Tuesday, November 14, 2006

You learn something horrendous every day...

Okay, so we all know that Canada and the US have a lot of cross-border extradition action going on, right?

And we know that the Charter forbids the death penalty, even though a lot of US states and other nations still have it on the books?

So we're discussing the idea of perfect crimes in Public Int'l Law today, i.e. that because diplomatic immunity forbids a host state from entering the premises of a diplomatic mission without permission, there's been a few cases were crimes have been committed in embassies and the local police can't do a thing about it.

And then we moved on to the fact that section 6 of the Canadian Criminal Code makes Canadian Criminal Law territorial in jurisdiction (i.e., only covers crimes committed on Canadian soil), unless explicitly exceptional--and then there are certain crimes like war crimes and the sexual exploitation of minors that Canada will prosecute regardless (see s. 7).

Ever since the Burns & Rafay case (United States v. Burns) it has been considered illegal in Canada to extradite a person to a dealth-penalty jurisdiction (or, one supposes, any sort of cruel-and-unusual-punishment jurisdiction).

Why is all this important? Well, because it leaves a big freaking hole in Canadian law, as follows: If you commit a "normal" crime in a death-penalty jurisdiction (even being a serial killer), and that jurisdiction refuses to waive the death penalty (as some US states have in the past), Canada cannot extradite you. They also cannot hold you without prosecuting you.* Conclusion? You go free.

Hellooo...doesn't this seem like something our laws should address? Anyone? House of Commons? *crickets chirping*

*Unless you're a suspected terrorist and/or Muslim, but that's another story...

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