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Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act

The Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act[1] (CAHWCA) is a statute of the Parliament of Canada. The Act implements Canada's obligations under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. In passing the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act on 24 June 2000 and having royal assent given on 29 June 2000, Canada became the first country in the world to incorporate the obligations of the Rome Statute into its domestic laws.[2] It replaced earlier 1987 legislation targeting Nazi war criminals passed in the immediate wake of the Deschênes Commission.[3]

Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act
An Act respecting genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes and to implement the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
CitationS.C. 2000, c. 24
Enacted byParliament of Canada
Assented to29 June 2000
Commenced23 October 2000
Bill citationBill C-19, 36th Parliament, 2nd Session
Introduced byThe Hon. Lloyd Axworthy, Minister of Foreign Affairs
ss. 9, 27, 28, 29, 31 repealed by S.C. 2001, c. 32, s. 59; s. 43 repealed by S.C. 2001, c. 34.



Like the Rome Statute, the CAHWCA criminalizes genocide, crimes against humanity, and a variety of war crimes. A person in Canada may be prosecuted for these offences even if the acts were committed outside of Canadian territory. However, the Act stipulates that no prosecution for these crimes can be proceeded without the personal consent in writing of the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General. In order to fully implement the Rome Statute, the CAHWCA amended the Criminal Code, the Extradition Act, and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act.


On 19 October 2005, Désiré Munyaneza, a Rwandan immigrant living in Toronto, became the first person arrested and charged with an offence under the CAHWCA. Munyaneza was charged with two counts of genocide, two counts of crimes against humanity, and three counts of war crimes for actions allegedly committed in Rwanda in 1994.[4][5]

On 22 May 2009, Munyaneza was convicted of all charges and is the first person to have been convicted under the CAHWCA.[6] On 29 October 2009, Munyaneza was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.[7][8] On 7 May 2014, the Quebec Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed his appeal, thereby affirming his conviction.[9] On 18 December 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada denied his motion for leave to appeal, thus definitively cementing the guilty verdict.[10]

A second Rwandan, Jacques Mungwarere, was charged with "an act of genocide" under the Act on 7 November 2009.[11] The Royal Canadian Mounted Police alleges that he committed this act in the western Rwandan city of Kibuye, and that his case is connected to that of Munyaneza.


  1. ^ Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, S.C. 2000, c. 24.
  2. ^ Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada,
  3. ^ Weiss, Nicholas P. (2012). "Somebody Else's Problem: How the United States and Canada Violate International Law and Fail to Ensure the Prosecution of War Criminals". Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law. 45 (1): 581.
  4. ^ "Toronto man charged with Rwandan war crimes". CBC News. 19 October 2005. Retrieved 22 February 2007.
  5. ^ "No bail for man accused of Rwandan war crimes". CBC News. 27 April 2006. Retrieved 22 February 2007.
  6. ^ "Quebec court convicts Munyaneza of war crimes in Rwanda", CBC News, 22 May 2009.
  7. ^ "Americas | Canada jails Rwandan war criminal". BBC News. 29 October 2009. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  8. ^ "CTV News | Munyaneza handed life sentence for war crimes". 8 May 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  9. ^[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 October 2016. Retrieved 2 February 2016.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Brewster, Murray (7 November 2009). "RCMP charge alleged Rwandan war criminal after 6-year probe". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 8 November 2009.

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