Wednesday 12 July 2017

Khadr Settlement: What were the options?

Khadr Settlement: What were the options?

 On October 19, 2015 the newly elected Trudeau Government inherited a civil lawsuit against the federal government first filed by Omar Khadr in 2004. (1)

The new Government had two options: continue litigation or arrive at a settlement agreement.

The U.K. and Australia in 2010 arrived at settlement with their citizens who had been imprisoned by the United States. (2)

As early as August 10, 2005 the first of thirteen cases engaged in prior to the settlement resulted in a Federal Court judge ruling "that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms extends to Omar Khadr". (3)

Under appeal "The Supreme Court of Canada was unequivocal in 2010 in finding a breach of Khadr's charter rights"(4) the Harper Government, rather than doing as other counties, engaged in nine more litigations with Khadr all of which they lost. (5)

In 2013 Khadr requested and won the right to amend his lawsuit to seeking $20 million for Canada's alleged violation of his rights. (6)

Rather than recognize the clear direction of the courts litigation was undertaken to prevent Khadr from obtaining bail and to have him declared an adult offender. (7)

The outcome of the last case prior to change of government in October 19, 2015 was "May 14, 2015: The Supreme Court rejects government efforts to have Khadr ruled an adult offender". (8)

A moot question is whether if re-elected a settlement would have been agreed to or expensive litigation continued even longer and whether a negative Supreme Court decision honoured.

Clearly, however, the elected government, knowing the losses in all cases to this point, chose to arrive at a $10.5 and apology settlement agreement rather than the cost of litigation and potential $20 million payment.

Sources of information:
Omar Khadr's legal odyssey, from Guantanamo Bay to apology (1) (6) (8)

Khadr settlement far from unprecedented; U.K., Australia made similar deals (2) (4)

TIMELINE Key events in the Omar Khadr case (3)


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