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1st Session, 42nd Parliament,
64-65 Elizabeth II, 2015-2016
HOUSE OF COMMONS OF CANADA
An Act to amend the Criminal Code (inflicting torture)
Whereas acts of torture — which aim to rob individuals of their liberty through abhorrent violence and humiliation — have no place in a free, open and democratic society;
Whereas Article 5 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”;
Whereas section 269.1 of the Criminal Code provides for the offence of torture as the intentional inflicting of severe physical or mental pain by a state official — a peace officer, a public officer or a member of the Canadian Forces — or by an individual acting with the consent or acquiescence of such an official, for the purpose of obtaining information, as a form of punishment, intimidation or coercion, or for a reason based on discrimination of any kind;
Whereas the United Nations Committee against Torture has called on states to recognize and address acts of torture that are carried out in the private realm;
Whereas acts that would otherwise be considered to be torture that are perpetrated by private individuals acting of their own volition and outside state authority are not punishable under section 269.1 and are instead typically considered to constitute the offence of aggravated assault under section 268 of the Criminal Code;
Whereas torture includes acts of brutality that may be life-threatening and may far exceed what might normally be included within the offence of aggravated assault, which carries a maximum punishment of 14 years of imprisonment;
And whereas a maximum punishment of life imprisonment would better reflect the harm that is caused to a victim of torture;
R.S., c. C-46
Now, therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:
1 (1) Subsection 7(3) of the Criminal Code is amended by replacing the portion before paragraph (a) with the following:
Offence against internationally protected person
(3) Despite anything in this Act or any other Act, everyone who, outside Canada, commits an act or omission against the person of an internationally protected person or against any property referred to in section 431 used by that person that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an offence against any of sections 235, 236, 266, 267, 268, 268.1, 269, 269.1, 271, 272, 273, 279, 279.1, 280 to 283, 424 and 431 is deemed to commit that act or omission in Canada if
(2) Subsection 7(3.71) of the Act is amended by replacing the portion before paragraph (a) with the following:
Offence against United Nations or associated personnel
(3.71) Despite anything in this Act or any other Act, everyone who, outside Canada, commits an act or omission against a member of United Nations personnel or associated personnel or against property referred to in section 431.1 that, if committed in Canada, would constitute an offence against, a conspiracy or an attempt to commit an offence against, or being an accessory after the fact or counselling in relation to an offence against, section 235, 236, 266, 267, 268, 268.1, 269, 269.1, 271, 272, 273, 279, 279.1, 424.1 or 431.1 is deemed to commit that act or omission in Canada if
2 The Act is amended by adding the following after section 268:
268.1 (1) Every person who inflicts torture on any other person for the purpose of intimidating or coercing that person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.
Definition of torture
(2) In this section, torture means any act or omission by which severe and prolonged pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally and repeatedly inflicted on a person.
(3) For the purposes of this section, a person is considered to have experienced severe and prolonged mental pain and suffering only if they have suffered a mental injury leading to a visibly evident and significant change in intellectual capability.
3 Sections 424 and 424.1 of the Act are replaced by the following:
Threat against internationally protected person
424 Everyone who threatens to commit an offence under section 235, 236, 266, 267, 268, 268.1, 269, 269.1, 271, 272, 273, 279 or 279.1 against an internationally protected person or who threatens to commit an offence under section 431 is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years.
Threat against United Nations or associated personnel
424.1 Everyone who, with intent to compel any person, group of persons, state or any international or intergovernmental organization to do or refrain from doing any act, threatens to commit an offence under section 235, 236, 266, 267, 268, 268.1, 269, 269.1, 271, 272, 273, 279 or 279.1 against a member of United Nations personnel or associated personnel or threatens to commit an offence under section 431.1 is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than ten years.
4 The definition designated offence in section 752 of the Act is amended by adding the following after subparagraph (b)(xiv):
(xiv.1) section 268.1 (inflicting torture)
Published under authority of the Speaker of the House of Commons