Security Certificates

New national security law faces first hurdle as government tries to nix lawyers

posted on March 19, 2008 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

URL: [link]
Source: Canadian Press
Date: March 16, 2008

TORONTO — With five suspected Muslim terrorists caught in legal limbo, a freshly minted group of special advocates tasked with testing the government's secret evidence against the men could find themselves stymied by an upcoming secret hearing that raises questions about Canada's revamped national security legislation.

Under the new law, foreigners detained as a security risk can appoint one of the advocates to gain access to the highly classified intelligence about them, although the information would remain off-limits to the accused terrorist and his lawyer.

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Special advocates for accused terrorists grapple with new national security regime

posted on March 19, 2008 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Source: Canadian Press
URL: [link]
Date: March 10, 2008


TORONTO — Lawyers for five alleged terrorists who have long fought to see secret evidence against their clients may soon get that chance under Canada's newly revamped system of national security certificates.

Among key issues to be worked out at a meeting with the chief justice of the Federal Court on Tuesday is the appointment "special advocates" - lawyers who will have access to the highly confidential intelligence used to detain the men.

"It's a totally new field. Nobody knows what they're doing. Nobody knows anything yet," said Toronto lawyer Paul Copeland, who represents two of the five alleged terrorists and is on the list of special advocates.

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Secrecy Piled on Secrecy: Democracy Day in Secret Trials Land

posted on March 19, 2008 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Matthew Behrens Source: The Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada URL: N/A Date: March 11, 2008 Democracy Day in the Land of Secret Trials: Federal Court Tries to Speed Through New Security Certificate Proceedings While Detainees’ Special Advocates Now Face A Secret Hearing About Alleged Conflict of Interest

March 11, 2008—It’s Democracy Day in Canada, and liberal types on the CBC and in the papers are gushing about the wonders of this country. One wonders what they would have thought had they been attending the hearing today hosted by Federal Court Chief Justice Alan Lutfy in Ottawa, with affected parties listening in by speaker phone in Toronto and Montreal. In essence, the discussion focused without any particular sense of irony on how best to fairly, compassionately, and expeditiously implement the next stage of a process that guarantees indefinite detention without charge on secret suspicions, two-tier justice, racial profiling, and deportation to torture.

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More secrecy added to already secret process

posted on March 19, 2008 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Andrew Duffy Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: [link] Date: March 12, 2008 More secrecy added to already secret process Closed hearing to decide if two lawyers can act as special advocates for clients held under security certificates

The already secretive security certificate process is about to add a curious new layer of secrecy. Later this month, a secret hearing is to be held in Federal Court to determine whether two defence lawyers can act as special advocates in secret hearings on behalf of their clients. The hearing, which will include the participation of a yet-to-be-named special advocate, comes at the request of government lawyers who told a case-management conference yesterday that lawyers Paul Copeland and John Norris should not be allowed to act as special advocates.

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BILL C-3: Challenge of new legislation predicted

posted on March 18, 2008 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

by Helen Burnett Source: The Law Times URL: [link] Date: March 10, 2008 BILL C-3: Challenge of new legislation predicted Challenge of new legislation predicted Bill C-3 amends security certificate process

Brought into force last month, Bill C-3 — the legislation designed to amend the security certificate process — will likely be the subject of a constitutional challenge, say lawyers. The bill was created following the February 2007 Supreme Court of Canada ruling in Charkaoui v. Canada (Citizenship and Immigration), which found that the procedure for judicial approval of security certificates (a certificate of inadmissibility leading to the detention of a permanent resident or foreign national deemed to be a threat to national security) infringed the Charter. The court gave the government one year to amend its legislation. According to the Supreme Court, the person named in the security certificate has no right to see the material on the basis of which the certificate was issued. The judge has to provide the person with a summary of the case against him or her, although this summary could not disclose material that might compromise national security. If the judge determines the certificate is reasonable, there is no appeal and no way to have the decision judicially reviewed.

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Can defence lawyers be special advocates?

posted on March 12, 2008 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

By Andrew Duffy, Canwest News Service Source: The Ottawa Citizen URL: N/A Date: March 11, 2008 Defence lawyers shouldn't be advocates in terrorist case

OTTAWA - The already secretive security certificate process is about to add a new layer of confidentiality. Later this month, a classified hearing is to be held in Federal Court to determine whether two defence lawyers can act as special advocates in future private hearings on behalf of their clients. The hearing, which will include the participation of a yet-to-be-named special advocate, comes at the request of government lawyers who told a case-management conference Tuesday that lawyers Paul Copeland and John Norris should not be allowed to act as special advocates. Special advocates were created by the government's new security certificate law, which seeks to improve upon the original one struck down last year by the Supreme Court. Federal lawyer Donald MacIntosh said the government believes the lawyers would be in a conflict-of-interest position if they take on the new roles.

