News Releases

CLAIHR Board Member Heather Cohen Selected as Fellow at the Philippe Kirsch Institute

Our Board Member, Heather Cohen, has been selected for the role of Fellow at the Philippe Kirsch Institute (“PKI”). PKI is a legal training institute with a variety of continuing professional development (“CPD”) programs focused on international human rights and corporate social responsibility. PKI’s faculty consist of a consortium of former Supreme Court and international Judges, as well as leading lawyers.  They include such esteemed legal professionals as former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Ian Binnie, lawyer and educator John Norris, and Lorne Sossin, Dean of Osgoode Hall law school. PKI’s curriculum includes such programs as “Anti-Terrorism in Troubling Times: National Security and Secret Evidence” and “Effective Use of International Law before Canadian Courts,” along with many other topics, delivered both in person, and through webinars.

As a Fellow, Heather is looking forward to supporting future programs at PKI, developing partnerships, and designing events.  Revenues generated from PKI’s programs support the Canadian Centre for International Justice (“CCIJ”) which works with survivors of genocide, torture, and other atrocities. CCIJ also seeks redress for these individuals and works to bring perpetrators to justice.  Fellows are appointed for a two-year term.

CLAIHR is pleased with the opportunity to strengthen its partnership with the CCIJ, an organization with which it has jointly intervened in the past.

 

By |August 31st, 2015|Blog, News Releases|

Should Canada Intervene to Protect Human Rights?

A panel at University of Toronto, September 27, 2012
Featuring
Senator Romeo Dallaire
Senator Art Eggleton
Martha Hall Findlay
and Jon Kay as Moderator

PLUS: A sneak preview of rough cuts from Senator Dallaire’s new documentary with Producer Peter Raymont, “Fight Like Soldiers, Die Like Children.”

On September 27, 2012, CLAIHR will host “International Crises: Should Canada intervene to protect human rights?” a panel discussion to conclude its year-long symposium commemorating the 10th anniversary of Responsibility to Protect (“R2P”).

The R2P is an international doctrine on human rights. The R2P doctrine places the primary responsibility on states to protect their populations from mass atrocities. When the State is unwilling or unable to protect its population the international community has a responsibility to take collective action.

Intervention under R2P doesn’t always mean military measures. It can include preventative diplomacy, fact-finding missions, economic sanctions and embargos as well as operations such as no-fly zones, monitoring and civilian defence missions.

Social and political unrest has resulted in human rights crises in nations — most lately in Syria. On Sept. 27 at the University of Toronto’s Ignatieff Theatre, Senator Romeo Dallaire, Senator Art Eggleton and Martha Hall Findlay will discuss the application of the R2P doctrine, looking at whether and in what circumstances Canada should intervene.

Senator Romeo Dallaire will share his perspectives on intervention from his experience as Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda prior to and during the 1994 genocide. Senator Dallaire disobeyed the UN command to withdraw its peacekeeping forces and remained in Rwanda to protect those who sought refuge with the UN forces. His courage during the mission earned him numerous honours, including the Meritorious Service Cross and the United States Legion of Merit. Since his mission in Rwanda, Senator Dallaire has served on the UN Advisory Committee on Genocide Prevention and as Advisor to the Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada and Minister of National Defence. Senator Dallaire was appointed to the Canadian Senate in 2005.

Senator Art Eggleton served as Toronto’s longest serving Mayor in Toronto history. Senator Eggleton also served 11 years as a member of the House of Commons and the federal Cabinet where he held several positions including Minister of National Defence. Senator Eggleton will share his thoughts on intervention as he served as Minister during the NATO intervention in Kosovo in 1999. In 2005, Senator Eggleton was appointed to the Senate.

Martha Hall Findlay is the former Liberal Member of Parliament for Willowdale. Ms. Findlay held several positions during her time as MP, including the Official Opposition Critic for International Trade. Ms. Findlay is also a successful lawyer, businesswoman and entrepreneur. In addition to her legal and business career, Ms. Findlay has been involved in non-profit and volunteer initiatives including the Couchiching Institute on Public Affairs, the Georgian Bay Association and the York Region Community Foundation. She recently authored an important analysis of Canada’s supply management system for farmers.

Jon Kay, Managing Editor of the National Post, will serve as moderator of the discussion.

Event Details

September 27, 2012 6:30-8:30 PM
Ignatieff Theatre, Toronto

By |August 27th, 2012|News Releases|

The Way Forward for Responsibility to Protect

The Canadian Lawyers Association for International Human Rights (CLAIHR) and the International Law Students Association (ILSA) University of Ottawa Chapters hosted the 8th Annual Global Generations Conference on February 24th in Ottawa. This year’s conference title “The Way Forward – The Promise of R2P” was selected to recognize the 10th anniversary of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty’s (ICISS) Report on the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and Canada’s Canada’s important role in the creation of this doctrine.

The conference featured student presentations and a panel of experts whose current work engages with the responsibility to protect, including former Canadian Ambassador to the UN, Allan Rock, PC.

To learn more about the conference please read an article published in Canadian Lawyers Magazine 4 Students.

By |March 5th, 2012|News Releases, Student News|

CLAIHR Presents Michael Ignatieff October 26, 2011

Michael IgnatieffCLAIHR is launching its year-long symposium marking the 10-year anniversary of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine at our kick off event with Michael Ignatieff on October 26, 2011 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM in the Music Room at Hart House. Professor Ignatieff will be speaking about this important doctrine, which governs the way the world responds to international crisis situations as an alternative to the more traditional humanitarian intervention model. The Responsibility to Protect doctrine is a Canadian idea, which asserts that if a government is unable or unwilling to protect its own people, or if a government is responsible for ethnic cleansing or massacres, than other countries should step in and help.

