Redress for Victims of International Crimes Act

An Act to amend the State Immunity Act (genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or torture)

This bill was last introduced in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, which ended in March 2011.

This bill was previously introduced in the 40th Parliament, 2nd Session.


Irwin Cotler  Liberal

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)


Introduced, as of Nov. 26, 2009
(This bill did not become law.)


This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the State Immunity Act to prevent a foreign state from claiming immunity from the jurisdiction of Canadian courts in respect of legal proceedings that relate to genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or torture committed by the foreign state. It will allow victims with a real and substantial connection to Canada to pursue civil remedies against those who caused them harm.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Redress for Victims of International Crimes ActRoutine Proceedings

November 26th, 2009 / 10:05 a.m.
See context


Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-483, An Act to amend the State Immunity Act (genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or torture).

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to table the Redress for Victims of International Crimes Act, which amends the State Immunity Act, in support of the foundational principle that victims of torture and heinous international crimes deserve a right of redress against their criminal perpetrators.

At present the exercise of such foundational rights is precluded by the operation of the State Immunity Act, which immunizes foreign states and their officials from civil suit.

This legislation, the first of its kind ever, will allow Canadian victims to sue the perpetrators of international crimes in Canadian courts. Simply put, our present legislation criminalizes torture, war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, the most heinous acts known to humankind, but does not allow for a civil remedy for the victims of such horrific acts.

Accordingly, this legislation will address the evils of such international crimes that are now shielded by Canadian law, target the impunity of those states and officials that perpetrate these crimes, remove the state immunity that operates to shield the perpetrators of such crimes, and allow Canadian victims to secure justice while holding their perpetrators accountable.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)