an interim injunction preventing further interviews with Mr. Khadr in order "to prevent a potential grave injustice" (Khadr v. Canada, 2005 FC 1076, at para. 46).

17     By the spring of 2004, then, Canadian officials were knowingly implicated in the imposition of sleep deprivation techniques on Mr. Khadr as a means of making him more willing to provide intelligence. Mr. Khadr was then a 17-year-old minor, who was being detained without legal representation, with no access to his family, and with no Canadian consular assistance.

18     It cannot fairly be said, however, that Canada abandoned Mr. Khadr entirely. Clearly, officials were concerned about his treatment and welfare and, beginning in 2005, checked on him regularly.

19     According to orders issued by then President George W. Bush, detainees at Guantánamo Bay were considered unlawful combatants, with no standing to seek remedies in any court and no protection under the Geneva Conventions. In June 2004, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Guantánamo Bay detainees were entitled to bring habeas corpus applications in United States federal courts (Rasul v. Bush, 542 U.S. 466 (2004)). The Court found the Presidential Order to the contrary to be unlawful.

20     In September 2004, the Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) concluded that Mr. Khadr was an enemy combatant. In January 2005, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, after receiving habeas corpus applications from a number of detainees, including Mr. Khadr, concluded that the CSRT had denied them due process. In particular, the Court found that the detainees had not been given access to the evidence against them, had been denied the assistance of counsel, and had evidence obtained by torture used against them (In re Guantanamo Detainee Cases, 355 F. Supp. 2d 443).

21     In 2006, the United States Supreme Court held that the legal regime in Guantánamo Bay violated the Geneva Conventions because detainees had been denied the right to be tried by regular courts with the usual procedural protections (Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 126 S. Ct. 2749 (2006)). Subsequently, Congress enacted the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) which removed the U.S. federal courts' jurisdiction to receive habeas corpus applications from detainees.

22     Mr. Khadr faces five charges under the MCA: (1) Murder in Violation of the Law of War; (2) Attempted Murder in Violation of the Law of War; (3) Conspiracy; (4) Providing Material Support for Terrorism; and (5) Spying.

23     Mr. Khadr has launched a number of other proceedings in Federal Court. In 2004, he commenced an action for damages and a declaration that his Charter rights had been infringed. Justice Konrad von Finckenstein granted him an injunction against further interrogations by Canadian officials, but no further action was taken in the proceedings (Khadr v. The Attorney General of Canada and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, 2005 FC 1076, T-536-04).

24     Also in 2004, Mr. Khadr applied for judicial review of a decision of the Minister of Foreign Affairs not to seek further consular access to him. Again, there has been no recent action taken on this file (Khadr v. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, 2004 FC 1145, T-686-04).

25     In 2006, Mr. Khadr sought judicial review of a decision of the Minister of Justice not to comply with a request for disclosure of documents that would assist Mr. Khadr in defending the charges against him. The application was dismissed (Khadr v. Canada (Minister of Justice), 2006 FC 509), but Mr. Khadr appealed successfully (Khadr v. Canada (Minister of Justice), 2007 FCA 182). The Federal Court of Appeal found that Mr. Khadr's Charter rights were engaged by virtue of the involvement of Canadian officials in gathering evidence against him through their interrogations. The Court ordered the Minister of Justice to disclose all relevant documents to Mr. Khadr.

26     The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the Minister's appeal but varied the disclosure order. The Minister was ordered to disclose "(i) records of the interviews conducted by Canadian officials with Mr. Khadr or (ii) records of information given to U.S. authorities as a direct consequence of Canada's having interviewed Mr. Khadr" (Canada (Justice) v. Khadr, 2008 SCC 28, at para. 40).

27     The Supreme Court also ordered that a Federal Court judge review the disclosed documents in order to determine whether national security interests or other considerations apply to them and to make the final determination about what documents should be disclosed. Justice Richard Mosley performed that review and issued his order in June 2008: Khadr v. Canada (Attorney General), 2008 FC 807.

