Treatment of prisoners not Roman problem: Pilate

pilatePerhaps inspired by the Christmas season, Prime Minister Harper has reached back into biblical history for a new answer to the torture allegations dogging his government.

Channelling the infamous Roman governor of Judea, the Prime Minister argued earlier this week that if Canadians hand detainees over to Afghan authorities and those detainees are subsequently mistreated, that is a problem for Afghans, not for Canadians: “We are speaking here of a problem among Afghans. It’s not a problem between Canadians and Afghans. We’re speaking of problems between the government of Afghanistan and the situation in Afghanistan. We are trying to do what’s possible to improve that situation, but it’s not in our control.”

Legally speaking, of course, that’s not true. Canada has a legal obligation under the Geneva Conventions not to transfer detainees to possible torture. Whether or not such transfers take place is absolutely within our control.

Morally speaking, is the Prime Minister’s approach justifiable?  Apparently views differ.

Tags: Afghanistan, Stephen Harper, Torture of Afghan detainees