Board of Inquiry – Allegation of assault of a civilian by Afghan National Security Forces and the Canadian Forces response to such incidents (Redacted)

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1.1 In June 2008, the Toronto Star published a series of articles concerning soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In addition to claiming that the CF was not doing enough for PTSD sufferers, it was alleged that Canadian soldiers had witnessed the sexual assault of Afghan minors by Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF), and that they had not intervened. There was also an allegation that a Canadian-employed interpreter may have been involved in sexual assault. It was also claimed in the articles that the CF chain of command had ordered soldiers to ignore such behaviour by the ANSF. Finally, it was alleged that soldiers were suffering from PTSD as a result of their failure to intervene in sex assault incidents. The chief source of information for these articles was Cpl Travis Schouten, who was deployed in Afghanistan from September 2006 until February 2007.

1.2 In response to press reports in June 2008, claiming that a child had been sexually abused by the ANSF in Canadian lines, and that the soldier who witnessed the assault had been ordered not  to report it, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) immediately opened an investigation. It ultimately concluded that no Canadians or employees of Canada were involved in the sexual assault of Afghan minors. Simultaneously, because the NIS jurisdiction is limited to crimes that may have been committed by Canadians, the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) ordered the Chief of the Land Staff (CLS) to convene a Board of Inquiry (BOI) into the news media allegations. The Board began its work on 7 October 2008 and submitted its final report on 15 January 2010. In conducting its work, the Board contacted over 800 potential witnesses and took sworn testimony from 105 persons.

1.3                                                                                                                                                              Col Simon Hetherington who was told of allegations of abuse while he was EA to the CLS in September 2007. While Col Hetherington testified that he "would have informed" either CLS, DGLS/COS Ops or ACLS, none of these officers recalls receiving this information at that time. However, what is clear is that information regarding the possible sexual abuse of minors was available in CLS Headquarters in September 2007.                                                                                                                                                          . A weekly sitrep was sent from theatre on 3 October 06 advising                                             possible sexual assaults of minors were taking place in theatre and that a CF policy review was required.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Despite a significant effort, the BOI was not able to resolve this conflicting testimony. However, it is clear that information on potential sexual abuse was in CEFCOM Headquarters in October 2006 and this information was not passed to either the JAG or CEFCOM chains of command for review or action.


Cpl Schouten's Allegations

1.4 The Board has found that Cpl Schouten claims to have witnessed what he believed was a sexual assault of an Afghan boy by two ANSF personnel in January 2007 at Patrol Base Wilson (PBW), a compound shared by a varying number of CF personnel and a detachment of the Afghan National Police (ANP). There were no other witnesses to corroborate the incident                                                 . In any event, Cpl Schouten chose not to intervene and did not report this incident, nor did he mention it to any other person while in Afghanistan. As a result, no action was taken to intervene, confirm or investigate this allegation while Cpl Schouten was in Afghanistan. Cpl Schouten has never reported the incident to his CF chain of command.

1.5 After his return to Canada, Cpl Schouten first mentioned the alleged incident in confidence to a CF chaplain in June 2007, along with a series of other concerns regarding his tour in Afghanistan. The chaplain arranged a meeting with Cpl Schouten's Commanding Officer (CO). Inthis meeting Cpl Schouten did not raise the allegation of sexual assault.                                                                  .

1.6 Later, in September 2007, in the course of a meeting with OSISS staff, Cpl Schouten again claimed that he had witnessed a sexual assault. In this instance a report was passed on to both the ADM (PA) and CLS chains of command in the context of explaining why Cpl Schouten had PTSD and to alert the chain of command that Cpl Schouten was in discussion with the media. The entire CF chain of command at this point was engaged and focused on resolving Cpl Schouten's                     . However, despite the fact that Cpl Schouten's allegation of sexual abuse was known to at least one key member of CLS staff, the Commander was never briefed on the allegation and no action was taken on this specific issue.

1.7 Finally, in May 2008 Cpl Schouten was interviewed by the Toronto Star and told the reporter about the incident. The first in a series of articles by the reporter was printed on 14 June 2008. For the majority of people interviewed by this BOI, the press reports were the first instances in which they learned about the allegations made by Cpl Schouten.

