Constitution

Constitution, Rules, and Regulations of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity

December 2006

1. NAME

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity is hereby created. Its purpose, composition and operation shall be explained in detail in the present statutes. It will from hereon be referred to as the “Genocide Prevention Group.”

2. DEFINITIONS

The Genocide Prevention Group has agreed to and shall employ the definition of “genocide” and “crimes against humanity” contained in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which are:

1.      “genocide” means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a)          Killing members of the group;

(b)         Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c)          Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d)         Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e)          Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

2.       “crimes against humanity” means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

(a)          Murder;

(b)         Extermination;

(c)          Enslavement;

(d)         Deportation or forcible transfer of population;

(e)          Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;

(f)          Torture;

(g)         Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;

(h)         Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;

(i)           Enforced disappearance of persons;

(j)           The crime of apartheid;

(k)         Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.

3. PURPOSE

The Genocide Prevention Group shall:

1)                  ensure that the government of Canada does all that it can to prevent, and protect civilian populations from, genocide, crimes against humanity, and the incitement to such crimes in accordance with the principle of the “responsibility to protect” as outlined in the Outcome Document of the High-level Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2005;

2)                  increase the flow of information and analysis to Parliamentarians about genocide and crimes against humanity;

3)                  promote understanding of the importance of long-term approaches to genocide prevention; and

4)                  engage in communication and collaboration with like-minded bodies in civil society and other Parliaments in order to:

a.       exchange information about strategies for the prevention of genocide and crimes against humanity;

b.      work in conjunction with the United Nations Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide, the International Criminal Court, and other organizations working in the field of genocide prevention and post conflict justice; and

c.       create international channels for the timely exchange of information regarding emerging crises that have a potentially genocidal component.

4. MEMBERSHIP

The Genocide Prevention Group shall be composed of members of the Senate and the House of Commons who have expressed the intention of joining the Group and have paid the annual dues of forty dollars per member ($40).

5. WORKING YEAR

The working year of the Genocide Prevention Group shall correspond to the fiscal year, that is, April 1 to March 31.

6. GENOCIDE PREVENTION GROUP

The Group shall function through the General Assembly and the Executive Committee.

7. GENERAL ASSEMBLY

The General Assembly of the Genocide Prevention Group shall meet at least once every fiscal year. The Executive Committee, or a third of the members of the Genocide Prevention Group, may call a meeting of the General Assembly upon giving one week’s notice in writing to all members.

8. FUNCTIONS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

The functions of the General Assembly shall be the following:

a)      to elect the members of the Executive Committee;

b)      to debate and ratify draft programs proposed by the Executive Committee;

c)      to debate and ratify financial and administrative reports prepared by the Genocide Prevention Group;

d)     to amend, where necessary, the Group statutes by a two-third majority vote of the members present;

e)      to make suggestions and adopt resolutions in accordance with the purpose of the Group;

f)       to dissolve the Group, if necessary, by a two-third majority of the members present.

9. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

a)      The Executive Committee has five (5) members, elected for the life of the Parliament.

b)      The members consist of:

a.       one (1) Chair,

b.      four (4) Vice-Chairs, one (1) from each officially recognized party in Parliament,

c)      The outgoing Chair shall be an ex-officio member of the executive if he or she remains a member of the Genocide Prevention Group;

d)     The Speakers of Senate and the House of Commons shall be ex officio honourary chairs of the Genocide Prevention Group;

e)      Calling of meetings: The Chair or Vice-Chairs may call a meeting of the Executive;

f)       Quorum: the presence of three (3) Executive Committee members shall constitute a quorum.

g)      Should a party not wish to sit on the Executive, the Vice-Chair position allocated to that party will go unfilled.

10. NOMINATING COMMITTEE

a)      At the end of the Executive’s term, the Chair and the Vice-Chairs of the outgoing Executive shall form a Nominations Committee;

b)      The Nominations Committee shall invite Group members to stand for the Executive Committee and shall submit a list of candidates to the General Assembly which will elect members of the Executive Committee. If the number of candidates is not sufficient to fill all positions, the General Assembly shall fill these positions from among its members. If an election is necessary, votes shall be conducted through secret ballots.

11. FUNCTIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

a)      Day-to-day administration: To ensure management of the Group by directing activities and implementing the decisions of the General Assembly;

b)      Planning: To establish the agenda for Group meetings in accordance with the Group’s aims;

c)      Meetings: To convene and ensure the smooth running of Group meetings;

d)     Liaison: To maintain relations with Canadian stakeholders and counterparts in other Parliaments;

e)      Organization: To prepare and coordinate the activities of the All-Party Genocide Prevention Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity;

f)       Replacement: In case of death, inability to act, loss of parliamentary status or resignation of an Executive Committee member, to appoint a replacement who shall remain in office until the expiration of his/her predecessor’s term;

g)      Budget:

i.      To establish the budget needed to carry out the annual program of the Group

ii.      To manage the budget, as approved by the General Assembly;

h)      Activity and financial reports: To table activity and financial reports at least once every working year before the General Assembly for discussion and approval;

i)        To inform Parliament of the Group activities in accordance with prevailing practices;

j)        The Executive Committee shall take any other initiative in accordance with the Group’s aims.

12. DISSOLUTION OF PARLIAMENT

In the event of a dissolution of Parliament, the Executive Committee in office at that time shall carry on the affairs of the Genocide Prevention Group until a new Executive Committee is elected as soon as practicable after a general election.

13. FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT

a)      The signing officer of the Genocide Prevention Group shall be the Chair or, in his or her absence or impossibility to act, one other parliamentarian assigned by the Executive Committee.

b)      A financial statement of the Genocide Prevention Group shall be presented to the Executive Committee at its regular meetings.

14. DELEGATE SELECTION PROCEDURE

a)      The membership shall be notified of each opportunity to represent the Genocide Prevention Group at any conference, convention, parliamentary or other meeting in Canada or abroad.

b)      Members shall be provided with an application form and the deadline for submission and will be selected according to the procedure contained in paragraph 14 (e).

c)      The Executive Committee shall decide the allocation of available places amongst recognized Parties on the basis of 30 % to the Senate and 70 % to the House of Commons and with regard to party representation in each House.

d)     The Chair or one or more of the Vice-Chairs shall lead the delegation.

e)      The Executive Secretary shall make a list of applicants and shall submit it to the Whips of all parties.

f)       All members shall be advised of the delegates and alternates chosen.

g)      All delegates and alternates selected shall be advised that, as a condition of participation, they must agree to take a full part in briefings and give the time required to prepare themselves to make a contribution at the meetings.