28     In 2007, Mr. Khadr commenced another application for judicial review, but it was discontinued in February 2008 (Khadr v. Minister of Justice, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Attorney General of Canada, T-1319-07).

IV. Issues

29     The respondents point to the earlier proceedings instituted by Mr. Khadr, particularly those leading to the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, and submit that the issues raised in this application have already been heard and decided; that is, that this application falls under the doctrine of res judicata.

30     The Supreme Court of Canada addressed the question whether the respondents were required to disclose documents in their possession that were relevant to the charges Mr. Khadr was facing, including records of interviews and information turned over to U.S. officials. In the analysis of this question, the Court considered whether the Charter applied to the issue of disclosure, given that the materials sought related to interviews that had taken place outside of Canada. The Court referred to its prior decision in R. v. Hape, 2007 SCC 26 where it had concluded that the Charter generally does not apply to Canadian investigators operating outside of Canada. But Hape had also identified an exception to that general rule where the activities of Canadian agents violated Canada's international obligations, particularly its human rights commitments. The Court stated:

31     The Court relied on the U.S. Supreme Court's conclusion that the Guantánamo Bay detainees had been unlawfully denied access to the remedy of habeas corpus and were being held under terms that violated the Geneva Conventions: Rasul v. Bush, above. Further, the Court noted that the U.S. Supreme Court had also found that the process of trials before military commissions violated Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, above. Based on these decisions, and given Canada's adherence to the Geneva Conventions, the Court concluded that "the regime providing for the detention and trial of Mr. Khadr at the time of the CSIS interviews constituted a clear violation of fundamental human rights protected by international law" (at para. 24).

32     However, the Court did not find it necessary to decide whether Canadian officials had actually violated the Charter by interviewing Mr. Khadr and turning over the fruits of those interviews to U.S. authorities. The Court simply noted that the Canadian officials were bound by the Charter at that point because they were participants in a process that violated international law. Accordingly, they were bound by the principles of fundamental justice that are protected by s. 7 of the Charter and nourished by international human rights obligations. Section 7 imposes on state agents an obligation to disclose relevant evidence to persons whose liberty interests are at stake. In the context of Mr. Khadr's case, this meant that Canadian officials had a duty to disclose all records of the interviews they had conducted and other information given to U.S. authorities as a consequence of those interviews.

33     I do not agree with the respondents that the issues arising in this case were decided by the Supreme Court of Canada in the earlier litigation on disclosure. True, there is some overlap. For example, the question of the application of s. 7 of the Charter arises in both, and Mr. Khadr sought disclosure of information in both. However, the issues here are broader and different. In particular, the question whether the respondents have a duty to seek the repatriation of Mr. Khadr has not previously been addressed.

34     In further support of their position, the respondents also point to the judgment of Justice Mosley arising from his review of the documents the Supreme Court ordered to be disclosed. He justified disclosure to Mr. Khadr of certain information on the grounds that Canada had, by virtue of the DFAIT official's interrogation of Mr. Khadr at Guantánamo Bay in March 2004, become implicated in violations of the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (Can. T.S. 1987 No. 36 (CAT)), as well as the Geneva Conventions. As mentioned, that interrogation took place with knowledge that Mr. Khadr had been subjected to sleep deprivation in order to prepare him to be cooperative in the interview and, thereby, to reveal useful intelligence. Justice Mosley ordered the disclosure of the report of the March 2004 interrogation to Mr. Khadr, and its contents subsequently became public knowledge.

35     Mr. Khadr raises similar arguments before me in support of his submission that Canadian officials have a duty to seek his repatriation. But that does not render the issues raised by Mr. Khadr here identical to the issues litigated previously. The contexts are quite different. This part of Mr. Khadr's application is not res judicata. However, it is clear that the issue of disclosure has been fully considered and decided in earlier proceedings and cannot be re-litigated before me.

