Saturday, March 24, 2007

Iacobucci Inquiry: The Process

If the lawyers for the three complainants cannot view the evidence what is the point in their even being there? This is what worries me about an inquiry that involves evidence that will be routinely be classified and as not in the public interest to reveal. How could one hope to have confidence in this process even if Iacobucci does find failings in the intelligence services? There still has been not a single person held responsible for the Arar case. In fact several people involved were promoted. Zaccardelli had to resign because of his perjury not because of the RCMP wrongdoings or errors as in officalspeak.

Inquiry into torture of three Canadians to be mostly private: judge Canadian Press
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2007 Article tools

OTTAWA (CP) - Former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci is promising to get to the bottom of the role played by the RCMP and CSIS in the arrest and torture abroad of three Canadians accused of terrorist ties - but the public may never see most of the evidence.

In an opening statement Monday, Iacobucci acknowledged that the bulk of his work will be carried out behind closed doors for national security reasons. He expressed hope, however, that the secrecy won't undermine public confidence in the proceedings.

"Having been a judge for some 17 years, I have a profound respect for the principles of independence and acting in the public interest," he said.

He went on to offer an assurance that he will be "as vigilant as I can to ensure that the inquiry is as independent, thorough and fair as it can possibly be under the circumstances."

Iacobucci also noted the terms of reference handed to him by the Conservative government do allow for some public hearings if he considers them "essential" to carry out his mandate.

"I intend to take that provision most seriously," he said.

Commission counsel John Laskin said it's premature to speculate about how much of the evidence will be available to the media and the general public.

He also declined to offer an opinion on whether security-cleared lawyers for the three complainants will be allowed to sit in on closed-door sessions dealing with sensitive documents and testimony. That issue will likely be hashed out at another hearing scheduled for mid-April

Iacobucci was appointed last December to investigate the ordeals of Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati and Muayyed Nureddin, all of whom deny allegations of terrorist links.

They say their detention and torture in Syria and Egypt resulted from misleading information supplied to foreign officials by Canadian police and security officers.

© The Canadian Press 2007

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