Related Reporting and Action in Afghanistan

1.8 In addition to the incident witnessed by Cpl Schouten, the Board received several reports of CF personnel having witnessed or suspected sex acts between ANSF members and with children. These reports include incidents of oral sex and genital fondling under clothing. There was one report of CF medical personnel having treated both male and female children for rectal damage as a result of sexual assault. These incidents were either not reported or reporting was not transmitted beyond platoon level.

1.9 The Board also received reports of Afghan National Army (ANA) disciplinary action being taken against their own members for having sex with children.

1.10 The Board found six instances in which the CF chain of command in Afghanistan was informed of possible sexual activity between ANSF members and children. All but one of these incidents pre-date Cpl Schouten's alleged incident. Any action taken was limited to the unit level. Inno case were the reports passed to higher command (JTF-Afg).

  1. A unit                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 the issue was dropped and not reported to either the Battle Group Commander or to JTF-Afg.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          .
  2. A LEGAD reported to her CO second-hand evidence of potential sex abuse. The CO considered the information hearsay. He did not action, report or pursue the issue further. This LEGAD also passed details of the incident to the senior JTF-Afg LEGAD, who was her immediate superior.
  3. As a result of these two incidents, the senior JTF-Afg LEGAD sent a report back through the JAG chain of command to CEFCOM LEGAD recommending, in the face of sexual assault allegations involving children by the ANSF, that the JAG conduct a policy review of this issue. This recommendation was not passed to Commander JTF-Afg in theatre and was not discussed with him. Although the report was sent back to the office of the CEFCOM LEGAD in two separate weekly situation reports,                                                                                                                         Regardless, it is clear that this report was never                                                                                                                                                                                              
  4. In August 2006, two soldiers informed their section commander that they had witnessed a boy performing fellatio on an ANSF member at the front gate of PBW. The section commander allegedly reported the incident to his platoon commander but the platoon commander has stated that he cannot remember the report. The two soldiers who witnessed the incident were later killed in action.
  5. InAugust 2006, another soldier stated that he witnessed a similar act from an observation post (OP) in PBW and informally reported the incident to two sergeants. The report went no higher.
  6. In 2007, a Battle Group CO, upon hearing the report of potential sexual abuse, took immediate action and issued orders to his subordinates that they were to intervene in any such incidents and to report them through the chain of command. His action effectively resolved the issue for the period of his unit's deployment. Unfortunately, although the CO's action was entirely appropriate, his direction was verbal, not reported higher to Commander JTF-Afg and, because the issue was considered resolved, was not passed on to the next contingent.

1.11 The Board found no evidence that anyone in the CF operational chain of command had ever ordered troops to ignore sexual assault of minors by the ANSF. This accusation was vehemently denied by every CF member interviewed, including Cpl Schouten.

Related Reporting and Action in Canada

1.12 The Board did find evidence that the Cpl Schouten allegations were passed to the CF chain of command, in Canada, in September 2007. Following an OSISS meeting with Cpl Schouten, a CF LCol informed both the ADM (PA) and CLS staffs that Cpl Schouten had witnessed a sexual assault in Afghanistan. This was done in the context of alerting the chain of command to Cpl Schouten's distress and of his intention to speak to the media. The overall intent of this reporting was an effort to seek additional help for Cpl Schouten in dealing with                               . ADM (PA) also rightfully believed that all responsibility for action on the sexual abuse allegations rested with the CF Chain of Command.

1.13 By September 2007, Cpl Schouten's concerns                   were well known across the CLS and CF chain of command; therefore, the briefing by the LCol to a key member of the CLS staff about Cpl Schouten's problems was not a surprise. The allegation of sexual abuse was new, however, and recognized as important. Nonetheless, the Board found no evidence that this information was ever briefed to the CLS chain of command.

1.14 All key members of the CLS and CF chain of command have testified that they were never informed of Cpl Schouten's allegation of sexual abuse until the media articles started appearing in June 2008. Their entire focus in the fall of 2007 through to the present was on dealing with Cpl Schouten's complaints regarding                                                .


1.15 Based on the major findings, the Board has concluded that no Commander ever ordered troops under their command to ignore sexual assault by ANSF. As well, the CF leadership had an expectation that CF members would act if they witnessed such acts of abuse. The Board has found that at the time this abuse was first suspected, the CF was engaged in a very difficult and dynamic operation, involving significant loss of life and injuries, and that the number of serious issues requiring simultaneous resolution was high.