36     On July 10, 2008, following the release of the decision of Justice Mosley discussed above, as well as the information about Canadian involvement in the imposition of sleep deprivation techniques on Mr. Khadr, a journalist asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper whether he would be requesting Mr. Khadr's repatriation to Canada. The Prime Minister said: "The answer is no, as I said the former Government, in our Government with the notification of the Minister of Justice had considered all these issues and the situation remains the same. ... [W]e keep on looking for [assurances] of good treatment of Mr. Khadr."

37     In addition to this specific statement, it is clear that the Government of Canada has an ongoing policy against requesting Mr. Khadr's repatriation that has been expressed publicly from time to time and can be the subject of judicial review at any given point: Canadian Association of the Deaf v. Canada, 2006 FC 971, at para. 72. This policy is reflected in the Government of Canada's dissent from a June 2008 report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development on Mr. Khadr's case. The Standing Committee recommended that Canada demand Mr. Khadr's repatriation. The Government's dissent was based on a concern that Canada be seen to deal forcefully with terrorism. In the Government's view, Mr. Khadr's case reflects "Canada's commitment to impeding global terrorism and the results of our actions today could result in consequences that are not in the long-term interest of the country" (House of Commons, Omar Khadr -- Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, (Communications Canada -- Publishing: Ottawa, 2008), at pp. 15-17).

38     Accordingly, I find that there has clearly been a "decision" that may properly be the subject of an application for judicial review.

39     Cases such as this require the Court to find the "legal edge between the executive and judicial functions" (as expressed by Lord Laws in Al Rawi v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2006] EWCA Civ 1279, at para. 148).

40     Generally speaking, decisions about foreign affairs fall naturally and properly to the executive. Still, Canadian courts have determined that the executive's prerogative in that area is subject to review under the Charter. As Justice Allen Linden has stated, "the exercise of Crown prerogative is beyond the scope of judicial review, except, of course, when a right guaranteed by the [Charter ] is violated": Copello v. Canada (Minister of Foreign Affairs), 2003 FCA 295, at para. 16, relying on Black v. Canada (Prime Minister) (2001), 54 O.R. (3d) 215 (C.A.).

41     Justice Robert Barnes expressed the situation this way:

42     The courts of other countries have addressed the question whether decisions taken by Governments in respect of persons detained at Guantánamo Bay are reviewable. In Abbasi v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, [2002] E.W.J. No. 4947 (C.A.), Lord Phillips acknowledged that courts may review the exercise of the Government's prerogative power in relation to foreign affairs. However, he concluded that the Government does not have a general enforceable duty to protect citizens abroad. The Government has the discretion to do so, but the courts should not intervene unless the Government's position is irrational or contrary to a legitimate expectation. Lord Phillips went on to say that, while a decision whether to make diplomatic representations on a citizen's behalf falls within the conduct of foreign policy, the Government has a duty at least to consider and respond to requests for diplomatic interventions. Whether the Government might be legally required to do more would depend on the particular facts.

43     It should be noted that the Abbasi decision was made at a point in time when the legal status of detainees was unclear under U.S. law. Further, the U.K. Foreign Office was in active discussions with the U.S. about the status of detainees. The timing, therefore, was "delicate" in the Court's view. While the Court held a "deep concern that, in apparent contravention of fundamental principles of law, Mr. Abbasi may be subject to indefinite detention in territory over which the United States has exclusive control with no opportunity to challenge the legitimacy of his detention", it could not, for the reasons outlined above, rule in his favour (at para. 107).

44     In Al Rawi, above, the Court considered the position of persons detained at Guantánamo Bay who were residents, not citizens, of the U.K. By 2006, the Secretary of State had made representations to the U.S. seeking the return of U.K. citizens, but had refused to do so on behalf of residents. The Court concluded that, to the extent that the Abbasi case recognized a basis for judicial review of Government decisions regarding citizens abroad, it should be confined to British nationals. And it made clear that the courts should be very careful not to intrude on the executive's responsibilities for foreign policy and national security.

