Board of Inquiry into Detainee Incident

The Vice Chief of Defence Staff (VCDS) convened a Board of Inquiry (BOI) to investigate the circumstances surrounding the alleged incident and to make recommendations as to the requirement for any changes to orders, directives, procedures and training as outlined in the Convening Orders.

The Board of Inquiry (BOI) has completed its work and the findings were made public on 04 May 2010. This Web site was created to provide information on the activities of the Board of Inquiry and a copy of the final report of the BOI findings, subject to the limitations on the release of information imposed by the Privacy Act and Access to Information Act including security, operational and international relation constraints.

 News Releases

Update - 8 March 2010

The Board of Inquiry (BOI) has completed its work and presented its report to the Convening Authority, the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS), Vice-Admiral J.A.D. Rouleau.

The BOI was convened to gain a clear understanding of the specific details of the incident of 14 June 2006, in Afghanistan, during which a person in CF custody was handed over to Afghan authorities then taken back by CF personnel.

In the coming weeks, the Convening Authority will review the report and any recommendations it contains. Upon approval of the final report, this information will be made public, subject to the limitations on the release of information imposed by the Privacy Act and Access to Information Act including security, operational and international relations constraints.

News Release - 19 February 2010

OTTAWA - The Board of Inquiry (BOI) report for the 14 June 2006 Afghanistan detainee incident was made public today. The Board of Inquiry confirmed that Canadian Forces members acted appropriately on 14 June 2006, taking positive action when they realized an individual in Afghan custody had been mistreated. The Board also concluded that there were differences of interpretation of the March 2006 Theatre Standing Order (TSO) on Detainee Handling at all levels, but these issues were proactively resolved in subsequent rotations to the point where Canada has an effective and clear detainee management policy.

The Board made no recommendations based upon this investigation, as the issues identified have already been addressed and improvements were made to the TSO and the detainee documentation and reporting process. The report concludes, "It is clear that lessons identified across the chain of command since 2006 have been applied to shape substantive improvements in detainee documentation and reporting. These improvements assure the timely passage of all necessary and relevant operational, legal, and military police information regarding detainees across the tactical and operational levels of command."

The findings of the Board are based on a thorough analysis of all evidence supported by specific reference to witness testimonies and evidence received. In accordance with the Convening Authority's intent, the investigation consisted of interviews of all relevant witnesses, including civilian, military police and expert witnesses, and a review of all pertinent legislations, regulations, orders, directives and instructions in place at the time. The Board also reviewed all pertinent investigation reports and police reports.

On 20 January 2010, the Vice Chief of Defence Staff (VCDS), convened the BOI to gain a clear understanding of the specific details of the incident of 14 June 2006, in Afghanistan, during which a person in CF custody was handed over to Afghan authorities and then taken back by CF personnel.

A copy of the (archived) final report of the BOI report is available.

  • 28 January 2010: News Release
  • Unavailable: Chief of the Defence Staff Statement
Periodic Update #10: 19 December 2008

The Board of Inquiry (BOI) investigating the circumstances surrounding the treatment and handling of three Detainees on or about April 6/7, 2006 has completed its work and submitted its report to the Convening Authority, the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS), Vice-Admiral J.A.D. Rouleau.

The Board of Inquiry was asked to look into the treatment and processing of the three Detainees, and make any applicable recommendations for changes to orders, directives, procedures, and training that relate to the in-theatre detainee handling process.

In the coming weeks, the Convening Authority will review the report and any recommendations it contains. Upon approval of the final report, this information will be made public, subject to the limitations on the release of information imposed by the Privacy Act and Access to Information Act including security, operational and international relations constraints.

Period Update #9: 4 December 2008

The Board of Inquiry (BOI) investigating the circumstances surrounding the treatment and handling of the three Detainees on or about April 6/7, 2006 has heard from all witnesses and has initiated the final stage of preparing the Board's report. The completed report will be submitted to the Convening Authority, the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS), Vice-Admiral J.A.D. Rouleau.