1.16 At the same time, the Board finds that within the CF contingent deployed in Afghanistan, sufficient information existed as early as 2006 to warrant action on the possible sexual abuse of minors by the ANSF. Where reporting and direct action occurred, the actions taken were correct, but because reporting never reached either the Commanders or principal staff at either JTF-Afg or CEFCOM, no specific and permanent CF action was ever taken. The principal reason for this is that there were numerous communication failures within the mid-level chain of command; specifically in the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Kandahar, ITF-Afg LEGAD, CEFCOM LEGAD and by a member of the Land Staff.

1.17 The BOI therefore concludes that although the CF had the opportunity to address this issue as early as the fall of 2006, concrete action only began after the CF chain of command became aware of the incidents through media reporting in June 2008.


1.18 There is evidence of a historical practice in Afghanistan of men in power using young men or boys for sex. Where minors are involved, this practice is illegal under international law, Afghan law and Islamic religious law. The practice has been expressly condemned by the Government of Afghanistan. The prevalence of this practice in current day Afghanistan is directly related to the strength of central government control. In the south of Afghanistan, where the CF is operating, the authority of the Government of Afghanistan is weakest. Correspondingly, there is a higher incidence of this practice.

1.19 The Board also found that virtually all members of the CF who have deployed to Afghanistan have heard of the term "Man Love Thursday" either before or during their Afghan tours. This term refers to the regular gathering of men on the Thursday evening before the Islamic holy day. Perceptions of what this term means varied from Thursday night being a tradition that can best be described as the Afghan equivalent of happy hour, to a belief that there was widespread homosexual activity among ANSF personnel. More disturbingly, a minority of CF soldiers believed "Man Love Thursday" included regular sexual assault of minors. Despite almost universal usage, the term was never challenged in pre-deployment cultural training or by the CF chain of command.

1.20 CF members' definitions and perceptions of "Man Love Thursday" were largely formed on rumour and innuendo based on preconceived notions. At best the term "Man Love Thursday" is culturally insensitive, as it reflects a very poor and often inaccurate perception of Afghan culture. At worst it is a derogatory term that encourages cultural intolerance and bias and appears to condone illegal sex with minors.

1.21 Most activities that soldiers attributed to "Man Love Thursday," up to and including consensual homosexual sex, are legal in Canada and not for soldiers to judge. However, any sex with a minor is illegal by international, Canadian, Afghan and religious law. Any such activity requires action wherever it is seen or suspected.

1.22 Although some personnel were uncomfortable with what they saw, or believed they were seeing, all CF members are instructed by their society and their formal training to be open and accepting of cultural differences. Soldiers generally believed that homosexual activity on Thursday nights was common in Afghan society. Without specific orders or instruction on what practices in a foreign culture are illegal, some soldiers believed that the practice of sexually abusing children was condoned by the Afghans and was therefore not considered reportable.

1.23 The Board found a number of systemic problems that contributed to this situation. For example, it is not clear if consensual sex with a minor is included in the serious crime provision of the Rules of Engagement (ROE), as it does not meet the serious bodily harm criteria. Errors in pre-deployment ROE training may have led soldiers to believe that culture sometimes trumps law in the application of ROE. Ambiguity in Rule 11 of the CF Code of Conduct (reporting and intervention requirement) and the lack of a mandatory reporting format may have led soldiers to believe they did not have a requirement to report serious crimes or human rights violations committed by persons other than CF members.

1.24 The Board also found that the lack of clarity regarding reporting responsibilities between LEGADs and the operational commanders that they are supporting may have contributed to this issue. LEGADs rightfully believed that the advice they were providing to members of the operational staff was being passed up the operational chain. Unfortunately, in this instance, due to decisions taken at a subordinate level in both operational and LEGAD staffs, this important legal advice did not reach the decision levels of either the operational or JAG chain of command.

