Seasons greetings from ICJ Canada,
2018 was an eventful year, and we would like to take this opportunity to reflect on the work we have done protecting human rights, the rule of law, and the independence of the judiciary. We would also like to look to 2019 and give our members a hint of what we have planned ahead.
2018 in Review
ICJ Canada was active in responding to pressing issues being faced both within Canada and internationally.
In April, ICJ Canada and CIPS hosted NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg for a town hall discussion on the importance of NATO during a time in which the rules-based international order is being challenged:
In May, we hosted a High Level Discussion on the Role of the Canadian Ombuds Person for Responsible Enterprise that attracted participants from the private sector, civil society, and regulators:
In October, we supported Senator Kim Pate in her call against mandatory minimum penalties through Bill S-251, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (independence of the judiciary) and the make related amendments) :
ICJ Canada also continues to take a principled stance in calling for action against the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people in Myanmar alongside our civil society partners from across the world. Board Member John Packer in particular was quite busy on this file, and was featured in an article from the Globe and Mail on the topic. In August, we hosted a symposium on the Rohingya Crisis:
ICJ Canada President Professor Errol Mendes has working on the topic of press freedom and the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashaggi. Professor Mendes participated in a news conference with former justice minister Irwin Cotler and several Parliamentarians on November 8th, 2018. Professor Mendes also contributed an Op-ed to the Globe and Mail that you can read here.
Members of ICJ Canada also had distinguished years individually. Professor Mendes received a Senate 150th Anniversary Medal in recognition of his work on the rule of law, human rights, and anti-discrimination. ICJ Canada Board Member Pierre Dalphond was appointed as an Independent Senator with the intention of assisting with the Senate's modernization and helping it fulfill its responsibility as a chamber of sober second thought, examination and inquiry.
Lastly, ICJ Canada would like to again congratulate Professor Penelope Simons on being selected as the 2018 Tarnoposky Award winner. Professor Simons received the award on October 31st at the reception following the event "70 Years On... is Humanity Ready for a World Court of Human Rights?", hosted by the Human Rights Research and Education Center and chaired by Professor Packer.
Looking to 2019
ICJ Canada has several events lined up for early 2019. First, we will be co-hosting a talk with Bill Browder, who will be speaking on how he became President Putin's nemesis with his tireless world-wide campaigning on "The Magnitsky Act". You can see the full details of the event and buy tickets for Bill Browder: From Russia's largest foreign investor to President Putin's Public Enemy No. 1 here now.
ICJ Canada relies on the support and expertise of its members to continue its mission of protecting human rights, the rule of law, and the independence of the judiciary. If you have any thoughts on, or would like to contribute to, any of the events identified above, please let us know.
Additionally, if you have not already, please consider renewing your ICJ Canada membership for 2019 using the button below. We are looking to expand our membership next year, so if you have any friends or colleagues that would be interesting in supporting assisting us in achieving our mandate please consider suggesting they join us as well.
Best wishes for the holidays!
On October 31st, 2018, ICJ Canada recognized Professor Penelope Simons as the 2018 recipient of the Walter S. Tarnopolsky award, which is given annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to human rights in Canada or abroad. The award ceremony took place in at the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law's atria at the reception following the event "70 Years On... is Humanity Ready for a World Court of Human Rights?", hosted by the Human Rights Research and Education Center and chaired by ICJ Canada board member John Packer.
Prior to taking up her position at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa, Penelope was a Senior Lecturer in Law at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK. She was called to the British Columbia Bar in 1996 and practiced corporate/commercial law with McCarthy Tétrault LLP. She has also worked in the nongovernmental sector on peace and disarmament issues.
Penelope has been engaged in research on corporate human rights accountability for over a decade. In December 1999 she participated in the Canadian Assessment Mission to Sudan (the Harker Mission), appointed by Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, to investigate allegations of slavery as well as links between oil development in Sudan and violations of human rights. Her current research is focused on the human rights implications of domestic and extraterritorial corporate activity, state responsibility for corporate complicity in human rights violations, as well as the intersections between transnational corporate activity, human rights and international economic law.
Penelope teaches international human rights law, business organizations, public international law and a course on transnational corporations, human rights and international trade and investment law. Her most recent work involved research with UN High Commissioner for Human Right’s Accountability and Remedy Project.
Congratulations Professor Simons!
Statement on the 70th Anniversary of the Genocide Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human RightsWritten by Administrator
In this month which marks the 70 anniversary of the Genocide Convention, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Canada should demonstrate its profound commitment to both Conventions by actions that prevent the promise of “never again” becoming the reality of “yet again” as we are seeing too often, since the Second World War demonstrated most recently by the continuing unfolding of the genocide in Myanmar against the Rohingya people.
The International Commission of Jurists, Canada asks the Canadian government to demonstrate leadership by demanding effective international efforts to protect the Rohingya that remain in Myanmar while also ensuring that any attempts to repatriate them back to Myanmar is not sending them back into a continuing form of genocidal repression. This is the minimum that our commitment to the Genocide Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and our own commitment to the global rule of law demands of us.
