Quebec Standard

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The military should give up the authority over sexual assault cases permanently

Quebec

Key takeaways: 

  • The military must ‘adjust to a new reality – the women soldiers are here to stay,’ says Louise Arbour.
  • A sweeping new piece of information by former Supreme Court justice Louise Arbour states the army should permanently abandon its power to probe sexual misconduct in the ranks.

The time has arrived for the Canadian Armed Forces to permanently give up the power of inquiries of sexual offenses by its members, says a damning new statement by an ex Supreme Court justice that urges sweeping changes — including an overhaul of the recruiting and military college systems.

The release of Louise Arbour’s statement concludes almost a year of work. Among its 48 proposals is a call for civilian police and courts to bear all sexual assault issues involving allegations against military members.

“The handling of sexual offenses by military courts over the previous 20 years has done very little to improve efficiency, discipline, and morale. If anything, it has helped to erode it,” Arbour spoke Monday as she presented her report.

Also read: Legault promises to demand more power from Ottawa over immigration to Quebec

The time has arrived for the Canadian Armed Forces to permanently give up the power of inquiries of sexual offenses by its members, says a damning new statement by an ex Supreme Court justice that urges sweeping changes

“Therefore, I see no cause for the Canadian armed forces to have any jurisdiction over sexual offenses, and that jurisdiction should be granted only with civilian powers,”

For decades, military sexual trauma complainants have insisted that civilians take over sexual misconduct cases, claiming that the Canadian Armed Forces has failed to help victims and thoroughly investigate and indict cases adequately.

In one of her first acts in the ministry, Defence Minister Anita Anand — acting on a temporary offer from Arbour last year — moved to temporarily hand over in-progress investigations of sexual misconduct lawsuits to civilian police forces. The military was granted jurisdiction over its sexual assault cases in 1988.

Source – cbc.ca

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