The Quadrangulation Project: Reconciling International Modes of Liability with Domestic Liability for Genocide, War Crimes, and Crimes Against Humanity
Political ideology aside, Canada has been seen as a global leader in the ever-developing international criminal law project. Yet, this position, and the legitimacy that accompanies it, is increasingly under threat. As Prosecutor Bensouda of the International Criminal Court begins her investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan, it is possible Canadians will fall within the scope of potential indictments. Herein lies the threat to Canada’s position. Canada was among the earliest states to adopt implementing legislation following its ratification of the Rome Statute of the ICC. Yet, efforts to prosecute war criminals domestically have lagged. Should Canada prove unwilling or unable to pursue these criminals there will be no legitimate grounds to refuse prosecutions at the international level, per the principle of complementarity. These prosecutions – or potential lack thereof – threaten Canada’s role in the international criminal law project. While not ultimately conclusory, this paper aims to assess whether and how Canadian principles of liability can reflect the realities of international crimes, in full respect of the principle of complementarity, while staying true to the canons of domestic law. It is this analysis that will provide a basis for the normative and legal quadrangulation that needs to be done as Canada moves into a potentially precarious international legal position.