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 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

Sponsor

Irwin Cotler  Liberal

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

Status

Introduced, as of Oct. 20, 2014
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

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.

Elsewhere

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

October 20th, 2014 / 3:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Irwin Cotler Liberal Mount Royal, QC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-632, An Act to amend the State Immunity Act (genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or torture).

Mr. Speaker, I rise to introduce legislation that would amend the State Immunity Act to allow Canadian victims of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, or torture to seek justice in Canadian courts.

At present the act immunizes foreign states and their officials from civil suits in such cases. The current state of the law is such that Canadians can use Canadian courts to enforce commercial contracts with foreign governments but not to seek redress for heinous crimes such as torture.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court recently found that Iran could not be held accountable for the torture, sexual assault, and murder of Canadian journalist Zahra Kazemi. The court made it clear, however, that the power to remedy this injustice rests with Parliament, and I trust that hon. members will join together to exercise this responsibility.

When I last introduced this legislation in the 40th Parliament with the support of members of all parties, it never came to a vote. Given my place in the order of precedence, that risks being the case once again.

I therefore invite the government to adopt this legislation as its own so as to ensure that Canadian law no longer shields foreign states that commit horrific crimes against Canadians while securing justice for victims of such crimes.

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