The Board was convened on February 16, 2007 by the previous VCDS. It was adjourned in August 2007 in accordance with the terms of the Convening Order to conduct its affairs on a non-interference basis with the ongoing CF National Investigation Service (CFNIS) probe into the same event. In the Spring of this year the Board reconvened briefly to interview several witnesses and to review and analyse the evidence collected. On October 3, 2008, the CFNIS concluded its work. The BOI reconvened shortly afterwards to complete witness interviews and examine the remaining evidence.

As well as the treatment and handling of the three Detainees, the BOI includes an examination of medical care administered to the detainees, and a detailed examination of the orders, directives, and procedures governing detainee treatment. Pre-deployment training for CF troops and compliance with orders and directives in effect at the time, are also examined.

The final BOI report will contain findings and make recommendations if necessary as to the requirement for any changes to orders, directives, procedures, and training as outlined in the Convening Order (see BOI Convening Orders, February 16, 2007). Upon acceptance of the report by the VCDS, the report will be made public within the bounds of the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act.

Periodic Update #8: 22 October 2008

The Board of Inquiry investigating the treatment and processing of three detainees by the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan on or about 6-7 April 2006 reconvened this week to prepare to hear testimony from a number of witnesses and to review and analyze the evidence received thus far.

The witnesses who were previously unavailable to the Board (because of the requirement for the Board to conduct its affairs on a non-interference basis with the recently-completed CF National Investigation Service investigation) are now available to testify.

The Board's members and advisors have returned to their Board of Inquiry duties and are working on a full-time basis to prepare to hear from the remaining witnesses in order to complete the Board Report.

When the Board's final report is complete, it will be submitted to the Convening Authority, the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, as required by the terms of the Convening Order. Upon its acceptance, the report will be made public within the bounds of the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act.

Periodic Update #7: 9 June 2008

The Board of Inquiry investigating the treatment and processing of three detainees by the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan on or about 6-7 April 2006 reconvened in April 2008 to hear testimony from a number of available witnesses and to review and analyze the evidence received thus far.

Several witnesses remain unavailable to the Board because of the requirement for the Board to conduct its affairs on a non-interference basis with the ongoing CF National Investigation Service investigation into the same event. Therefore, the Board has decided to adjourn again on Monday, 9 June 2008 until the remaining witnesses become available.

The Board's members and advisors will return to their regular duties until they are recalled to resume their role with the Board. Certain key officers will continue, on a part-time basis, to examine and evaluate the testimony and evidence collected to date.

When the Board's final report is complete, it will be submitted to the Convening Authority, the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, as required by the terms of the Convening Order. Upon its acceptance, the report will be made public within the bounds of the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act.

Periodic Update #6: 7 May 2008

The Board of Inquiry investigating the treatment and processing of three detainees by the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan on or about 6-7 April 2006 has been adjourned since August 2007.

This adjournment was necessary because the Board is required by the terms of the Convening Order to conduct its affairs on a non-interference basis with the ongoing CF National Investigation Service (CFNIS) investigation into the same event. Witnesses of mutual interest to both investigations must be interviewed by the CFNIS first, prior to their appearance before the Board.

During this adjournment, most of the Board's members and advisors returned to their regular duties, while certain key officers continued to review and analyze testimony and evidence.

On 7 April 2008, the Board reconvened to interview several of the remaining witnesses. Work on review and analysis of the testimony and evidence continues but a number of witnesses still await release to the Board by the CFNIS.

Once the Board's investigation is finished and the final report is completed, it will be submitted to the Convening Authority, the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, as required by the terms of the Convening Order. Upon its acceptance, the report will be made public within the bounds of the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act.

Periodic Update #5: 20 September 2007

The Board of Inquiry investigating the treatment and processing of detainees by the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan continues to make progress with its proceedings.

