March 19 2014

François Larocque appears before the Supreme Court of Canada in the Kazemi case

OTTAWA, March 19th 2014

François Larocque, who recently joined the Ottawa offices of Power Law, appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada on March 18th, 2014, in the case Estate of the Late Zahra (Ziba) Kazemi, et al v Islamic Republic of Iran, et al (Court File Number 35034).

In this case, the family of a Canadian citizen, who was arrested, sexually assaulted, tortured and then killed by state officials in Iran, brought an action before the Quebec Courts in order to hold the Iranian State civilly liable for these despicable acts.

François Larocque, appearing for the Francophone Section of Amnesty International Canada, argued that the civil claim ought to be justiciable and should not be excluded by the State Immunity Act. François Larocque also argued for a contextual interpretation of the State Immunity Act, that is consistent with the Convention Against Torture and the Civil Code of Québec.

Section 14 of the Convention Against Torture requires Canada to guarantee the right of victims of torture to remedies and to eliminate any barriers to such claims, such as immunity. Section 3136 of the Quebec Civil Code empowers Quebec Courts to act as a forum of necessity in exceptional cases where the parties have no other legal recourse. The intent of the provincial legislature should not be frustrated by a restrictive and anachronistic interpretation of the State Immunity Act.

If the Supreme Court of Canada denies the appeal, it would leave the Kazemi family without any legal recourse, resulting in a complete denial of justice.

For more information on this case, please consult the website of the Supreme Court of Canada: http://www.scc-csc.gc.ca/case-dossier/info/sum-som-eng.aspx?cas=35034 or contact Caroline Etter from Power Law at cetter@powerlaw.ca.