1.25 It was found that although the CF Code of Conduct is a superb guide for soldiers in actual combat, where they are governed by the LOAC. It does not, however, provide adequate direction with regards to some of the increasingly complex issues contained in International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and may not meet all requirements for a counter-insurgency campaign such as the CF is currently facing in Afghanistan. For example, the mandatory reporting requirements contained in the Code of Conduct do not extend to reporting on serious crimes or human rights abuses, unless they specifically fall under LOAC. This ambiguity on reporting requirements coupled with the application of mission command led to decisions being made at the unit level not to report higher. Thus, reports of sexual abuse of children were never communicated to the Canadian Joint Task Force Commander. As a result, the theatre and national chain of command, the Government of Afghanistan and the Government of Canada were never alerted to CF concerns about possible sexual abuse of minors.

1.26 With regards to the treatment of Occupational Stress Injuries (OSis) and PTSD, the Board found that the pre-deployment and deployment care provided is superb for those who are either identified or self-identify to the mental health system; however, there are still post-deployment issues that must be addressed. The terminology surrounding OSI and PTSD is loose and causes significant difficulty in understanding the extent of the OSI/PTSD issue in the CF. There is a lack ofunderstanding among the chain of command, medical community and the CF administrative system regarding what the exact CF treatment programme is for OSI/PTSD, and what roles each part of the CF system plays in this process. It is unclear whether the chain of command believes that members suffering from OSI/PTSD should be held fully accountable for their actions. Confusion with the application of sick leave provisions is hindering the treatment of OSI/PTSD.

Of concern, as well, is the fact that the Primary Next of Kin (PNOK) of CF members are often not fully involved in the post-deployment identification of OSIIPTSD.

1.27 Throughout its tenure, the Board was very aware that the issue of children being abused by ANSF members had to be placed in context. At the time the incidents were reported to have occurred, CF personnel were involved in a new, highly complex and dangerous mission. They were living in extremely harsh conditions and were under constant and deadly attacks from a determined enemy. Survival and combat were the primary missions and all other issues were secondary. The issue of sexual abuse was also culturally sensitive, and the CF policy, direction and training on the issue were unclear. Thus, although it is explainable why soldiers who may have witnessed or suspected what should have been considered illegal sexual activity did not report the incidents to their chain of command, it is also true that overall the CF did not deal effectively with this issue.

1.28 Although the Board is aware that some action has already been taken, the Board has made a significant number of recommendations in this report which, if accepted, will put in place mechanisms that will emphasize the importance of intervening to stop any abuse of civilians when it is safe to do so, and will mandate the reporting of any and all abuse seen by or reported to CF personnel.

1.29 The Board received the full cooperation of the GoA, DFAIT, the UN, RCMP and the CF chain of command in the conduct of this investigation and would like to thank all involved for their efforts.

Summary of Findings

1.30 Cpl Schouten, a member of Task Force 3-06, claims that in January 2007, he witnessed what he believed to be the sexual assault of an Afghan minor boy by two members of the ANSF at Patrol Base Wilson, Afghanistan. Although his ROE gave him full authority to intervene and stop the incident, Cpl Schouten made a deliberate choice to do nothing.

1.31 Cpl Schouten was alone when he witnessed the incident. There is no other witness to the incident. His story cannot be corroborated, nor can it be dismissed.

1.32 Cpl Schouten did not report the incident to his operational chain of command in Afghanistan. Nor did he report the incident to his chain of command following his return to Canada.

1.33 Inthe course of seeking treatment for his PTSD, Cpl Schouten stated to Padre Johns and the OSISS team that he had witnessed a sexual assault in Afghanistan. Cpl Schouten's                                                 conviction that he witnessed the sexual assault of a young Afghan boy.

1.34 The Board found that there was no official CF response to the incident described by Cpl Schouten until the chain of command was made aware of his story by the media in June 2008.

1.35 Following the press reports in June 2008, the CF chain of command immediately initiated a CFNIS investigation and made the decision to convene this BOI to look into the allegations outlined in the articles.

  1. The CFNIS investigation concluded that no Canadian was involved in the sexual abuse of any Afghan minor.
  2. This Board submitted its initial report to the Convening Authority on 15 April 2009 and its final report on 15 January 2010. The Board made a significant number of findings and recommendations resulting from its investigation of this issue.

