This letter, co-sponsored by CPIJ Co-Director Fannie Lafontaine, Beverly Jacobs (University of Windsor) and Bernard Duhaime (UQÀM), urges Senators to proceed swiftly with Bill C-262. It asks them to toss away any unfounded fears and doubts that would impede its swift examination by the Senate, so it can be passed and be part of Canadian law before the end of the current parliamentary session.
Bill C-262, a private member bill tabled by Romeo Saganash, was adopted by the House of Commons on May 30, 2018. This adoption was hailed as a victory for the human rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada. It is only eleven months later, on April 30, 2019, that the Senate finally announced the referral of the bill to the Standing Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples. The bill is currently scheduled for debate before this Committee on May 14.
This selection followed a widely shared call for applications which terminated on the 31st of March 2019. An extensive analysis of the numerous applications received led the Committee to select two students studying in Canada and one student from a developing or less developed country.
The Committee will meet again soon to analyze the applications related to the Assembly of State Parties (ASP) to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Learn more about CPIJ funding for student projects here.
April 2019 – On 11 April 2019, the Partnership’s Governance Committee held a regular meeting. At this occasion, Partnership’s co-researchers and current Axis Chairs – namely Valerie Oosterveld (Axis 1), Penelope Simons (Axis 2) and Joanna Harrington (Axis 3) – confirmed their desire to pursue their mandate on the Governance Committee for an additional year. Their new term will end on 31 March 2020. The Committee also officially welcomed a new associate on the Partnership’s coordination team, Mélanie Dufresne.
The Partnership is led by two Co-Directors Fannie Lafontaine and Jayne Stoyles. Its structure includes 26 co-researchers and collaborators, whose actions are organized within 3 research axis. Each axis also includes student-researchers and is spearheaded by a Chair who may rotate on a yearly basis. The Governance Committee is composed of the Co-Directors, the Chairs and a representative of a NGO partner, Pascal Paradis (Avocats sans frontières Canada). The coordination team provides support to the Committee’s work.
Associate Professor at Queen’s Law University, Sharry Aiken has spent a great deal of her career advocating for human rights and social justice. Her outstanding expertise on immigration and refugee law has led her to appear before the Supreme Court of Canada in a number of precedent setting immigration cases, such as the Charkaoui, Harkat and Almrei cases. Past president of the Canadian Council for Refugees and former Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Center for International Justice (CCIJ), Prof. Aiken will undoubtedly be a valuable asset to Axis 3 of CPIJ Research Program.
Including a foreword of the former UN Secretary general Kofi Annan, this collective work addresses the most topical issues in the field of international law and relations. Authors are leading experts and renowned actors on the international scene or within national jurisdictions, who all maintained close contact with Louise Arbour through her career. Louise Arbour had an important impact on the development of international law and played an important role in international institutions, as Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Executive Director of the International Crisis Group and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on International Migrations. She also held the highest judicial function in Canada and has helped to shape Canadian law as an academic and as a judge, sitting on the Supreme Court of Canada. Louise Arbour is a leading expert in the fields of conflict prevention and resolution, criminal justice, human rights.
This unique collection of essays written by leading experts addresses fundamental issues such as the right to the truth, torture, immunities and women’s rights in the context of recent and current events. It also questions basic assumptions and sheds new light on crucial issues that are at the core of the world’s agenda. Interactions between justice and peace, human rights and conflicts, law and politics, both within the international or national context, are at the heart of each contribution.
Doing Peace the Rights Way brings together great minds, in the honor of a justice and human rights champion and ambassador, in the hope that their vision of the most topical and important issues of our time can help to bring closer ideals of peace and justice for all.
With contributions from Andrew Clapham, William Schabas, Tity Agbahey, Gilles Olakounlé Yabi, Alana Klein, Hina Jilani, J. Michael Spratt, Pablo Espiniella, James K. Stewart, Mona Rishmawi, Lisa N. Oldring, Fannie Lafontaine, Luc Côté, François Larocque, Tim McCormack, Fabrizio Hochschild, Philip Alston, Antonia Potter Prentice, Camille Marquis Bissonnette, Kim Pate and Natasha Bakht.
26 February 2019 – The controversy in Canada involving Québec-based corporate giant SNC-Lavalin highlights the need for a parliamentary review of the legal scheme for fighting foreign corruption.
Underpinning the scandal is a corporate criminal prosecution for the alleged bribery of Libyan officials by SNC-Lavalin officials and the question of a plea deal. Since corporations cannot do jail time, a fine is the obvious punishment. But how large should the fine be, and with what consequences? Should SNC-Lavalin be barred from consideration for future government contracts?
It was only in 1999 — almost 20 years to the day of the Globe and Mail‘s report about allegations that Canada’s former attorney general felt pressured to help SNC-Lavalin — that the bribery of a foreign public official became a crime under Canadian law.
Until then, paying a bribe or kickback to secure a contract abroad was seen as the cost of doing business in a foreign land.
