In April 2015, Parliament enacted the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights. The Bill provides for the following rights which may be exercised by the victim, the victim’s spouse, the victim’s common law spouse, a relative or dependant of the victim; the individual who is responsible for the care or support of the victim, or, the individual who is responsible for the care or support of a dependant of the victim. (see sections 6 to 17 inclusive)
- Right to Information about the criminal justice system, the status and outcome of the police investigation, the location of the judicial proceedings and their progress and outcome;
- Right to information about the offender or the accused;
- Right to protection including right to have reasonable measures taken to protect the victim from intimidation and retaliation.
- Right to privacy and to have their identity protected
- Right to participation in the criminal justice system and to make a victim impact statement;
- Right to restitution
EXCLUSION OF MEMBERS WHO CRIMES ARE PROSECUTED BEFORE MILITARY TRIBUNALS
Every individual on Canada soil (this includes citizens, permanent residents, tourists, visitors, refugees or even convicts as well as family members of these individuals) are entitled to the extensive rights accorded until this Act which was enacted on April 23, 2015.
However, in accordance with section 18() of the Canadian Bill of Rights for Victims of Crimes victims of crimes (military or civilians) prosecuted before military tribunals are EXCLUDED from the rights and benefits accorded under this statute. These victims HAVE NO RIGHT. It is almost as if they were aliens in their own country.
WHY ARE MILITARY MEMBERS AND CIVILIANS EXCLUDED?
In an article appropriately titled UNFRIENDLY FIRE; Sex crimes, the military and ‘victims’ rights, the former Justice Minister, Peter MacKay, explains:
“ … (the) Victims Bill of Rights will not in fact apply to offences investigated or proceeded with under the Canadian military justice system.”
Then Minister MacKay said it was “contemplated” but turned out to be “problematic” because the military’s disciplinary tribunals “are administered by the chain of command.
PARDON ME, SIR?
As Steve Sullivan wrote in UNFRIENDLY FIRE:
[N] obody needs the protection of a Victims’ Bill of Rights more than soldiers. And they’re not getting it.. . .
The brave men and women who protect us deserve our protection in return — whether it’s from a rocket fired by a foreign fighter or a sexual assault committed by a trusted superior.
As noted on the CTV’s program Power and Politics on February 1, 2016, I find this rationale for depriving military (and civilian) victims of crimes of the rights enacted last April under the Canadian Bill of Rights for Victims of Rights to be an absolute INSULT to our men and women in uniform.