Cases & Decisions

Prime Minister of Canada v Khadr [Child soldier, Canadian citizen, Charter, UN Convention]

Court: Supreme Court of Canada, 2010

JFCY was granted intervener standing in coalition with the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children (CCRC) in this 2010 case.

Omar Khadr, a Canadian was detained by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 2002, when he was a minor and over a number of years was subjected to a sleep deprivation tecnique known as the “frequent flyer program” to make him less resistant to interrogation. In 2008, the Supreme Court held that the regime in place at Guantanamo Bay constituted a clear violation of Canada’s international human rights obligations; and under s. 7 of the Charter (Life, Liberty and Security of the Person) ordered the Canadian government to disclose to Khadr the transcripts of the interviews he had given to CSIS and DFAIT, which it did. 

After repeated requests by Khadr that the Canadian government seek his repatriation, the Prime Minister announced his decision not to do so; Khadr filed a court application asking the court to order the government to request his repatriation based on the breaches of his rights under s. 7 of the Charter.

JFCY and CCRC argued that the Supreme Court must consider that he was under 18, his rights under the Charter were violated, and that the protections granted under the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child and the related Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, should result in an order that the Canadian government to request Khadr’s repatriation.

The Supreme Court found that the appropriate remedy was to declare that K’s rights under the Charter rights were violated; and left it to the government to decide how best to respond in light of current information, its responsibility over foreign affairs, and the Charter.

Supreme Court of Canada decision

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