NCCM at the Supreme Court of Canada in Harkat case

The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) is pleased to announce that the organization is an intervener in a major case – Mohamed Harkat v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration et al – before the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC).

In July 2013, the SCC granted the NCCM intervener status in the Harkat case, along with other interested parties. Interveners are allowed to submit written arguments as well present oral arguments to the Court during the case’s hearing.

The Harkat case involves the controversial « security certificate » system under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act which has been used in the past to detain several non-Canadian Muslim men indefinitely without charges and without due process. The original security certificate regime was struck down by the SCC in 2007. Thereafter, the federal government devised a new security certificate system which is now being challenged before the Court.

Led by lawyers Khalid Elgazzar (NCCM Board Vice-Chair), Faisal Bhabha (Co-Counsel) and Mihad Fahmy (Chair of the NCCM Human Rights Committee), the organization submitted written arguments in September 2013 on the Harkat case.

NCCM legal counsel Faisal Bhabha presented oral arguments to the Court at the case’s hearing on October 10, 2013. The NCCM argued that security certificates still violate core civil liberties and severely undermine Canada’s legal tradition of due process. The NCCM urged the Court, in the absence of a fair and meaningful judicial process for an accused to challenge ‘secret evidence’, to once again strike down the security certificate system as unconstitutional.

This is not the first time the NCCM has intervened before the Supreme Court of Canada. In 2012, the NCCM was an intervener in the R. v. N.S. case. Previously, the NCCM also intervened in the case of Adil Charkaoui v. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration on the issue of security certificates.