MPCC Determines Scope of Public Interest Investigation Into Anonymous Complaint (Treatment of Detainees)

Ottawa (March 2, 2017) – In November 2015, the Chairperson of the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) decided to conduct a Public Interest Investigation (PII) into an anonymous complaint relating to the alleged mistreatment of detainees by the Military Police (MP) in Afghanistan in 2010‑11 and to the alleged failure to lay charges following the incident.

After this decision was issued, the MPCC requested disclosure of the relevant materials and investigative files from the Military Police. There were delays in obtaining disclosure of the materials because the CFNIS conducted a review of its original investigation as well as additional investigative steps. The MPCC began receiving disclosure in June 2016, and the last documents were received in October 2016.

The MPCC has conducted a detailed review of the complaint and materials disclosed by the MP. On February 27, 2017, the MPCC issued a decision finding that the scope of the PII must be limited to making findings and recommendations about the allegations related to the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) investigation and decision not to lay charges. This decision was transmitted to the subjects of the complaint, which have now been identified by the MPCC.

The Commission has concluded that it does not have jurisdiction to make findings or recommendations about the conduct of the MP members involved in the actual exercises at the Detainee Transfer Facility at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, or about the conduct of the Military Police member who conducted a subsequent administrative investigation.

The complaint received by the Commission can be divided into three distinct allegations. In order to determine whether it has jurisdiction under the law to investigate this complaint, the Commission examined each allegation separately.

  1. The Chain of Command for the MP Company in Afghanistan improperly ordered the conduct of inappropriate or illegal exercise(s) involving detainees and the MP members involved participated in inappropriate or illegal conduct.

    Pursuant to the legislation and existing Federal Court decision about this issue, the detention of the Afghan nationals has been found to be part of a military operation and therefore cannot be reviewed by the Commission, as military operations are outside the Commission’s mandate.

    The Commission does not have jurisdiction over the complaint relating to the alleged exercises conducted by Military Police members at the Detainee Transfer Facility (DTF).

  2. The CFNIS failed to conduct an adequate investigation into the matter or improperly failed to lay charges.

    This allegation centers on the failure to lay charges. The actions of CFNIS members who conducted the investigation and made decisions on whether to lay charges are clearly policing matters that are subject to review by the Commission.

    These allegations are within the Commission’s jurisdiction to investigate. The Commission will therefore investigate all aspects of the allegations made about the 2011 CFNIS investigation and the decision not to lay charges.

  3. The MP member who conducted the subsequent investigation on behalf of the Military Police Chain of Command (CoC) failed to conduct an adequate investigation into the matter or improperly failed to address the matter or to lay charges.

    The complaint alleges that an investigation relating to the exercises at the DTF was conducted in 2012 by the MP CoC and complains that no charges were laid following the various investigations conducted.

    The Commission has found that the investigation conducted was a form of administrative investigation called a Summary Investigation. This investigation related to purely internal matters, similar to investigations conducted in the workplace to resolve personnel or organizational issues.  It was not related to the law enforcement and policing duties carried out by the Military Police. The Commission does not have jurisdiction to investigate the conduct and results of such an investigation.

The decision on the scope of the Public Interest Investigation is based on a detailed review of the legislation and regulations, as interpreted by the courts and as applicable in this particular case.

The CFNIS members involved in or responsible for the conduct of the CFNIS investigation and the decision not to lay charges have been identified as the subjects of the complaint and have been notified by the Commission.

Chairperson Hilary C. McCormack and Member Michel Séguin will jointly conduct the Public Interest Investigation and prepare the Interim and Final Reports relating to this complaint.

Decision on Determination of Scope of Public Interest Investigation and MPCC Jurisdiction

For information, please contact

Michael Tansey
Communications Advisor,
Military Police Complaints Commission of Canada
Telephone: 613‑487‑3765
Cell: 613‑851‑4587

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