CANADA will not indict Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on crimes against humanity charges because it does not have the jurisdiction to do so under Canadian laws.
Justice minister Vic Toews made the announcement in a letter to
Kevin Sorenson, chair of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development on November 9.
Toews wrote the letter in response to an inquiry the committee made about the possibility of using existing domestic crimes against humanity legislation to indict the Zimbabwean president.
In June, the committee adopted a motion that seeks to ascertain the possibility of prosecuting President Mugabe for crimes against humanity committed in Zimbabwe.
The Canadian Embassy obtained a copy of the letter in which Toews said even if Canada had the authority to indict Mugabe under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, it would still not be able to do so because he enjoys Head of State immunity under international law.
Furthermore, to indict the president, there must be a connection between Canada, the alleged victims and the perpetrator.
“On the face of the available information relevant to this matter, we are unable to conclude that Canada has the jurisdiction,” Toews wrote.
In April, Liberal Foreign Affairs critic Keith Martin introduced a motion to indict Mugabe for committing crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe.
“There’s an enormous body of evidence against Mugabe,” Martin said at the time. The Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act allows for the prosecution of foreigners (in Canadian courts) accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity offences.
Martin rejected Toews’ explanation, arguing that the justification given by the minister is “profoundly flawed”. — Canadian Embassy.