Michael Ignatieff is well known in Canada as being the former leader of the Liberal Party, however, he also played an integral role in the formulation of this doctrine. In 2001, Professor Ignatieff was a member of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS), which released its report on the Responsibility to Protect in 2001. The event will allow attendees to ask Professor Ignatieff questions about R2P and how Canada fits into the global landscape in R2P actions such as crisis in Libya, Syria or other conflict zones, now and into the future.

CLAIHR is proud to present this cocktail reception in conjunction with the newly established University of Toronto student chapter.

This event is sponsored by Torys.

Torys Logo

Follow CLAIHR on twitter at @CLAIHR for updates on future events in this symposium.

By |September 9th, 2011|News Releases|

Van Breda Intervention at the SCC

The Supreme Court of Canada granted leave to appeal in two cases from the Ontario Court of Appeal concerning two Ontario residents who were injured or killed while on vacation in Cuba in the case of Club Resorts v. Van Breda.  The court heard arguments on the ability of a court to hear a case in which the defendant and the injuries were located outside of Canada.  CLAIHR, along with Amnesty International and the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ) were given intervenor status together to make arguments at the Supreme Court.  This case was of interest to CLAIHR, CCIJ and Amnesty as it raised the issue of the forum of necessity jurisdiction, which is vitally important for victims of human rights abuses abroad who wish to commence legal actions in Canada.  This jurisdiction is an emerging concept in private international law where litigants may bring actions in tort proceedings involving foreign defendants and extraterritorial events.  The recognition of this jurisdiction would allow Canadian courts to hear proceedings that could not possibly have been instituted elsewhere.   This jurisdiction provides potential litigants with greater access to justice for crimes where legal recourse has traditionally been virtually impossible such as civil claims relating to egregious human rights violations.  With the recognition of the forum of necessity, Canada would allow plaintiffs who cannot return to the country where the harm occurred, without risking their lives or further injury, to institute civil proceedings against the perpetrators in Canadian courts.

The Ontario Court of Appeal recognized this jurisdiction in limited cases and CLAIHR along with the CCIJ and Amnesty International are seeking confirmation of this approach.  While the Van Breda case does not involve human rights issues, it raises this important issue of jurisdiction that could be a very important tool in assisting victims of human rights violations to find justice in Canada.

CLAIHR, together with the Canadian Centre for International Justice (CCIJ) and Amnesty International, were granted intervenor status by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Van Breda case and made oral arguments at the Supreme Court on March 21, 2011.  CLAIHR urged the Supreme Court to confirm the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in recognizing the forum of necessity jurisdiction so that victims of international crimes such as torture, war crimes and other serious international offences can seek justice through the civil courts in Canada so long as the plaintiff has some connection with the Canadian jurisdiction of the court.

CLAIHR is represented pro bono by Dr. François Larocque of the University of Ottawa and Mark Power of Heenan Blaikie LLP.

Click here for the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal.

By |March 21st, 2011|News Releases, Our Work|

Event: Diplomatic Reflections on Afghanistan – March 24

On March 24, 2010, CLAIHR is proud to co-sponsor with the Law Society of Upper Canada an event entitled Peace, Reconciliation and Justice: The Afghanistan Experience Reflections of a Canadian Diplomat. The press release follows.

After three decades of social and political unrest, Afghanistan has an historic opportunity to break with the past and set the direction of its future. One of Canada’s esteemed former diplomats and the first-ever ambassador to Afghanistan will deliver a keynote address at the Law Society on March 24, 2010 to reflect on his mission to Afghanistan and the prospects of achieving peace in that country.

By |March 21st, 2010|News Releases|

CLAIHR and Hot Docs

In the Spring of 2009, CLAIHR’s innovative spirit found new expression in its exciting new alliance with the Hot Docs Film Festival, North America’s largest documentary film festival which showcases films and filmmakers from over 35 countries around the world.

As a premiere festival sponsor, CLAIHR proudly presented Mugabe and the White African, the true story of white African farmer Michael Campbell’s desperate struggle to keep his farm in the face of brutal violence by Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe.

By |March 2nd, 2010|News Releases|

The Hot Docs Film Festival – The Canadian International Documentary Festival

In the Spring of 2009, CLAIHR’s innovative spirit found new expression in its exciting new alliance with the Hot Docs Film Festival, North America’s largest documentary film festival which showcases films and filmmakers from over 35 countries around the world.

By |February 16th, 2010|News Releases|

Responsibility to Protect Panel Discussion – April 2009

Early last year, CLAIHR was approached by the Law Society of Upper Canada to partner an event on the “Reconciling State Sovereignty with the Global Responsibility to Protect”. In approaching CLAIHR, the Law Society recognized the legitimacy of the organization’s role in the international human rights discourse.

By |February 15th, 2010|News Releases|

Désiré Munyaneza

On 29 October 2009, Désiré Munyaneza, a 42 year old Rwandan businessman, became the first person to be convicted under the Canadian Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act (the “Act”)which came into force in 2001. He has been sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for 25 years. He now seeks to appeal his conviction and sentence before the Quebec Court of Appeal.

By |February 15th, 2010|News Releases|