The Canadian government has hired a controversial international academic to argue that Canada's military has no obligation to accord Afghan detainees Canadian-style legal rights.
Christopher Greenwood, a professor of international law at the London School of Economics, submitted an opinion in mid-August to the Federal Court, which is hearing an application by Amnesty International to halt all prisoner transfers by Canadian soldiers to Afghan authorities.
"Professor Greenwood, who is a renowned international law expert, was engaged by the Government of Canada, and has prepared a comprehensive report that reflects his interpretation of the relevant international law and his opinion and views about the applicants' legal assertions," Marc Raider, a National Defence spokesperson, said by e-mail.
In his brief, Greenwood said that Amnesty's application to force the Canadian military to provide secure facilities and legal representation for suspected militants detained by Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan is "based upon a number of serious misconceptions regarding international law."
Since Canada is in Afghanistan under a United Nations mandate, Greenwood argues, this country's international treaty obligations don't apply.
Moreover, Greenwood said Canada has no legal right to build a detention centre in Afghanistan to safeguard detainees from brutal local prison conditions.
"Under general international law, it is unlawful for one State to exercise governmental authority on the territory of another State."