45     In Mohamed v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, [2008] EWHC 2048 (Admin), the applicant, Binyan Mohamed, a Guantánamo Bay detainee, sought disclosure of information and documents held by the Foreign Secretary. Mr. Mohamed, a failed refugee claimant in, and resident of, the U.K., alleged that he had been arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and then kept in unlawful detention incommunicado until 2004 when he was transferred to Guantánamo Bay, where he faced serious charges. The Foreign Secretary refused disclosure on grounds of national security. Mr. Mohamed had been questioned by U.K. agents in Pakistan as part of an intelligence-gathering exercise. He was also questioned by U.S. authorities. Lord Thomas found that U.K. officials facilitated the U.S. interrogations, knowing that Mr. Mohamed's treatment and detention was unlawful. The Court specifically stated that it was not faced with the question whether the U.K. Government was under a duty, in these circumstances, to protest or make representations to the U.S. Government regarding Mr. Mohamed's treatment. However, in light of the involvement of U.K. officials, the Court held that Mr. Mohamed was entitled to disclosure at common law, subject to a claim of public interest immunity.

46     The Federal Court of Australia considered whether there was any chance of success in an application brought by a Guantánamo Bay detainee, Mr. David Hicks, for an order requiring the Government of Australia to seek his repatriation to Australia. Justice Tamberlin denied the Government's motion to dismiss the proceedings summarily, finding that there was at least some basis in law for Mr. Hick's application. Justice Tamberlin noted that "the extent to which the court will examine executive action in the area of foreign relations and Acts of State is far from settled, black-letter law" (Hicks v. Ruddock, [2007] FCA 299 at para. 93). The case was never decided on its merits because Mr. Hicks was, in fact, returned to Australia.

47     These cases support the respondents' contention that there is no clear duty to protect citizens recognized under international law, or under the common law. However, they do not help decide what duties Canada owes to citizens whose constitutional rights under the Charter are engaged. Further, they do not address the special circumstances that present themselves in this case -- in particular, Mr. Khadr's youth and the direct involvement of Canadian authorities in his mistreatment at Guantánamo Bay.

48     The Constitutional Court of South Africa considered whether there exists a legal duty to come to the aid of citizens who are at risk in other countries in Kaunda v. President of South Africa, CCT 23/04. There, the Court considered whether the Government of South Africa had an obligation to assist 69 South African citizens who had been arrested in Zimbabwe for purposes of extradition to Equatorial Guinea in connection with an alleged coup attempt. The question arose whether the Government of South Africa was obliged to intervene diplomatically on behalf of the detainees, given that their conditions of detention were deplorable and that they might face the death penalty in Equatorial Guinea if extradited. Chief Justice Chaskalson concluded that there is no right to diplomatic protection under international law. States have "the right to protect their nationals beyond their borders but are under no obligation to do so" (at para. 23). However, citizens have the right to request the Government "to provide protection against acts which violate accepted norms of international law" (at para. 144(5)). The Government must consider those requests and respond to them appropriately. Further, the Government's response is subject to judicial review under the Constitution. Still, courts will "give particular weight to the Government's special responsibility for and particular expertise in foreign affairs, and the wide discretion that it must have in determining how best to deal with such matters" (at para. 144(6)).

49     In my view, the same general approach applies here. The Government's decision is amenable to judicial review under the Charter but, at the same time, its view as to how best to deal with matters that affect international relations and foreign affairs is entitled to "particular weight".

50     While the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in respect of Mr. Khadr dealt with a different question (i.e., the duty to disclose the fruits of an interrogation), its approach is, nevertheless, helpful in addressing the question before me: Given Mr. Khadr's personal circumstances, as well as the conditions of his confinement and treatment at Guantánamo Bay, and in light of the involvement of Canadian authorities, does Canada have an obligation, based on the Charter, to protect Mr. Khadr?

51     To start with, it is clear that the Charter applies to the Canadian agents who travelled to Guantánamo Bay and questioned Mr. Khadr. The Supreme Court held that the "violations of human rights identified by the United States Supreme Court are sufficient to permit us to conclude that the regime providing for the detention and trial of Mr. Khadr at the time of the CSIS interviews constituted a clear violation of fundamental rights protected by international law" (at para. 24). Accordingly, while principles of international comity would otherwise have precluded the application of the Charter, those principles do not apply in circumstances where Canada's international human rights obligations have been contravened (at para. 18). Mr. Khadr's detention in Guantánamo Bay is illegal under both U.S. and international law. As such, the "Charter bound Canada to the extent that the conduct of Canadian officials involved it in a process that violated Canada's international obligations" (at para. 26).

