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In 2004, several Canadian residents originally from China filed a civil case in Toronto seeking to hold Jiang Zemin and other Chinese leaders responsible for their torture. One of the plaintiffs was a Canadian citizen at the time of his torture. Although Jiang and the others ignored the lawsuit, a group called the All China Lawyers Association intervened in the case to argue that the defendants are entitled to immunity. The plaintiffs argued that the ACLA is actually controlled by the Chinese government.
CCIJ, together with Amnesty International, intervened in the case to provide the court with a unique perspective on the issues of immunity and accountability for torture. CCIJ explained to the court Canada’s obligations under the Convention Against Torture to provide survivors of torture an opportunity to seek redress.
This duty is to all survivors and not just to people tortured on Canadian soil. CCIJ also described for the court how Canada’s obligations affect the application of the State Immunity Act in torture cases. The court heard arguments on March 29, 2010, about why immunity should not be granted. The court never issued a judgment about the immunity issue as the plaintiffs were unable to continue with the case.
CCIJ was represented pro bono in the case by University of Ottawa law professor Dr. François Larocque.