Professor Errol P. Mendes
President, International Commission of Jurists, Canada
On August 25th, ICJ Canada board member John Packer and the Human Rights Research and Education Centre co-hosted a Symposium on the Legal Dimensions of the Rohingya Crisis with the help of guests such as David Palumba-Liu from Stanford University and Ashley S. Kinseth from the Stateless Dignity Program. The symposiums programme is attached to this post. The symposium is well time with the release of the United Nation Human Rights Council's Report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar today on 27 August 2018. The UNHRC's report describes that the Rohingya crisis as a foreseeable, planned, and enduring human rights catastrophe, and makes several strong findings and recommendations.
ICJ Canada president Errol Mendes is urging Canada and all nations that are signatories to the 1948 Genocide Convention to support the UN report that Myanmar’s top military generals, including Commander-in-Chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing, must be investigated and prosecuted for genocide in the north of Rakhine State, as well as for crimes against humanity and war crimes in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States. See the UN Press Release: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23475&LangID=E
Today, Canada celebrates the 36th anniversary of the signing of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter was signed by then-Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on April 17, 1982. In 2015, 93 per cent of Canadians surveyed chose the Charter as the most important symbol of national identity, ranking it higher than the flag, the RCMP, the national anthem, hockey, the beaver, and the maple leaf.
ICJ Canada President Errol Mendes encourages all Canadians to reflect on the meaning of the Charter’s introduction and how it has shaped Canada since it came into force. The Charter guarantees basic rights and freedoms for everyone in Canada and continues to be essential in the protection of human rights, the rule of law, and the independence of the judiciary.
"Aujourd’hui, j’aimerais rappeler aux Canadiens que nous n’avons pas plus grand devoir que celui de veiller aux libertés des uns et des autres. Les mots enchâssés dans la Charte représentent nos droits, nos libertés et surtout notre responsabilité collective."
ICJ Canada Board Member John Packer supports Bob Rae’s call for Canadian leadership on Rohingya crisisWritten by Administrator
ICJ Canada Board Member and University of Ottawa Law Professor John Packer supports Bob Rae’s call for Canada to play a leadership role in addressing the Rohingya crisis. “Not only is this amongst the world’s worst humanitarian crises, but it is another threat to the international rules-based order presenting evident challenges for regional peace and security and sustainable peace and development in Myanmar and its neighbourhood. Canada is well-placed to step up with substantial humanitarian assistance, but also to press for accountability of those individually responsible for the crimes committed. In this regard, the ICC Prosecutor’s request for clarification of jurisdiction is a welcome development. But beyond humanitarian assistance and the fight against impunity, Canada should also lead in addressing the larger challenges of Myanmar’s State responsibility for the situation as a whole and in urging and assisting an appropriate inter-governmental approach, consistent with the UN Charter, to the root causes. Issues of human rights, democratic governance, and the Rule of Law – within Myanmar and at international level – are at the heart of these challenges.”
ICJ Canada president and University of Ottawa Law Professor Errol Mendes congratulates the University of Victoria on Canada's first Indigenous Law Degree. Indigenous and Aboriginal Legal Traditions are gaining traction around the world and we are thrilled to see this development coming from one of Canada's leaders in post-secondary education while promoting Indigenous law and faculty. This aligns with our mandate of promoting human rights and the rule of law throughout Canada and world and aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation's recommendations to increase Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms at all levels.
4 April 2018: ICJ Canada President Errol Mendes hosts and moderates discussion with NATO Secretary GeneralWritten by Administrator
On April 4th, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke at a CÉPI - CIPS Town Hall discussion on the importance of NATO during a time in which the rules-based international order is being challenged. ICJ Canada President Errol Mendes joined Mr. Stoltenberg on stage as host and discussion moderator.
Jens Stoltenberg is Norwegian and held various posts in the government including Prime Minister of Norway from 2005-2013
During his tenure as Prime Minister, Mr Stoltenberg frequently called for NATO to focus on security challenges close to Allied territory.
Mr Stoltenberg is a strong supporter of enhanced transatlantic cooperation, including better burden-sharing across the Atlantic. He sees NATO and the EU as complementary organisations in terms of securing peace and development in Europe and beyond.
Mr Stoltenberg has had a number of international assignments. These include chairing the UN High-level Panel on System-wide Coherence and the High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing. He was also UN Special Envoy on Climate Change.
Happy New Year!
May 2018 bring you a peace filled life, warmth and togetherness with your work, friends, family and much prosperity. ICJ Canada’s first order of business will be to get our podcast series off the ground and we want to hear from you! What topics would like covered? What are the pressing legal issues facing Canada today? Are there any legal actors (judges, professors, lawyers, plaintiffs) we should profile or interview?