52     Obviously, if the mere questioning of Mr. Khadr involved Canada in a process that violates our international human rights obligations, knowing involvement in the mistreatment of Mr. Khadr is an even more compelling basis on which to find that the Charter applied to Canadian officials at Guantánamo Bay.

53     When a person's life, liberty or security is at stake, s. 7 of the Charter requires Canadian officials to respect principles of fundamental justice. The Supreme Court found that Mr. Khadr's liberty interest was engaged by virtue of the participation of Canadian officials in an unlawful process and that the principles of fundamental justice required Canada to disclose the materials it acquired. Canada had provided that information to U.S. authorities and, therefore, its disclosure obligation required that the materials also be provided to Mr. Khadr. Canada's refusal to grant disclosure violated principles of fundamental justice and, therefore, Mr. Khadr's s. 7 rights.

54     Here, I must decide whether the applicable principles of fundamental justice require the Canadian Government to protect Mr. Khadr. To be recognized as a principle of fundamental justice, three criteria must be met. It must be (1) a legal principle, (2) for which there is a broad consensus about its fundamental character in respect of the fair operation of the legal system, and (3) which is capable of being defined with sufficient precision to be used as a manageable standard for the measurement of deprivations of life, liberty and security of the person (R. v. D.B., 2008 SCC 25).

55     In addition, the principles of fundamental justice are informed by Canada's international obligations. The Court must take into account "Canada's international obligations and values as expressed in '[t]he various sources of international human rights law -- declarations, covenants, conventions, judicial and quasi-judicial decisions of international tribunals, [and] customary norms'" (Suresh v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), [2002] 1 S.C.R. 3, at para. 46, citing United States v. Burns, [2001] 1 S.C.R. 283 at para. 80).

56     Torture is defined under the CAT as "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession" (Art. 1). The Supreme Court of Israel has concluded that sleep deprivation "for the purpose of tiring [the suspect] out or 'breaking' him, ... is not part of the scope of a fair and reasonable investigation" and harms "the rights and dignity of the suspect" (Public Committee Against Torture in Israel v. Israel, 38 I.L.M. 1471 at para. 31). Based on that decision, Justice Mosley concluded that the subjection of Mr. Khadr to sleep deprivation techniques offended the CAT.

57     In addition to its obligation to prevent torture within Canada and to prosecute offenders, Canada also has a duty to "ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings" (Art. 15). Canada turned over the fruits of its interrogation of Mr. Khadr to U.S. authorities for use against him, knowing that sleep deprivation techniques had been imposed on him.

58     Canada has a duty under the CRC to "take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical and mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child" (Art. 19.1). A child is a person under the age of 18 (Art. 1).

59     In addition, Canada must ensure that "[n]o child shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment", that "[n]o child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily" and that the "arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time" (Art. 37(a),(b)).

60     Canada must also ensure that "every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults" and "have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits", except in exceptional circumstances (Art. 37(c)). Further, every child in custody "shall have the right to prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority, and to a prompt decision on any such action" (Art. 37(d)).

61     Canada also has a duty to "take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of: any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; or armed conflicts" (Art. 39).

62     Finally, Canada has recognized "the right of every child alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law to be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of the child's sense of dignity and worth" (Art. 40.1).

63     The CRC imposes on Canada some specific duties in respect of Mr. Khadr. Canada was required to take steps to protect Mr. Khadr from all forms of physical and mental violence, injury, abuse or maltreatment. We know that Canada raised concerns about Mr. Khadr's treatment, but it also implicitly condoned the imposition of sleep deprivation techniques on him, having carried out interviews knowing that he had been subjected to them.

