Public Interest Investigation into Anonymous Complaint (Treatment of Detainees) (2015‑005) - Homepage
Military Police Complaints Commission releases Final Report in Public Interest Investigation into Anonymous Complaint (Treatment of Detainees)
Ottawa September 2, 2021 – Following a comprehensive Public Interest Investigation (PII), the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC or Commission) has made 13 recommendations to improve military police investigations after receiving a complaint into the treatment of detainees in Afghanistan.
The Commission’s report is in response to an anonymous complaint received in 2015 alleging that military police members had abused Afghan detainees at Kandahar Airfield (KAF) in Afghanistan during a training exercise in 2011. The complaint also alleged that the Canadian commander at KAF ignored the charges that were submitted to him following an investigation by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS).
In the initial phase of its investigation, the Commission reviewed more than 3,000 pages of documents and numerous audio and video recordings that were disclosed by the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal. This led to a determination that the scope of the PII would be limited to making findings and recommendations about the allegations related to the CFNIS investigation and decision not to lay charges.
“Following a comprehensive investigation and the analysis of the investigation report, the documentary evidence and other relevant documents, the Commission found that the two allegations were not substantiated,” said the Chairperson of the Commission, Hilary C. McCormack. The Commission uncovered no evidence that detainees were abused during the training exercise.
While the allegations in the complaint were found to be unsubstantiated, the Commission did identify a number of deficiencies in the investigation into the 2011 training exercise conducted by the Military Police. “These deficiencies, or errors, show a lack of rigour by the investigators, and on some occasions, lack of competence or experience,” said Ms. McCormack in releasing the report.
The deficiencies included the selection and lack of supervision of the lead investigator and the lack of adequate support for him; the lack of investigation planning, the selection of witnesses, poor interview planning and a failure to identify conflicts of interest.
“None of the deficiencies or errors had an impact on the final result of the investigation and the conclusion that there was sufficient evidence to lay charges, as recommended by the investigators, but they show that the investigators did not always use best practices during this investigation,” said Ms. McCormack.
The Commission’s 13 recommendations relate to a number of identified deficiencies, including note-taking practices during investigations, preparations for witness interviews, the need for a better system for the repatriation and storage of military police files following the end of an overseas operation, and improvements in communications between military police investigators and regional military prosecutors.
The Commission also recommended that the Department of National Defence take steps to have the National Defence Act amended to include provisions regarding information similar to those found in Part VI (Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police) of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act. This recommendation is consistent with submissions made by the MPCC to retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Morris Fish in his recent review of the military justice system.
The MPCC had to overcome a number of difficulties in completing its investigation. Because the complaint was submitted anonymously, the MPCC could not contact the complainant for clarifications on various issues related to the complaint, nor could it assess the complainant’s credibility. In order to ensure that it reconciled differing accounts of the events that occurred, the MPCC conducted interviews with more than 70 witnesses across Canada, as well as with the six military police members who were identified as subjects of the complaint.
For information, please contact:Michael Tansey
Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada
|September 2, 2021||Final report following a public interest investigation (available in PDF version only, 2,20 KB)|
|June 25, 2021||Receipt of the CFPM’s Notice of Action, which is the CAF’s official response to the Interim Report, outlining what action, if any, has been or will be taken in response to the MPCC's recommendations|
|February 26, 2021||Interim Report setting out the MPCC’s findings and recommendations with respect to the complaint issued to the MND, the CDS, the JAG and the CFPM|
|October 5, 2020||Deliberation of Commission Panel begins|
|September 15, 2020||Additional subject interview conducted to clarify information received during the investigation|
|September 14, 2020||Additional subject interview conducted to clarify information received during the investigation|
|September 9, 2020||Additional witness interview conducted to clarify information received during the investigation|
|September 4, 2020||Additional subject interview conducted to clarify information received during the investigation|
|September 4, 2020||Additional witness interview conducted to clarify information received during the investigation|
|August 25, 2020||Subject matter expert witnesses interview conducted to clarify information received during the investigation|
|August 13, 2020||Response received from the CAF to the Commission’s August 10, 2020 request, authorizing the release of the document listed in the Commission’s request|
|August 10, 2020||Request sent to the CAF for authorization to include in the Commission’s PII report a document created and provided by a witness interviewed by the Commission|
|June 17, 2020||Additional witness interview conducted to clarify information received during the investigation|
|May 12, 2020||Response received from the CAF to the Commission’s April 21, 2020 request, authorizing the Commission to refer to the document in its PII Report|
|April 21, 2020||Request sent to the CAF for authorization to refer to a relevant document provided to the Commission by the CF MP Gp in the Commission’s PII Report|
|April 15, 2020||Response received from the CF MP Gp to the Commission’s October 21, 2019 request, indicating to the Commission to seek authorization from the CAF to refer to a relevant document in its PII report|
|March 3, 2020||Additional witness interview conducted to clarify information received during the investigation|
|November 20, 2019||Response received from the CAF to the Commission’s October 21, 2019 request, authorizing the release of the information listed in the Commission’s request|
|October 21, 2019||Request sent to the CFPM for the declassification of a relevant document provided to the Commission by the CF MP Group|
|October 21, 2019||Request sent to the CAF for authorization to disclose certain information contained in classified documents obtained further to the Commission’s inspection of CAF records|
|October 2, 2019||Supplementary documents and information requested by the Commission Panel after their review of the Investigation Report completed and provided to the Panel|
|July 31, 2019||Investigation Report submitted to the Commission Panel|
|May 8, 2019||Additional witness interview conducted to clarify information received during the investigation|
|October to December, 2018||Interviews conducted with the subjects of the complaint|
|October 24, 2018||Disclosure of the documents requested on September 13, 2018 provided to the Commission by the CAF|
|September 13, 2018||Request sent to the CAF organization holding the records for disclosure of the relevant documents identified during the MPCC inspection|
|September 12, 2018||Inspection of the records held by the CAF completed|
|March 1, 2018||Access granted by the CAF organization holding the records – inspection of the records by the MPCC has begun|
|December 21, 2017||Letter sent by the CFPM to the CAF organization holding the relevant records to request that access to the records be provided to the MPCC|
|November 9, 2017||Request sent to the CFPM for assistance in obtaining access to relevant records held by other CAF organizations|
|July 25, 2017||Witness interviews begin|
|June 21, 2017||Disclosure of a portion of the documents and information requested on May 24, 2017 provided to the Commission by the CFPM|
|May 24, 2017||Investigation Plan approved by the Commission Panel
Request for disclosure of additional materials and information sent to the CFPM
|February 27, 2017||MPCC determines scope of Public Interest Investigation into Anonymous Complaint|
|October 17, 2016||Disclosure of the remaining documents requested on July 22, 2016 provided to the Commission by the CFPM|
|September 29, 2016||Disclosure of a portion of the documents requested on July 22, 2016 provided to the Commission by the CFPM|
|August 26, 2016||Disclosure of additional documents related to investigations conducted by the Military Police provided to the Commission by the CFPM|
|July 22, 2016||Request for additional disclosure sent to the CFPM|
|June 10, 2016||Disclosure of documents received by the Commission|
|January 6, 2016||Request for an update on when disclosure will be received sent to the CFPM|
|November 6, 2015||Request for disclosure of materials relevant to the complaint sent to the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal (CFPM)|
|November 4, 2015||Decision to conduct a Public Interest Investigation|
|September 21, 2015||Decision on extension of time|
- Date modified: