MAC: Mines and Communities

Mining crimes against humanity

Published by MAC on 2006-01-16

Mining crimes against humanity


16th January 2006

Paul Martin and Pierre Pettigrew accused of complicity in crimes of lese majesté and crimes against humanity

Press release, Montreal, Canada

The CCCCH, an NGO with its head office in Montreal, solicits the Attorney General of Canada to issue an arrest warrant against Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, and Pierre Pettigrew, Foreign Minister of Canada, for having put in place a state-sponsored policy of collaboration with mining corporations that violate human rights and endanger human life.

On Friday, January 13th, 2006, the CCCCH presented an accusatory brief of 248 pages to the Attorney General of Canada following the government's answer to the report of parliamentary committee which recommended obligatory legal measures to stop the devastating social and environmental impacts of Canadian mining corporation operations in various countries. The report has been swept under the carpet by Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew whose response to the committee report contains large sections which, according to business journalist and author, Madeleine Drohan (as cited in Paul Weinberg's IPS News communiqué of October 22, 2005) could "charitably be called fatuous; others were downright misleading. " The IPS communiqué makes reference to the Drohan article which appeared in the Globe and Mail of October 20, 2005.

The recent parliamentary report calls on the government to: (a) stop using taxpayer money to support destructive Canadian mining projects abroad; (b) hold Canadian mining companies legally accountable for environmental and human rights violations in other countries, and, (c) force the World Bank to respect international human rights standards. However, the Canadian government, by way of Minister Pettigrew's negative response to the parliamentary committee's report, prefers to adhere to the policy of voluntary self-discipline for the multinational enterprises, thus demonstrating the Canadian government's extraordinary contempt for the security of human life.

Indeed, the accidents related to the mining industry have reaped the lives of more than 800 people throughout the world, without counting those that die years after these accidents. In Stava only, Trento, Italy, in July 1985, 268 people were buried alive under 2000,000 m3 of toxins that escaped the tailing of a fluorite mine, and all Canadians must certainly remember the tragic events of the Westray coal mine in
Nova Scotia, May 9, 1992, that killed 26 Canadian workers.

Notwithstanding this reality, in his answer to the Parliamentarians, Minister Pettigrew recognizes, with certain gusto, the support given by the Canadian government to the mining industry, in particular, the gold-mining corporations. This panegyric to the mining industry by Minister Pettigrew means that the government of Canada supports the heap-leach extraction of gold by the use of cyanide, a deadly poison considered a potential weapon of mass destruction by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the toxic overflows of which have even killed some children. Mr. Pettigrew furthermore affirms that the activities surrounding the extraction of gold using the heap leach process "procure many advantages for Canada"; according to him, "the increase of exports, the creation of jobs for the country, the repatriation of profits, and the increased international competitiveness of the Canadian economy" are normal benefits from the process of heap-leaching which in some cases may also mean the poisoning of civil populations abroad.

Consequently, in the face of this contempt for human life, the CCCCH, in a 246 page brief, demands that the Attorney General of Canada issue an arrest warrant against Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, as head of the government of Canada, and against Pierre Pettigrew, Foreign Minister of Canada in view of their association and admitted collaboration with Canadian corporations committing crimes against humanity. These two individuals have different roles within the government, but the CCCCH maintains that they acted together as part of a state policy having at its base, contempt for human life. Based on the facts presented in the brief, and according to the Erdemovic jurisprudence, they have not only committed crimes against humanity, but having put in place a State policy, which of itself lends complicity to these crimes as a matter of State policy, they have committed a crime of lese majesté, and according to the Scillingo jurisprudence, are personally responsible for the crimes committed by their corporative partners.

The CCCCH also asks the Attorney General of Canada to assign a court to allow the international civil society to bring evidence against these individuals, and ask him to give an answer to this demand in the briefest possible delay. If Canada estimates that its national courts are not authorized to treat the said case, the CCCCH will call upon the international courts.

The CCCCH will wait for the answer of the international legal system to act in the same way against the politicians of those countries accepting the heap leach cyanide process, and against those public civil servants of these same countries who proceed to give permits for mining operations that include spreading toxic gases such as cyanide into the atmosphere. It will proceed in the same way with the institutional and private investors who make or permit the financing of mining corporations using the heap leach cyanide process, because by giving their financial support to these criminal activities, they make themselves accomplices of human rights violations.

The CCCCH asks the international civil society to give its support to this campaign and to send the evidence of crimes committed by Canadian corporations operating abroad.

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Thank you.

For more information:
Bruce Katz, president CCCCH (514) 387-0149
René Silva, director CCCCH (514) 387-0149

Canadian Committee To Combat Crimes Against Humanity
3-220, de Beauharnois Street West
Montreal (Quebec) Canada, H2N 1K2

Telephone: (514) 387-0149

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