64     Canada had a duty to protect Mr. Khadr from being subjected to any torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, from being unlawfully detained, and from being locked up for a duration exceeding the shortest appropriate period of time. In Mr. Khadr's case, while Canada did make representations regarding his possible mistreatment, it also participated directly in conduct that failed to respect Mr. Khadr's rights, and failed to take steps to remove him from an extended period of unlawful detention among adult prisoners, without contact with his family.

65     Canada had a duty to take all appropriate measures to promote Mr. Khadr's physical, psychological and social recovery.

66     The Optional Protocol requires states to ensure that members of their armed forces who are under age 18 do not take a direct part in hostilities. Other armed groups "should not" recruit or use in hostilities persons under age 18. Thus, the Optional Protocol does not appear to contain a specific legal obligation on Canada in respect of someone in Mr. Khadr's circumstances.

67     However, the Optional Protocol is based on broader principles that are set out in its Preamble. For example, the signatories recognize the special needs of children "who are particularly vulnerable to recruitment or use in hostilities ... owing to their economic or social status or gender". Further, they recognize the need to strengthen international cooperation in the implementation of the Optional Protocol, "as well as the physical and psychosocial rehabilitation and social reintegration of children who are victims of armed conflict."

68     Clearly, Canada was obliged to recognize that Mr. Khadr, being a child, was vulnerable to being caught up in armed conflict as a result of his personal and social circumstances in 2002 and before. It cannot resile from its recognition of the need to protect minors, like Mr. Khadr, who are drawn into hostilities before they can apply mature judgment to the choices they face.

69     In determining the scope of the principles of fundamental justice, the Supreme Court has made clear that the particular circumstances in which the claim for s. 7 rights is made must be considered. Some factors may be particular to the claimant and others may be more general (Burns, above, at para. 65). For example, in deciding whether a parent is entitled to be represented by counsel at a child custody hearing, the Court considered the seriousness of the interests at stake, the complexity of the proceedings, and the capacity of the parent to participate meaningfully in the hearing if not represented (New Brunswick (Minister of Health and Community Services) v. G.(J.), [1999] 3 S.C.R. 46, at para. 74).

70     In Mr. Khadr's case, relevant factors to consider are his youth; his need for medical attention; his lack of education, access to consular assistance, and legal counsel; his inability to challenge his detention or conditions of confinement in a court of law; and his presence in an unfamiliar, remote and isolated prison, with no family contact.

71     I find that the three criteria from D.B., above, support the recognition of a duty to protect persons in Mr. Khadr's circumstances as a principle of fundamental justice.

72     First, it is a legal principle, expressed in clear and forceful language in the international instruments discussed above.

73     Second, given the broad international support for those instruments, I conclude that they represent a consensus that the duties contained in them have a fundamental character. I also note that the Supreme Court of Canada has already recognized that special treatment of young persons caught up in the legal system is a principle of fundamental justice given their diminished moral culpability. In doing so, it relied in part on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (D.B., above, at para. 60). Further, the Court has also invoked the CRC in recognizing the "importance of being attentive to the rights and best interests of children when decisions are made that relate to and affect their future" (Baker v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), [1999] 2 S.C.R. 817, at para. 71).

74     Third, the scope of the duty to protect can be adequately identified and manageably applied to deprivations of life, liberty and security of the person. In this context, I rely on the special circumstances that apply to Mr. Khadr's case and the multiplicity of departures from international norms that have taken place. Certainly, the scope of the duty to protect can be clearly articulated and applied to the facts before me.

75     I find, therefore, that the principles of fundamental justice obliged Canada to protect Mr. Khadr by taking appropriate steps to ensure that his treatment accorded with international human rights norms.

76     In some cases, a violation of s. 7 will, in itself, define the appropriate remedy. That is because a failure to abide by a principle of fundamental justice can be remedied simply by imposing a duty on the Government to respect the applicable principle. In these circumstances, it may not be necessary to resort to s. 24(1) of the Charter to find a remedy (see, e.g., Burns, above).

