Government releases terms of Afghan detainee review
The federal Justice Minister on Saturday released the terms of reference for the former Supreme Court justice reviewing the issue of detainees in Afghanistan.
Frank Iacobucci will conduct an independent review of documents related to the politically contentious issue of detainees and give the minister recommendations on which documents could be made public.
Iacobucci will provide recommendations to Justice Minister Rob Nicholson as to whether information would be injurious to Canada's international relations, national defence or national security and whether any such information should nevertheless be released because the public interest in disclosure outweighs the public interest in non-disclosure. He will prepare a report on his methodology and general findings for public release.
"This will ensure that parliamentarians will have access to the relevant government information on the arrangements for the transfer of detainees in Afghanistan while ensuring there is no injury to Canada's national defence, international relations or national security," Justice Minister Rob Nicholson said Saturday in a news release.
The former justice was appointed last Friday to review the secret documents related to the handling of Afghan prisoners.
The opposition parties passed a motion last December seeking access to those documents, but the Conservative government has so far refused to hand over the documents to Parliament.
Iacobucci will review all relevant documents relating to the Afghan detainee scandal back to 2001, when Canada's mission in Afghanistan began, according to the terms of reference of his review.
The opposition parties have been demanding to see his terms of reference since the retired justice was appointed last week.
Iacobucci is to begin his review immediately and although no deadline has been set, the government expects it will be a relatively short review.
"As an independent and impartial adviser with significant expertise and experience in this area, Mr. Iacobucci will provide our Government with valuable advice," Nicholson said.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff repeated his call for a full public inquiry in Question Period this week, saying: "Justice Iacobucci will not be empowered to do his job adequately, unless the government gives him the mandate to hold a full public inquiry." CTV