1.36 CF orders and directions to soldiers deploying on operations regarding the protection of civilians and reaction to serious crime are imparted through chain of command-driven pre­ deployment training. Key components of this training are Law of Armed Conflict training, CF Code of Conduct training, Rules of Engagement training and cultural training, all reinforced through a series of field training exercises.

1.37 In this regard the Board found:

  1. There is ambiguity in Rule 11 of the CF Code of Conduct regarding the obligation to report breaches of the LOAC and serious crime when such incidents involve foreign nationals.
  2. CF Rules of Engagement permit a soldier to use force to stop a serious crime, but the ROE create no obligation for a CF member to act. Any expectation of action is either verbal or implicit and is not universally understood among deployed CF soldiers.
  3. It is not certain whether consensual sex with a minor is considered to be a serious crime in the current ROE and Use of Force manual definitions.
  4. The "rape" terminology contained in the serious crime ROE and Use of Force Manual is outdated. In its traditional definition, rape occurs when a man forcibly subjects a woman who is not his wife to sexual intercourse against her will. The term "rape" does not include the wide variety sexual acts covered by the term "sexual assault."
  5. Except as established under the LOAC and ROE serious crime provision, CF members have no authority to enforce international, Canadian, or Afghan law against Afghan civilians. This is a GoA responsibility.
  6. Nothing under international, national or Afghan law prevents CF members from reporting any human rights violations to international, Canadian or Afghan authorities. However, there is currently no process in place for the CF to report Afghan-on-Afghan crimes that are witnessed or suspected to the GoA. There is also no standard reporting format for LOAC, human rights and serious crime violations. 
  7. A national sensitivity to cultural issues combined with mistakes in pre-deployment ROE training may have led some CF members to believe that some illegal practices are in fact tolerated within the Afghan culture.
  8. DFAIT has proposed that international conventions, signed by the host nation, should be the standard by which human rights and serious crime violations are measured.
  9. The CF Code of Conduct is based on the LOAC but does not fully cover all aspects of the growing body of International Human Rights Law. As well, CF commanders and soldiers currently have a very limited understanding of IHRL.
  10. The sexual assault of minors (including any sex act with a minor) is illegal under international, Canadian, Afghan and Islamic law.

1.38 The Board found that a number of other CF members witnessed, heard, or saw other direct evidence of sex acts with Afghan children, involving ANSF personnel during the period February 2006 and August 2007. None of these incidents was reported to the CF operational chain of command.

1.39 The majority of CF personnel deployed to Afghanistan knew or suspected that homosexual acts between consenting adult ANSF members were taking place. A minority believed that this activity also included regular sex with minors.

1.40 A number of CF members heard indirect evidence (second- and third-hand reporting) or persistent rumours of possible sexual abuse of minors. In three instances this information reached the Commanding Officer or the Deputy Commanding Officer of CF units deployed to Afghanistan. Because of the fact that there was no direct evidence to support the allegations, in two of these instances no action was taken and the issue was not reported higher. In the third instance, direct and effective action was taken; however, this action was not reported higher and lapsed with the departure of the unit.

1.41 No member of the CF operational chain of command ever ordered CF members to ignore illegal behaviour on the part of the ANSF.

1.42 Because the issue of child abuse was never raised to Commander ITF-Afg, the CF never informed senior ANSF or GoA authorities of concerns regarding known or suspected sexual abuse of minors. For the same reason, the CF never informed the GoC of concerns regarding sexual abuse of minors.

1.43 Information on the incident Cpl Schouten claims to have witnessed was available in NDHQ in both the ADM (PA) and CLS chains of command as early as September 2007. However, this information was received in the context of explaining why Cpl Schouten was suffering from PTSD and to alert the CF that the member intended to contact the media. ADM (PA) rightfully assumed that responsibility for action with regards to the sexual abuse allegation rested with the CF chain of command. Where this information touched the CLS staff it was not passed on to the Commander or principal staff. As a result, no action was taken until the chain of command became aware of the alleged incident through media reporting in June 2008.