77     Similarly, in its decision ordering disclosure of materials to Mr. Khadr, the Supreme Court of Canada stated that the remedy of disclosure "mitigated the effect" of Canada's involvement in the violation of Mr. Khadr's rights. The question to be asked here, then, is what remedy is appropriate to mitigate the effect of the involvement of Canadian officials in the mistreatment of Mr. Khadr at Guantánamo Bay?

78     The principal remedy sought by Mr. Khadr is an order requiring Canada to request his repatriation. In the circumstances, no other remedy would appear to be capable of mitigating the effect of the Charter violations in issue or accord with the Government's duty to promote Mr. Khadr's physical, psychological and social rehabilitation and reintegration. The respondents have not proposed any alternative remedy. In other cases, there may be alternative appropriate remedies but, given the facts and submissions before me, I will confine myself to the remedy requested by Mr. Khadr.

79     The respondents argue that the Court should refrain from requiring them to request Mr. Khadr's repatriation because that would involve ordering Canada to take positive steps to protect Mr. Khadr, and would involve the Court in the exercise of prerogative powers relating to Canada's foreign relations with the United States. It is only in exceptional circumstances where an order to take positive steps can be made under s. 7 (Gosselin v. Quebec (Attorney General), [2002] 4 S.C.R. 429) and, naturally, as discussed above, courts should generally leave matters of foreign relations to Government.

80     In Gosselin, Chief Justice McLachlin noted that s. 7 protects the right not to be deprived of life, liberty and security of the person, except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice. It does not create a positive obligation on the state to ensure that each person enjoys life, liberty and security -- at least, the case law has not yet recognized such a duty. Chief Justice McLachlin acknowledged that, someday, s. 7 might be read to include positive obligations. She said: "I leave open the possibility that a positive obligation to sustain life, liberty, or security of the person may be made out in special circumstances" (at para. 83).

81     Gosselin involved a challenge to a social assistance scheme in the province of Quebec, primarily on grounds of inequality under s. 15 of the Charter. The argument under s. 7 related to the question whether a reduced amount of social assistance provided by the province infringed the appellant's right to security of the person in a manner contrary to the principles of fundamental justice. The appellant suggested that the province had a duty to provide her sufficient social assistance to realize a certain level of security.

82     As I see it, this case does not involve a similar request for positive action on the part of Canada. Mr. Khadr has very clearly been deprived of his liberty and Canadian agents are involved in that deprivation. The question is whether the refusal of Canada to request his repatriation offends the principles of fundamental justice. If it does, the appropriate recourse is to order Canada to seek his repatriation. That is not a "positive" obligation in the same sense that the term was used in Gosselin. In fact, it is not uncommon for courts to order that certain affirmative steps be taken by Government officials in circumstances where there has been a violation of the principles of fundamental justice. The Supreme Court's disclosure order in the earlier Khadr proceeding is one example. Others would include requiring the Government to provide legal counsel (G, above) or to seek assurances that the death penalty would not be imposed or carried out (Burns, above). In these cases, positive action on the part of the state was required to mitigate the effect of a deprivation of rights protected under s. 7. In Gosselin, by contrast, Chief Justice McLachlin was discussing the possibility that s. 7 might require, in special circumstances, positive measures on the part of the Government to prevent a deprivation of those rights.

83     The respondents emphasize the fact that the mistreatment of Mr. Khadr was carried out by non-Canadians. Under s. 7, "the guarantee of fundamental justice applies even to deprivations of life, liberty or security effected by actors other than our Government, if there is a sufficient causal connection between our Government's participation and the deprivation ultimately effected" (Suresh, above, at para. 54). Here, the necessary degree of participation is found in Canada's interrogation of Mr. Khadr knowing that he had been subjected to treatment that offended international human rights norms to which Canada had specifically committed itself.