It is conducting its work concurrently, though independently, from the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) investigation into the same event.

The Board is interested in hearing from a number of witnesses who have appeared or are expected to appear before the CFNIS.

According to the convening order, the Board, which is conducting an administrative inquiry, must conduct its affairs on a non-interference basis to any ongoing Military Police criminal investigation. Therefore, mutual witnesses must first be interviewed by the CFNIS and then released by them for testimony before the BOI.

At this time, the Board is awaiting the release of several witnesses who may have been involved in the treatment and processing of three individuals in the area of Kandahar, Afghanistan on or about 6/7 April 2006.

When the Board completes hearing all witness testimony, it will present its findings and recommendations in a final report to the Convening Authority, Lieutenant-General Walter Natynczyk, the Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff.

The report will include specific findings into the treatment and processing of the three detainees, on or about 6/7 April 2006, as well as any necessary recommendations for changes to orders, directives, procedures, and training that relate to the in-theatre detainee handling process.

The report will be made public within the bounds of the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act.

Periodic Update #4: 6 June 2007

Since the Board of Inquiry investigating the treatment and processing of detainees convened in February 2007, the Members and Advisors have focused their attention on an in depth examination of documentary evidence as well as the testimony of witnesses who have played a role in the detainee handling process.

"We have spent considerable time over the past three months reviewing evidence at the strategic level, and now our focus is on events and procedures at the tactical level," says Board President, Major General Matt Macdonald.

The investigation follows the direction given by Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff in his Convening Order; that is, to make findings into the specific treatment and processing of three detainees, on or about 6/7 April 2006.

The treatment and processing of detainees, any use of force, the medical care provided, as well as compliance with orders, directives and procedures, are all areas of examination.

In addition to the Board's detailed consideration of all aspects of the three specific detainees, it is examining the documented orders, directives and procedures in effect in April 2006.

The process of evaluating all the evidence is ongoing and will result in the Board's final report. It will make recommendations for changes and improvements, if necessary, on the subject of CF detainee handling procedures.

On completion, the findings and recommendations will be presented to the Convening Authority, Lieutenant-General Walter Natynczyk, the Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff, and thereafter to the Chief of the Defence Staff, for review. The report will be made public within the bounds of the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act.

Periodic Update #3: 15 May 2007

The Board of Inquiry investigating the treatment and processing of detainees in Afghanistan is now in its 11th week. The Board's proceedings include the questioning of witnesses and the introduction of documents into evidence.

The investigation is based on the Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff - VCDS - Convening Order, which instructs the Board to make findings in specific areas and to make recommendations for changes and improvements if necessary (see Convening Order, paras 7 and 8), regarding CF detainee handling procedures.

The Board continues to hear testimony from witnesses who are or have been involved in the detainee handling process. As well, the members and advisors are reviewing the documentary evidence that has been received from the applicable commands and witnesses.

Witnesses to date have included senior military commanders at NDHQ Ottawa, as well as field commanders and soldiers. They have explained the high-level strategic context for the CF mission in Afghanistan, the tactical orders governing operations, and the actual conduct of missions in the theatre of operations.

Among the many areas of particular interest to the Board are: soldier pre-deployment and in-theatre training, as it relates to detainee handling; their understanding of the CF Code of Conduct; the rules applicable to the use of force; medical care of injured Canadian soldiers and detainees alike; and the lessons learned process that leads to best practices.

The Board traveled to the Edmonton Garrison during the week of 2 - 6 April where it conducted interviews with troops who have served in Afghanistan. The witnesses included officers and soldiers from the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry who were in Kandahar Province from November 2005 to August 2006.

