Military Police Chiefs Confirm Transfer of Sexual Misconduct Cases to Civil Justice System
Senior leaders who oversee Canada’s military police say they have begun the process of handing over sexual misconduct investigations to the civilian justice system – a change they call “appropriate and necessary.”
The announcement comes a day after Defense Minister Anita Anand confirmed the change, which was recommended by a retired judge investigating sexual harassment and misconduct in the military.
Allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct in the ranks are generally investigated by military police, but the practice has come under scrutiny in recent months amid a crisis of misconduct sexual engulfed the army.
Since the start of February 2021, 11 current and former Canadian military leaders have been dismissed, investigated, or forced to retire from some of the most powerful and prestigious positions in the world. defense establishment.
“While military police investigators and military prosecutors have the professional skills, dedication and skill to investigate and prosecute criminal and disciplinary offenses, we recognize that this has not been enough to build and maintain trust in the military justice system, ”said Canadian Forces Provost Marshal and Director of Military Prosecutions in a joint statement to the media.
Brig.-Gen. Simon Trudeau and Colonel Dylan Kerr currently occupy these respective roles.
The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal is appointed by the Chief of the Defense Staff to oversee military police and provide advice on law enforcement matters. The Director of Military Prosecutions heads the military prosecution service, which has the power to decide which cases are dealt with, and is also responsible for prosecuting those cases in court.
The two offices said work was underway to “establish a framework to prioritize the exercise of civil jurisdiction” in cases of sexual assault or other criminal offenses of a sexual nature.
The statement did not specify when this transfer of authority will be completed.
Anand also did not provide a timeline for the change when she broke the news on Thursday.
The interim recommendation was made by retired Supreme Court Justice Louise Arbor, whose investigation into sexual misconduct in the military is not yet complete.
The federal government says it will wait until the end of Arbor’s report before deciding whether the move to civil courts will become permanent.
The Canadian Forces Provost Marshal and the Director of Military Prosecutions added that anyone involved in a sexual misconduct case currently under investigation by military police should expect to be contacted in the coming days.
“To the victims, who are at the forefront of everything we do, rest assured that the military police will support you throughout any process of transfer to the civil justice system,” the statement said.