84     The respondents also raised a general concern about potential harm to Canada-U.S. relations, but have not pointed to any particular harm that would result from requesting Mr. Khadr's repatriation. Similarly, the Supreme Court of Canada found that a requirement that Canada seek assurances that the death penalty would not be carried out on persons extradited to the United States did "not undermine in any significant way the achievement of Canada's mutual assistance objectives" (Burns, above, at para. 37). Further, the Court made clear that the Government's concern about a detrimental effect on foreign relations must be supported by evidence:

85     The Court also noted that European states regularly sought and received assurances regarding the death penalty from the United States.

86     Similarly, here, the respondents have not identified any particular harm that might flow from requesting Mr. Khadr's repatriation. Many other countries have requested the return of their citizens or residents from Guantánamo Bay and the United States has granted those requests. Further, the respondents have not identified how its firm position regarding the treatment of persons who have carried out terrorist acts would be compromised by requesting Mr. Khadr's repatriation to Canada for prosecution here. This, in fact, was one of the recommendations in the Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (above, at p. 6). Accordingly, as discussed above, while I accept that the Court should give particular weight to Governmental decisions affecting foreign relations, there is little evidence before me to be weighed.

87     The respondents argue that, if Mr. Khadr returns to Canada, the question will arise whether he can be prosecuted under Canadian law. The respondents' concern is whether the threshold criteria for launching a prosecution -- that is, whether there is a reasonable prospect of conviction and the prosecution is in the public interest -- would be met in Mr. Khadr's case. To my mind, any concern in this area merely reinforces the case for repatriation. If there is doubt about whether those criteria can be met, there should also be doubt about whether Mr. Khadr's ongoing detention at Guantánamo Bay is consistent with principles of fundamental justice.

88     The respondents also suggest that there is no reason to believe that the United States would grant a request for Mr. Khadr's repatriation, given that Canada's request for consular access to Mr. Khadr was denied. In my view, the denial of consular access made the need for repatriation more acute; it does not provide a justification not to request Mr. Khadr's return. Further, the evidence of successful requests for repatriation on the part of other countries suggests that a request presented by Canada would likely be granted by the United States. Indeed, given Canada's previous expressions of concern about Mr. Khadr's welfare and its view that Guantánamo Bay was not an appropriate place for his detention, a request from Canada for Mr. Khadr's repatriation would probably not be unexpected by U.S. authorities.

89     The Constitutional Court of South Africa in Kaunda, above, noted that there is a broad range of conduct that falls within the scope of "diplomatic protection". It would include "consular action, negotiation, mediation, judicial and arbitral proceedings, reprisals, retorsion, severance of diplomatic relations, [and] economic pressures" (at para. 27). I would regard the presentation of a request for the return of a Canadian citizen as being at the lower end of this spectrum of diplomatic intervention and, therefore, minimally intrusive on the Crown's prerogative in relation to foreign affairs.

90     Mr. Khadr asked me to admit two items into evidence. The first is his affidavit outlining his treatment at Bagram and Guantánamo Bay. I have admitted this document, although I did not find it necessary to rely on it to any significant degree. The second item was a recording of a documentary about Mr. Khadr. I found that this recording was not relevant to this proceeding, so I did not admit it.

91     I find that the Government of Canada is required by s. 7 of the Charter to request Mr. Khadr's repatriation to Canada in order to comply with a principle of fundamental justice, namely, the duty to protect persons in Mr. Khadr's circumstances by taking steps to ensure that their fundamental rights, recognized in widely-accepted international instruments such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, are respected. The respondents did not offer any basis for concluding that the violation of Mr. Khadr's rights was justified under s. 1 of the Charter.

92     The ongoing refusal of Canada to request Mr. Khadr's repatriation to Canada offends a principle of fundamental justice and violates Mr. Khadr's rights under s. 7 of the Charter. To mitigate the effect of that violation, Canada must present a request to the United States for Mr. Khadr's repatriation to Canada as soon as practicable.




* * * * *

Annex "A"

(2) Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the
status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right


Legal Rights

Life, liberty and security of person

* * *

Protocole facultatif à la Convention relative aux droits
de l'enfant, concernant l'implication d'enfants dans les
conflits armés. Les États Parties au présent Protocole

Les États Parties au présent Protocole