OTTAWA — Toronto-born Omar Khadr will find out today whether the Harper government has a legal obligation to seek his return from a U.S. military prison.
A keenly awaited Supreme Court of Canada decision in his case is also expected to help clarify the extent to which the courts can wade into federal decision-making about foreign policy matters.
The ruling follows a one-day hearing before the high court last November that highlighted the deep and often emotionally charged differences over Canada’s role in Khadr’s treatment.
Should the court direct the government to ask Washington for Khadr’s return, it will set off debate over what to do with him.
Khadr, 23, is being held by the Americans at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for allegedly throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan more than seven years ago.
The Conservative government strongly opposes Khadr’s repatriation, but his lawyers and several interested groups — including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Canadian Bar Association — argue Canada should request his return.
The Federal Court of Canada ruled last April that the Conservative government must ask the United States to return Khadr “as soon as practicable.”