Legal Issues

Arrest warrant for Canadian soldier

A Canadian Army trooper faces charges of aggravated sexual assault and forcible confinement following an Ontario court’s hearing in a private prosecution. The accuser’s lawyer said the civil action was initiated after the Department of National Defence declined to prosecute after an investigation in 2018. A warrant has been issued for Corporal Oleksii Silin, based at CFB Gagetown. [node:read-more:link]

Journalists guilty of intelligence breach

A court in Helsinki today found two Finnish journalists from a major daily newspaper guilty of revealing classified defence intelligence information in 2017. The lead writer was fined for divulging what was described as publicly-available 10-year-old information of the approximate location and mission of Finnish defence forces, but his colleague was not sentenced. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. Army reservist spied for China

A former U.S. Army reservist has been sentenced by a Chicago court to eight years in prison for spying for China by collecting information on aerospace scientists and engineers. Ji Chaoqun, 31, enlisted through a program to recruit foreigners who have skills considered vital to the national interest; he was convicted of falsifying answers on a government background form. [node:read-more:link]

Canadians flocking to Ukraine

When Russia invaded Ukraine 11 months ago, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said his country needed fighters, including foreigners. Canadians were among the earliest to heed the call, alone or in groups, and the Ukrainian Foreign Legion said a short while later that they were “one of the most numerous nationalities” in its ranks. Several have died in combat but the federal government says it is not monitoring anyone going to Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

ISIS repatriations a thorny issue

The legal and safety implications of a Federal Court order to the government to repatriate four alleged Canadian members of ISIS are quickly becoming an issue for debate at home. The Ottawa lawyer who represented the men and other Syrian-held captives says the government can prosecute them if they’re held responsible for terrorist activitities but a former CSIS officer says an effective prosecution needs evidence and witnesses in Syria. Moreover, says Phil Gurski, “the supporters of these men and women have portrayed them as victims that need to be rescued.” [node:read-more:link]

Leopard MBTs for Ukraine

Unnamed German government sources say their government, subject to parliamentary debate January 25, is prepared to send Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine. The expected ratification would effectively free Canada and other NATO allies to ship their Leopards as well to bolster the country’s defences. [node:read-more:link]

Ukrainian corruption purge

Several senior Ukrainian officials, including a Deputy Minister of Defence and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s deputy head of office, resigned or were dismissed today over widespread concerns about corruption. Officials have been banned from leaving the country except for authorized business. [node:read-more:link]

Russian asylum seeker arrested in Norway

A former Wagner Group paramilitary commander who claimed asylum in Norway earlier this month has been detained by police under the auspices of immigration law, apparently for his own safety. Andrey Medvedev, 26, crossed into Norway from Russia two weeks ago and his lawyer said January 23 that he was detained because “police concluded his situation was very dangerous.” [node:read-more:link]

Sweden’s NATO status scuppered?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said January 23 that he will not support NATO membership for Sweden. He was reacting to Kurdish expatriates’ protests in Sweden which included the burning of a Quran by a far-right politician from a Danish political party. “It is clear that those who caused such a disgrace in front of our country's embassy can no longer expect any benevolence from us regarding their application,” Erdoğan said. [node:read-more:link]

No military discipline for Fortin

Seven weeks after a Quebec civil court found Major-General Dany Fortin not guilty of sexual assault more than three decades ago, the Department of National Defence has effectively echoed that ruling, saying January 23 that there would be no administrative action. But Fortin said his professional situation remains unresolved and he is continuing with an official complaint about how Military Police handled his case. [node:read-more:link]

Former CAF reservist guilty of fraud

Micheline Pollock, a former Canadian Armed Forces reservist who pled guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Army and Navy in connection with her Dubai-headquartered company’s construction projects in Africa, has been sentenced to time served and ordered to pay nearly $7.2 million in restitution. Arrested in Tbilisi, Georgia, in September 2020, she was extradited almost immediately and, after her grand jury indictment, was held pending trial. [node:read-more:link]

Germany open to tank re-exports

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said January 22 that her government will not object if Poland decides to send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. However, she said, Poland had not formally requested approval. “If we were asked, we would not stand in the way,” she said, acknowledging “how important these tanks are” to Ukraine. “This is why we are discussing this now with our partners.” [node:read-more:link]

Poland willing to ship tanks

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki reiterated today that his government is willing to ship Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine without authorization by Germany, which has legal power to veto re-exports. “We will ask for such permission, but this is an issue of secondary importance,” he said. [node:read-more:link]

Wagner Group a “criminal organization”

The U.S. plans to designate the Wagner Group, the global mercenary force owned by an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as a “transnational criminal organisation” with some 50,000 members fighting in Ukraine. A national security spokesman says Wagner is “committing atrocities and human rights abuses in Ukraine and elsewhere.” [node:read-more:link]

Domestic space launches planned

The federal government hopes to have domestic commercial space launch facilities within the next three years. “For many years, Canadian satellites have launched from sites in other countries,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra explained January 20, adding that the government would begin developing the regulatory requirements, safety standards and licensing conditions. He also said the government is ready to approve private-sector launches in the interim on a case-by-case basis. [node:read-more:link]

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