Speedy passage, however, meant that Parliament had not set aside any time to consider the more delicate details, such as the role of plea deals to save court time. And parliamentarians had failed to consider the question of who are the victims of foreign corruption, because plea deals are likely to involve the payment of a victim surcharge to fund victims assistance programs.
Why was Canada so keen to rush this new law into place? The answer lies in international pressure.
It was this keenness to join that led Canadian parliamentarians to accept the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, the legislation that put into motion the OECD convention’s terms. Those terms include a provision that the investigation and prosecution of foreign bribery “shall not be influenced by considerations of national economic interest, the potential effect upon relations with another State or the identity of the natural or legal persons involved.”
Canada also accepted the supply-side focus of the OECD’s approach — often called active bribery — as it focuses on the conduct of the one offering the bribes. But the demand side of foreign bribery isn’t always passive if an individual recipient encourages a corporate payment, and so the demand-side aspect is worthy of further parliamentary review in Canada.
Indeed, after a study in 2008, the Law Commission of England and Walesconcluded there should be two general offences of bribery, one for the conduct of the payer and the other for the conduct of the recipient.
Illegal to offer rewards to foreign officials
Corruption takes a variety of forms, with bribery being the standard offence for addressing corruption in the public sphere.
With the Canadian Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act in place, it is illegal to offer undue rewards to foreign public officials to obtain improper advantages in the conduct of international business. The act has created work for business lawyers offering compliance advice.
But the act has also fostered disappointment. In 20 years, there have only been four convictions. Three convictions, secured by guilty pleas, have involved Alberta-based companies in the oil-and-gas sector, while the fourth concerned an Ottawa-based individual in the technology sector.
There’s rarely any mention of the tally of closed investigations, acquittals and stayed proceedings. That tally includes the 2017 acquittal of several people associated with SNC-Lavalin and a bridge development project in Bangladesh; the same bridge project that led to SNC-Lavalin’s negotiated acceptance of World Bank debarment in 2013.
But Canada’s legislative scheme has not kept pace with the multi-jurisdictional realities of fighting foreign corruption.
In its 2018 annual report to Parliament, Global Affairs Canada continued to hail the $10.3 million fine paid by Griffiths Energy International as “the largest to date under the CFPOA.” But no mention is made of the English Court of Appeal’s assessment that this was a “relatively modest sum” given the surge in share value for the successor company in the United Kingdom.
Corruption violates integrity
It is often said that “corruption is not a victimless crime.”
And no less a body than the Supreme Court of Canada has opined that: “Corruption … undermines confidence in public institutions, diverts funds from those who are in great need of financial support, and violates business integrity.”
But more work is needed from Parliament on the definition of a victim. Past plea deals have included the payment of sizeable victim surcharge fees into provincial victims-of-crime funds.
But how do these funds offer assistance to the victims of foreign bribery in, say, Bangadesh or Chad, or to a company’s employees in Canada?
Lastly, there is the larger question, now ripe for review, about the hope placed on using criminal law to secure the often-stated goal of securing a level playing field for Canadian companies operating abroad.
25 february 2019 – The Faculty of Law is pleased to announce that Professor Payam Akhavanand Professor Frédéric Mégrethave been promoted to the rank of Full Professor, effective 1 March 2019.
Professor Akhavan teaches and researches on public international law, international dispute settlement, international criminal law, human rights, and cultural pluralism. He received the degrees of Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) and a Master of Laws (LLM) from Harvard Law School after obtaining an LLB at Osgoode Hall Law School. Prior to joining McGill, he was a senior fellow at Yale Law School and a UN prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunals for former Yugoslavia and Rwanda at the Hague, making significant contributions to their foundational jurisprudence. In 2017, he delivered the CBC Massey Lectures, In Search of a Better World: A Human Rights Odyssey, in five different Canadian cities. His companion book was a #1 bestseller (non-fiction) in Canada.
Professor Mégret’s interests lie in international criminal justice, international human rights law, the law of international organizations, transitional justice, and general international law. He was named a William Dawson Scholar by McGill University in March 2015 and held the Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) on the Law of Human Rights and Legal Pluralism from 2006 to 2015. He served as associate dean (research) at the Faculty of Law from 2012 to 2015. Before developing an interest in international criminal law and humanitarian law, he completed a stint as a member of the United Nations Protection Force deployed in Sarajevo. He holds a PhD from the Graduate Institute of International Studies (University of Geneva)/Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris I), a Maîtrise de droit privé from Université de Paris I, and an LLB from King’s College, London.
“As acknowledged in glowing terms by the external experts consulted, Professor Akhavan and Professor Mégret have emerged as two of the world’s leading voices in international criminal law,” underscored Dean Robert Leckey on sharing the news. “Their careers are a vivid illustration of the capacity of imaginative legal research to change our ideas and actions. I look forward to their continued outstanding contributions to this field of pressing importance.”
