Former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci was enlisted Friday to investigate whether the release of documents relating to Afghan detainee torture would cause an “injurious” effect.
The release of these documents – which could prove damning if they show government complicity in torture – was widely cited as being the underlying reason for PM Stephen Harper’s most recent prorogue of Parliament.
The unsettled issues here seem to be the following:
- Is this, as critics allege, simply a transparent effort to hide from opposition pressure to release the documents?
- Will Iacobucci actually be given all of the relevant documents?
- Should Iacobucci fear personal reprisal – à la Richard Colvin – if his findings do not please the Conservative government?
- How binding will his decision be, given that it’s not a Supreme Court reference?
- If Iacobucci decides that releasing the documents would be injurious, is a Parliament majority vote to release them nonetheless binding on the executive?
Iacobucci previously led an independent commission from 2006 to 2008 investigating Canadian government involvement in the torture of three Arab-Canadian men in Syria and Egypt. He found that CSIS and the RCMP indirectly contributed to wrongful detainment and torture of the individuals.