Commissioner Iacobucci Rules on Application, Provides Update on Inquiry Progress and Announces Public Hearing on Standards of Conduct in December



    OTTAWA, Nov. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Frank Iacobucci, the
Commissioner appointed to conduct the Internal Inquiry into the Actions of
Canadian Officials in Relation to Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and
Muayyed Nureddin, today released his ruling on the application by the three
men and a number of intervenors in the Inquiry seeking, among other things,
disclosure of documents and the taking of certain evidence in public. In his
ruling, the Commissioner provided an update on the progress of the Inquiry and
the further steps that it will follow. At the same time, the Commissioner
issued a notice of hearing calling for submissions from participants in the
Inquiry concerning the standards that he should apply in determining the
matters set out in the Inquiry's Terms of Reference.

    The Commissioner's Ruling

    The Commissioner determined that in light of the status of the Inquiry's
work and the further tasks underway and to be carried out, it was not
necessary or desirable to make any specific ruling on the application at this
time, either by ordering the relief sought or rejecting it as inappropriate.
He stated that a number of the matters raised in the application were dealt
with in his May 31, 2007 ruling on the Inquiry's Terms of Reference and
procedures, and would be under continuous consideration by the Inquiry as it
proceeds. He also noted that the application was brought at a time when the
three men and the other applicants could not have had a complete understanding
of the further steps that the Inquiry would follow and the further
opportunities for information and participation that these procedures will
provide. He concluded, "I am satisfied that this disposition of the
application is appropriate in the circumstances and will best contribute to
the effective and expeditious conduct of the Inquiry, recognizing the
interests of all concerned."

    Progress of the Inquiry and Future Steps

    In his ruling, the Commissioner provided an update on the work of the
Inquiry to date and what lies ahead. Since the Commissioner issued his May 31,
2007 ruling, Inquiry counsel, as contemplated by the Inquiry's Rules of
Practice and Procedure, have been continuing their review of relevant
documents and conducting interviews under oath of current and former
government officials who have information relevant to the mandate of the
Inquiry. To date they have reviewed more than 35,000 documents and conducted
interviews of 39 individuals who were at the relevant time associated with the
Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or
the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. Several further
interviews are scheduled. After reviewing all the transcripts of the
interviews, the Commissioner will shortly be conducting further interviews of
some of the individuals previously interviewed by Inquiry counsel.
    The Commissioner also expects to conduct interviews shortly of Messrs.
Almalki, Elmaati and Nureddin concerning their allegations that they were
tortured in Syria and (in the case of Mr. Elmaati) Egypt. Discussions are
taking place between counsel for the three men and the Attorney General of
Canada concerning the terms on which these interviews will proceed. At the
request of the three men, and to protect their privacy interests, these
interviews would take place in private.
    The Inquiry's Rules provide that to facilitate the expeditious conduct of
the Inquiry, Inquiry counsel may prepare proposed findings for the
Commissioner's consideration based on documents, interviews and the findings
of other examinations that may have been conducted into the actions of
Canadian officials. Once the interviews have been completed, Inquiry counsel
will be preparing a draft of proposed factual findings, accompanied by a
supporting factual narrative, that would be provided to the Commissioner for
his consideration. This draft will be reviewed with counsel for Inquiry
participants on a confidential basis, subject to appropriate measures to
protect national security confidentiality, before it is finalized, so that the
Inquiry can take into account their comments and suggestions, including
suggestions for further investigation.
    The Commissioner also stated in his ruling that although the Inquiry has
proceeded as expeditiously as possible, he has concluded in light of the
further work that needs to be done and the necessity for consultations with
Inquiry participants that the reporting deadline of January 31, 2008 set out
in the Inquiry's Terms of Reference is not practical. He will therefore be
seeking an extension of the date for submitting his report, including a report
suitable for disclosure to the public.

    Hearing on Standards

    This hearing will deal specifically with the standards by which the
conduct of Canadian officials during the relevant period, 2001 to 2004, should
be assessed in determining whether that conduct was deficient. The notice of
hearing requests input from Inquiry participants relating to, among other
things, sharing information with foreign authorities, questioning Canadian
citizens detained in foreign states, provision of consular services to
Canadian citizens detained in foreign states and the role of consular
officials in national security and law enforcement matters.
    The hearing is to be held in Ottawa on December 19 and 20, 2007. John
Laskin, lead counsel to the Inquiry, stated: "The hearing on standards
represents an important phase of the Inquiry's proceedings. It is aimed at
helping the Commissioner answer a question at the core of his mandate -
whether the conduct of Canadian officials in relation to the three men was
deficient."
    The complete text of the ruling and notice of hearing are available on
the Inquiry's website, www.iacobucciinquiry.ca.

    Established under Part I of the Inquiries Act by the Minister of Public
Safety, the Inquiry's mandate is to determine whether the detention of Messrs.
Almalki, Elmaati and Nureddin in Syria or Egypt resulted from actions of
Canadian officials, particularly in relation to the sharing of information
with foreign countries, whether those actions or the actions of Canadian
consular officials were deficient in these cases and whether any mistreatment
of these three individuals in Syria or Egypt resulted from deficiencies in the
actions of Canadian officials.




For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Francine Bastien, Cell: (613)
299-6554, fbastien@bellnet.ca

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Internal Inquiry into the Actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad Abou-Elmaati and Muayyed Nureddin

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