Les chargé.e.s de projets assisteront les équipes de coordination de la Clinique, de la Chaire et du Partenariat durant 16 semaines à raison de 35 heures par semaine. Ils ou elles devront : gérer les communications (sites web et médias sociaux); collecter des données sur les activités de partenaires; rédiger des rapports sur l’état des connaissances et des activités; planifier et organiser des conférences et d’autres types d’événements similaires; mener des recherches et rédiger des documents en droit international pénal, humanitaire et des droits de la personne; assister les responsables dans la préparation de leurs activités de supervision; produire divers documents de vulgarisation, d’information et de reddition de compte.
CPIJ encourages student initiatives and may support them financially. Students may apply to CPIJ to, for example, take part in a summer school, participate in a law-related competition, attend a conference or be involved in any other professional activity related to CPIJ’s mandate. The students selected for funding then become members of CPIJ’s student group.
A request is prepared by the student. To be presented to the Scholarship and Student Funding Committee for its consideration, the following conditions of admissibility must be met:
The request is sufficiently documented to allow the Scholarship and Student Funding Committee to appreciate its nature and importance for the student;
The request must include a detailed project plan and, if possible, the event’s agenda, registration confirmation, and an estimate of the admissible expenses;
The request must explain: the student’s link to CPIJ; the link between the project and CPIJ’s Research Program; the nature of the project and the expected learning outcomes; the relevance of the project with respect to the student’s development and goals; and the amount and purpose of any funding previously received from CPIJ.
Those students selected for funding must comply with the following requirements:
The student must provide consent, unless an exception is justified, for CPIJ’s use and dissemination of the student’s texts, pictures and other outcomes of the project, with acknowledgement.
The student must respect the rules and regulations of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), CPIJ’s funding organization. For example, these rules do not permit funded individuals to be compensated for blogposts or other forms of publication.
The student will acknowledge CPIJ and SSHRC’s financial support in blogposts and other relevant fora.
The Scholarship and Student Funding Committee meets four times per year to review and select projects for funding. the committee meets on 1 November, 1 February, 1 April, and 1 August.
Results are announced within one month following the Committee’s meeting. It is possible to submit a request at any moment throughout the year, but applicants should have these dates in mind to know the processing time of their request.
If funding is granted, the Partnership will provide the approved funding once the student is confirmed as attending the event (a registration confirmation can be required) and after ensuring that the expenses claimed are admissible. The Committee may approve the full, or a portion, of the amount requested. The approved amount may be paid in full or in instalments.
 An expense is admissible when it complies with the administrative requirements of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and of CPIJ’s host institution, Université Laval (www.sf.ulaval.ca). CPIJ could refuse to reimburse an expense that is not admissible or that subsequently becomes inadmissible after CPIJ initially accepted to fund the project. It is the student’s responsibility to verify the admissibility of the expenses. It is strongly encouraged to have all planned expenses pre-approved by CPIJ. Additional information can be provided on demand.
Each year between 2016 and 2021, the Canadian Partnership for International Justice (CPIJ) sets up and funds a delegation of Canadian students, headed by academics and practitioners from various academic institutions and NGOs, to attend the Assembly of States Parties (ASP) to the International Criminal Court (ICC). This major event takes place in The Hague or in New York at the end of each year.
Through this activity, CPIJ trains a cohort of students who are educated, engaged and networked in international and transnational law. The Partnership also aims at training and educating diverse Canadian audiences about the challenges, pitfalls and potential of the system of international justice, and about the priorities to improve the system. Through its action, CPIJ also enhances Canada’s role as a global leader in the fight against impunity.
The 18th ICC ASP will take place from 2 to 7 December 2019. The training of the delegation for this ASP will be spread out throughout the year until the event. The recruited students may have to:
report on the ASP, its side-events and on Canada’s participation as a State Party with respect to various themes (such as sexual and gender-based crimes, complementarity, cooperation, elections, budget, etc.);
tweet and live tweet;
organize conferences or events at their institution;
write short papers and blog posts;
support the Partnership’s partners in implementing their ASP programs;
connect with professionals working in international criminal law;
visit relevant international institutions.
Applications for the 18th ASP are accepted until April 15, 2019.
Availability between now and the ASP in December to prepare the mission;
Availability to attend the ASP;
Availability to report on the ASP before, during and after the ASP;
Being able to get a visa for and to fly to the Netherlands before the ASP.
The ASP is a very demanding activity. Members of the delegation are requested to work long hours throughout the day. It is strongly recommended that students avoid other kinds of deadlines during or shortly after the ASP.
Cycle of studies: priority is given to master or higher degree;
Link between the applicant and a team member or organization involved in the Partnership;
Link between the ASP/ICC and the field of study, the professional goals and the other academic/scientific activities of the applicant;
Availability to prepare the mission, to attend the ASP and to report on it thereafter;
Fluency and good writing command in English or French (bilingualism an asset);
Priority is given to applicants who have never received funding from the Partnership.
How to apply
Your application must include your resume, transcripts, passport copy as well as a motivation letter explaining how your application meets the evaluation criteria. You are strongly invited to write few paragraphs of your motivation letter in French if your application is in English and vice-versa.
Please upload your application and fill in the application form below before April 15, 2019.
For further information, write to:
Coordinator of the Canadian Partnership for International Justice