We would also encourage anyone who has not already purchased a membership for 2018 to please consider doing so. Your support is essential in allowing ICJ Canada to do projects such as these podcasts and advocate for the rule of law, judicial independence, and human rights in Canada.
Que cette nouvelle année vous apporte la réussite dans tout ce que vous entreprenez et que le bonheur soit dans vos coeurs et dans ceux de vos proches. Nous sommes en train de préparer la programmation pour 2018 et notre premier ordre du jour sera de démarrer notre série de baladodiffusions. Nous avons décidé de solliciter nos membres pour voirs quels thématiques ils aimeraient abordés. Quels sujets aimeriez-vous couvrir? Quels sont les problèmes juridiques pressants auxquels le Canada est confronté aujourd'hui? Y a-t-il des intervenants juridique (juges, professeurs, avocats, plaignants) que nous devrions interviewer?
Nous encourageons également toute personne qui n'a pas déjà acheté une adhésion pour 2018 de cliquer ici. Votre soutien est essentiel pour permettre à la CIJ - Canada de réaliser des projets tels que les balados et de défendre la primauté du droit, l'indépendance judiciaire et les droits de la personne au Canada.
ICJ Canada would like to invite you to attend the Canada 150 Conference on Innovation and Globalization. This conference aims to facilitate the networking and collaboration necessary to develope creative solutions to existing and imminent challenges as well as strategies to identify and capitalize on new opportunities. It will take place on November 29 to December 1 at the Global Centre for Pluralism at 330 Sussex Drive in Ottawa. This three day conference is being hosted in co-operation with the University of Ottawa with ICJ Canada President Errol Mendes acting as the Academic Director.
ICJ Canada will be awarding the Tarnopolsky Award to Senator Murray Sinclair for his distinguished career and work on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on the second day of the event. ICJ Canada members have already been invited to attend this conference for free, and everyone is welcome to register for this conference at the following link: http://trk.cp20.com/click/
ICJ Canada President Errol Mendes Book Launch - Canada's Constitutional Democracy: The 150th Anniversary CelebrationWritten by Administrator
ICJ Canada was thrilled at the turnout for the Canada's Constitutional Democracy: The 150th Anniversary Celebration book launch! This event was hosted by ICJ Canada President and general editor for the book Errol Mendes, and Senator Marilou McPhedran who also contributed a wonderful chapter on the efforts of Canadian women to acheive substantive equality through the Charter.
In attendance were guests such as John Packer, Elizabeth May, Stéphane Beaulac, and many other Parliamentarians and contributors.
You can order this landmark constitutional law and historical text celebrating Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation here:
ICJ Canada publication and book launch: “Canada and the Rule of Law: 150 Years after Confederation / Le Canada et la primauté du droit: 150 ans après la Confédération”Written by Administrator
ICJ Canada has published a unique collection of essays on the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation. Canada and the Rule of Law: 150 Years after Confederation / Le Canada et la primauté du droit: 150 ans après la Confédération features 35 short, captivating pieces by jurists from across Canada, interpreting the theme in diverse ways.
Topics addressed in the book include the Canadian ‘origin myth’, the interpretation of the rule of law in Canadian constitutional jurisprudence, the relationship between access to justice and the rule of law, the role of members of the judicial profession in relation to the rule of law, and the need for a rule of law that upholds fundamental human rights. Authors identify areas in which our continued vigilance and commitment to improvement is critical for ensuring a strong rule of law, particularly in relation to human rights. Several essays in the book focus on reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada, and advocate for a rule of law that respects Indigenous laws. The essays are written in both English and French.
Our book launch took place on June 10, as part of the Realizing Rights 2017: Human Rights and Constitutionalism Conference. ICJ Canada Executive Director Janine Lespérance chaired the discussion, which featured 13 other book contributors: Raj Anand, Karen Busby, Richard Devlin, Scott Fairley, Julius Grey, Hanna Gros, Marie-Claude Landry, Errol Mendes, Samer Muscati, Alex Neve, John Packer, and Robin Sully.
Additional contributors to the book are Roger Bilodeau, Ian Binnie, John Campion, Adam Dodek, Maureen Duffy, Mary Eberts, Dennis Edney, Allan Hutchinson, Fiona Keith, Marcia Kran, Lucie Lamarche, Anne Levesque, Kathleen Mahoney, L.S. Tony Mandamin, Jesse McCormick, Bradford Morse, Pamela Palmater, Debra Parkes, Kimberly Prost, Daniel Proulx, Michèle Rivet, Colleen Sheppard, Shauna Van Praagh, Sherri Walsh, and Jack Watson. ICJ Canada wishes to sincerely thank all of our contributors for their excellent, thought-provoking writing.
We’d also like to acknowledge the editorial team that made this publication happen: Janine Lespérance (Lead Editor), Richard Devlin, Errol Mendes, John Packer, Michèle Rivet, and Peter Tinsley.
We intend to distribute this book widely, and hope that it will spark discussions about the nature and meaning of the rule of law for Canadians.