During the period 24 April - 3 May, the Board traveled to Afghanistan to learn first hand about today's operational environment and the detainee handling process that is currently being implemented. The Canadian Battle Group now in theater is formed around the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, based in Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Periodic Update #2: 23 March 2007

The Board of Inquiry investigating the handling of detainees in Afghanistan by Canadian Forces troops is currently engaged in the crucial tasks of identifying and analyzing documents it has received, as well as scheduling the appearance of witnesses who will start to appear before the Board, in the next few days.

The documents under review with regard to detainee handling include standing orders, operation orders, standing operating procedures, training instructions, and significant incident reports.

A thorough examination of these documents will allow the Board to understand the detainee handling process. Board President, Major-General Matt Macdonald and his team require a clear picture of the timelines, orders, directives, procedures and training, as well as any changes that have been implemented based on lessons learned in the field.

In addition to the documents, the testimony of each witness will provide the Board with their knowledge and experience as they relate to detainee handling.

The level of questions for each witness will be focused depending on their background and experience and will include strategic planning and doctrine, operational and tactical training, and actual practice in the field. Witnesses may be called on to identify and discuss key documents, which will be introduced into evidence as exhibits.

During the week of 26 - 30 March, the Board will build the strategic level context of the detainee handling process through the first series of scheduled witness interviews. The following week, 2 - 6 April, the board will visit the Edmonton Garrison where it will conduct interviews with a number of witnesses who served in Afghanistan in 2005 and 2006. Later in April, the Board will visit the Canadian theatre of operations in Afghanistan to learn more about the detainee handling process as currently being performed.

The Board will make findings on the specific areas identified in the VCDS Convening Order (link). They include: the orders, directives and procedures relating to the treatment and processing of detainees in Afghanistan; the details of whether or not that treatment and processing was in compliance with all orders, directives and procedures in effect at the time; and the detainee treatment and processing used by Canadian Forces personnel on or about 6/7 April 2006.

Once the investigations are complete, the findings and recommendations will be made public, subject to the limitations on the release of information imposed by the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act.

Periodic Update #1: 6 March 2007

The Board of Inquiry (BOI) investigating the treatment and processing of detainees in Afghanistan by Canadian Forces troops has convened under its President, Major-General Matt Macdonald. He is supported by a team of specialist advisors, which has gathered in Ottawa to prepare for the inquiry.

The Board has been tasked (see BOI Convening Orders, February 16, 2007) to investigate the nature, extent and circumstances surrounding any use of force by CF personnel in the capture, treatment and processing of persons detained by the CF, on or about April 6/7 2006 in Afghanistan. The investigation includes an examination of medical care administered to the detainees, as well as a detailed examination of the orders, directives, and procedures governing detainee treatment at the time.

Compliance with orders and directives, pre-deployment training for CF troops, as well as any changes that may have been implemented to the governing documents, will all be examined in detail.

Brigadier-General (Ret'd) Joe Sharp and Captain (Navy) Peter Avis make up the Board with Major General Macdonald. Special advice on operations is provided by Chief Warrant Officers Wayne Ford and Denis Levesque; legal advice by Commander (Cdr) Martin Pelletier; medical advice by Cdr Rob Briggs; Public Affairs by Lieutenant-Commander (LCdr) Philip Anido; Military Police issues by LCdr Sherman Hinze; and soldier training by Major Tony Dejacolyn.

The mission of the BOI is to report on what happened to three detainees on or about April 2006, to make findings on CF orders, directives, procedures and training pertaining to detainees in general, and to find what if any changes have been implemented in these subject areas. The Board will recommend changes that may be necessary to improve CF standards of training and performance and to prevent recurrence, if procedures were not followed.

The immediate tasks at hand are the identification of documentation that governs the practice of detainee handling in the CF, and the selection of witnesses to be interviewed by the BOI.

The Board is scheduled to run for as long as necessary to complete its investigation thoroughly. The final report will be presented to the Convening Authority, Lieutenant-General Walter Natynczyk, the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, and thereafter to the Chief of the Defence Staff. The report will be made public within the bounds of the Privacy Act and the Access to Information Act.

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