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Alghabra tables a private member bill to amend Security Certificate Act

posted on March 06, 2008 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Press Release
Source: OmarAlghabra.ca
URL: [link]
Date: March 4, 2008


For Immediate Release

March 4, 2008

Alghabra tables a private member bill to amend Security Certificate Act

OTTAWA - Today, Omar Alghabra, Liberal Member of Parliament for Mississauga- Erindale, tabled Bill C-523 entitled an Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (certificate and special advocate).

In February 2007, the Supreme Court gave the government a full year to improve the law, at the time, citing a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Conservative government chose to delay the presentation of their proposed changes giving parliamentarians very little time to have a substantive debate.

"The Conservatives have suffocated that debate and Canadians deserve a candid discussion," said Omar Alghabra. "If I, a lone parliamentarian with modest staff, was able to draft a bill with the help of experts within two weeks, surely the Conservatives could have tabled theirs sooner and given Parliamentarians enough time to exhaustively debate it."

Conservative Senator Pierre Claude Nolin publicly acknowledged that many parliamentarians had to hold their noses and adopt Bill C-3 because of the lack of time given by the government. Witnesses provided compelling evidence that the law is clearly flawed.

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New Security Certificates Law Escapes Both Public Scrutiny and Democratic Dissent

posted on March 05, 2008 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

By Wade Deisman and Mike Larsen
Source: Embassy: Canada's Foreign Policy Newsweekly
URL: [link]
Date: March 5, 2008


When the Supreme Court last February declared security certificates to be unjust, the mood amongst the five men currently held by such certificates was cautiously optimistic, though a far cry from festive.

Although the high court concurred with the petitioners in finding the then-extant security certificate process unconstitutional, its judgment fell short of fully denouncing the practice.

The decision contained caveats that quashed any hope for the men's immediate release, and placed their fates in a kind of suspended animation.

In fact, the high court suspended applying its judgment for a year to allow lawmakers time to decide how to proceed, and even outlined some ways the process might be modified.

The high court said that a better balance between the state's desire to protect secret information and an individual's right to a fair hearing might be achieved by introducing a special advocate into the security certificate process.

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Updated security certificates to face legal challenge

posted on February 29, 2008 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

By Tu Thanh Ha Source: The Globe and Mail URL: [link] Date: February 29, 2008 Lawyers for Montreal terror suspect say revamped law is still unconstitutional: 'The lawmaker didn't respect the Supreme Court decision'

MONTREAL -- Canada's revamped security certificate regime, which was hurriedly enacted two weeks ago, will face a constitutional challenge, lawyers for Montreal terror suspect Adil Charkaoui announced yesterday. The previous system had been overturned last year by the Supreme Court of Canada, which rejected its use of secret evidence against suspects. This forced the federal government to introduce a new law - Bill C-3 - creating "special advocate" lawyers who will act for defendants in closed-door hearings. In C-3's wake, Ottawa filed five new certificates last week, redesignating Mr. Charkaoui and four other Muslim men as threats to national security who should be expelled from Canada.

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An Open Letter to Federal Court re Security Certificates

posted on February 27, 2008 | in Category Security Certificates | PermaLink

Source: The Campaign to Stop Secret Trials In Canada and The Justice for Mohamed Harkat Committee URL: N/A Date: February 27, 2008 For Immediate Release Secret Trial Opponents Protest Placement of Unfounded, Dangerous Allegations on Federal Court website

The following letter was sent this afternoon to Chief Justice Allan Lutfy of the Federal Court of Canada expressing concerns that unfounded allegations based on secret suspicions have been prominently placed on the Federal Court of Canada website, thereby harming the fair trial opportunities available to those named in security certificates and contributing to the character assassination that this process entails. For further information: Matthew Behrens, for the Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada, (416) 651-5800 == Campaign to Stop Secret Trials in Canada PO Box 73620 509 St. Clair Ave. West Toronto, ON M6C 1C0 (416) 651-5800, [email] February 27, 2008 Open Letter Re Concerns About Federal Court of Canada Website and Security Certificates

Chief Justice Allan Lutfy Federal Court of Canada Ottawa, ON Dear Chief Justice Lutfy, We are writing with the profoundest of concerns about the unprecedented placement on the front page of the Federal Court website of the public summaries of the security intelligence reports with respect to the five men subject to security certificate. While we appreciate that the Federal Court, among many players connected to this issue, is no doubt concerned about the need for better disclosure in these cases, it seems neither in the public interest, nor in the interests of the fair hearing rights of these individuals, to have such incendiary allegations posted in the absence of context, without supporting documentation (or at least a reference to the fact that that documentation is likely to be secret), and without giving the named men an opportunity to respond.

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