Canada was braced for UN torture grilling, ministerial memos show

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OTTAWA - Newly released memos show Canada fully expected the intense grilling it got from a United Nations committee earlier this year about its international obligations to shun torture and other cruel treatment.

Officials quietly advised Justice Minister Rob Nicholson the committee would "likely press Canada" on issues ranging from prison overcrowding to redress for people subjected to torture abroad.

The federal government was also prepared to defend its refusal to arrest former U.S. leaders George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for alleged war crimes.

In late May, a Canadian delegation presented Canada's latest report on compliance with the UN Convention Against Torture.

Advisers also provided the minister with copies of the numerous talking points intended to help the delegation defend Canada's interests.

The committee later issued a report criticizing several aspects of Canada's legal regime, including planned measures affecting refugee claimants and the continuing use of national security certificates to deport non-citizens.

Organizations: UN Convention, United Nations committee

Geographic location: Canada, OTTAWA, U.S.

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