04 June 2007

Victim or Criminal?

A Canadian boy who was detained at Guantanamo Bay starting at age 15 was tried as a war criminal in a U.S. military tribunal. The charges against him were dismissed on procedural grounds, but are likely to be reinstated. The notion that a 15 year pushed into military service as a child soldier is a victim, rather than a criminal has escaped the Department of Defense.

Also, unless the military is seeking to execute the boy (and the Department of Defense has publicly stated it seeks a sentence of less than life imprisonment), now 20, what is at stake? He is already detained indefinitely, and has been incarcerated in an exceptional military prison for five years. According to the New York Times (link in the link above), quoting his attorneys, "prosecutors . . . included in their charges acts that occurred when Mr. Khadr was younger than 10."

U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, where the boy was apprehended did not begin until late 2001, when the boy was 14 years old. The Military Commissions Act, making conspiracy, whcih is one of the charges against the boy a war crime, was not enacted until 2006.

The Canadian public is aware of the case and not impressed. Considering that Canada is one of the main U.S. allies in Iraq, this may be bad foreign policy, as well as an injustice.

1 comment:

Jude said...

Man, I hate the Guantanamo prison. I wish people wouldn't vote for idiots who have no interest in human rights.