Friday, July 7, 2017

Will Omar Khadr get to keep it?

The Globe & Mail reports here on efforts by the widow of a U.S. soldier killed by Omar Khadr and another soldier who who was blinded to levy against any award by Canada. Excerpt:
Mr. Khadr’s long-time lawyer, Edmonton-based Dennis Edney, said he was not aware of the court application. (According to the court file, it had not yet been served on Mr. Khadr or his lawyers.) But Mr. Edney said any attempt to redirect compensation owing to Mr. Khadr could result in a major legal battle. 
“I don’t understand what basis in international law that they have in being able to sue Omar Khadr for the death of Christopher Speer on a battlefield, when there is absolutely no evidence that he did [what is alleged] other than Omar Khadr’s own admitting to it while being tortured in a place that is renowned for torture,” said Mr. Edney, who would not otherwise comment on the reports of a settlement for his client. “... They are going to have quite a fight.” 
University of Western Ontario law professor Stephen Pitel, an expert on questions of jurisdiction and the recognition of foreign judgments by Canadian courts, said that although Canada’s rules are “pretty liberal,” getting this Utah ruling recognized here could be an uphill battle. 
Prof. Pitel said the plaintiffs will need to show how the Utah court had proper jurisdiction over both a battlefield incident in far-off Afghanistan and a defendant who did not show up to court because he was in prison. Mr. Khadr’s lawyers could also fight the recognition by arguing that it offends the principle of “natural justice” or Canadian “public policy.” 
But Prof. Pitel said Ms. Speer and Mr. [Layne] Morris may be helped by a recent Ontario Court of Appeal ruling, released just last week, if it stands. In a sprawling case known as Tracy v. Iran (Information and Security) [2017 ONCA 549 (June 30, 2017)], Ontario’s highest court upheld a lower court decision and sided with Americans seeking to enforce U.S. judgments against Iran and demanding compensation for victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism. 
“There are a lot of legal issues here, and it is going to take a while to unravel them,” Prof. Pitel said.
Of course, the parties could also reach a settlement . . .

It is unclear whether Canada has already paid Mr. Khadr. If so, efforts to execute the U.S. judgment against him could be further complicated.

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