1.44 The Board found that the CF has a sophisticated mental health and Operational Stress Injury treatment process in place. In this respect the Board found the following:

  1. Pre-deployment screening is universal and effective.
  2. In-theatre mental health (MH)/OSI care was superb and highly successful.
  3. Post-deployment decompression met with mixed results, but is maturing with every tour.
  4. The post-deployment MH screening process is a significant step forward. However, there are problems that still need to be addressed in achieving 100 per cent screening due to the high post-tour mobility of personnel. There are also issues on how soon in the pst-deployment cycle this screening process should begin.
  5. Although the CF is a leader in the treatment of OSl/PTSD and has access to world­ class facilities, there are issues with the CF treatment of OSl/PTSD that do need to be addressed.
    1. There is a fundamental lack of understanding among the chain of command, medical community and the CF administrative system regarding the CF OSl/PTSD treatment process and the role each part of the CF system must play in treatment programmes.
    2. The terminology surrounding MH/OSI/PTSD is not well understood and is creating significant confusion regarding the magnitude of the OSI/PTSD problem within the CF.
    3. It is not clear if the CF believes CF members suffering from MH/OSI or PTSD related disorders are accountable for their actions.
    4. The critical role of the CF chain of command needs to play in helping CF members deal with MH/OSI or PTSD co-morbidity issues such as alcohol and drug abuse are not understood by the CF chain of command.
    5. The CF sick leave system for dealing with CF members suffering from MH/OSI or PTSD is not conducive to the effective control and treatment of CF members. Gaps between the chain of command and medical system exist that weaken CF attempts to ensure suffering CF members are returned to the highest level of functioning possible.
    6. Medical privacy is an individual right. However, CF members do not adequately understand the role the CF chain of command plays in the treatment of MH/OSI or PTSD-related issues. CF members must understand that without disclosure, the CF chain of command and administrative systems can only act on a member's actions based on the evidence before them.

1.45 The Board also made a number of other findings:

  1. The CF Code of Conduct needs to be rewritten.
  2. The CF Use of Force manual needs some amendment.

Summary of Recommendations

1.46 The following immediate operational action was recommended:

  1. Revise the serious crime ROE to remove the term "rape" and replace it with "sexual assault" (including any sex act with a minor).
  2. Make it obligatory for CF members to report any LOAC, human rights or serious crime violation to their chain of command.
  3. Obligatory reporting should include any second-hand or indirect reporting received by CF members.
  4. Make it obligatory for all such reporting to be forwarded to JTF-Afg.
  5. Comds CEFCOM and JTF-Afg should clarify the expectation of action for CF members with regards to serious crime.

1.47 The following longer-term operational action was recommended:

  1. GoC and the CF should hold discussions with the GoA to institute a reporting mechanism for the reporting of Afghan-on-Afghan crimes.
  2. GoC and the CF should inform the GoA of the CF obligation to report all LOAC, human rights, and serious crime violations to GoA and GoC.
  3. GoC and the CF should ensure that the GoA understands the ROE serious crime provision and how it will be implemented.
  4. CF should hold discussions with DFAIT to institute a CF reporting process for LOAC, human rights, and serious crime violations.
  5. JAG should review the Terms of Reference for deployed LEGADs to ensure that operational commanders are fully aware of all legal opinions that may affect their mission.
  6. LEGADs should be required to advise their supported commanders of any incidents they are aware of that may qualify as significant incidents.
  7. JTF-Afg should put in place a plan should it become necessary to remove a child (or ' any Afghan civilian) from a LOAC, human rights or serious crime situation pending resolution with the GoA.
  8. The CF should put in place a process to report the presence of child soldiers in Afghanistan to the GoA and GoC.
  9. In the operational planning process for every CF mission, JAG should issue a formalized legal brief on the applicable international, national, and host nation laws that can be used by operational planners and trainers alike in preparing CF members for the mission.
  10. The CF must ensure deploying CF contingents have a complete understanding of their relationship to each component of the host nation security forces.

1.48 The following recommendations were made with regards to pre-deployment training:

  1. LOAC training should be amended to include IHRL
  2. Code of Conduct training should be amended to reinforce the obligatory reporting requirement for all LOAC, human rights, and serious crime violations.
  3. The PSTC human rights package should be amended and should be mandatory for all deploying CF personnel. This package should reinforce that illegal acts are always illegal and cannot be condoned as part of culture.
  4. Cultural awareness training should be amended to ensure a better understanding of Afghan views towards male friendship (including physical contact), the hoojira tradition, and homosexuality.
  5. ROE training should be amended to reflect the recommended changes to the wording of the serious crime ROE.
  6. ROE stands should reinforce that soldiers must apply the serious bodily harm criterion, which is the essence of the serious crime ROE, without regard to culture.
  7. An enhanced legal package should be provided to deploying CF commanders, LEGADs and mentoring teams. This should include a better understanding of IHRL, Afghan Penal Code, and Shariah Law.

1.49 The following recommendations were made with regards to rewriting the CF Code of Conduct manual:

  1. The manual should be amended to include a full understanding of IHRL.
  2. Any reporting ambiguity should be removed. CF members should be obligated to report all LOAC, human rights and serious crime obligations, regardless of who is responsible for the violations.
  3. CF members should also be obligated to report second-hand and indirect reporting on these issues. A report is a report.
  4. The CF must put in place a standardized reporting format for all LOAC, human rights and serious crime violations.
  5. The CF should issue a decision tree on how such reports will be handled:
    1. All such reports must be first verbal and then in writing and must go up the chain of command to the ITF-Afg level;
    2. Commanders at all levels should be encouraged to discuss reporting with their host nation counterparts;
    3. The ITF Commander is responsible for informing both the host nation and the GoC (Ambassador or assigned DFAIT rep) of the report.
  6. Application of professional codes of ethics for specialist officers (lawyers, medical, chaplain and military police) on operations should be addressed with the CF Code of Conduct.
  7. The Code of Conduct should address moral and ethical issues, in addition to legal requirements.
  8. Confirm if JAG should be the author of this manual. The Board recommends CDA, with JAG, SJS, and ECS assistance.

1.50 The following recommendations were made with regards to the CF Use of Force Manual:

  1. The serious crime definition should be amended to read sexual assault, including any sex act with a minor.
  2. The entire manual, but particularly the obligatory reporting requirement, should be harmonized with the CF Code of Conduct.
  3. CF expectations for action with regards to use of force should be addressed.
  4. Direction on the responsibilities for operational interpretation of the ROE should be included, as well as the requirement to commit issued interpretations to writing.
  5. Moral and ethical issues regarding the Use of Force should be addressed in the manual.
  6. Direction on responsibilities for the training of ROE should be included in the manual.

1.51 The following recommendations were made with regards to the CF MH/OSl/PTSD treatment programme:

  1. The Board prepared a draft paper outlining the CF OSl/PTSD treatment programme as it was understood by the Board. The CF should review and update this document and then use it to assist and train CF members, the chain of command, CF medical system and the CF administrative system on their roles within the treatment process.
  2. The CF should review and clarify the terminology surrounding MH/OSI and PTSD issues.
  3. The CF should undertake a 100 percent file review of all CF medical files to build a statistical baseline of the MH/OSl/PTSD situation within the CF. This is an essential first step in understanding the scope of the problem in the CF and is required to confirm if the CF treatment system is working.
  4. Except in the rare cases of true psychosis, the CF should hold all members suffering from MH/OSI/PTSD disorders fully accountable for their actions in both the disciplinary and administrative processes.
  5. The CF should eliminate sick leave and institute a process of Medical Recovery Duty (MRD) as proposed by the Board.
  6. The timing of post-deployment MH screening should be reviewed; it is recommended that it follow disembarkation leave. The post-deployment screening form should be tied to HRMS, with warning flags, to ensure it follows the member upon relocation and is completed.
  7. In the OSI/PTSD treatment process, the Base Surgeon should be appointed as the arbitrator of treatment programmes within the CF medical system and as the primary contact between the local chain of command and the medical system.
  8. DGHS should review the existing MH/OSI/PTSD briefs to ensure there is a full understanding of the CF treatment process, the role of the chain of command, and privacy issues, and to improve the overall understanding of the role that next of kin can play in this process.

1.52 The Board recommended the following, with regards to the public release of this BOI report:

  1. Because of the international sensitivity of this report, a CDS, PCO, and DFAIT committee should be formed to review and decisions on the release of all or part of this report.
  2. Because the allegations were made publicly, there should be a public report and the Board prepared a draft for consideration.
  3. There is a great deal of sensitive information in this report. Therefore, any release should be preceded by a full review under the Privacy Act, Access to Information, and Security of Information Act.


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