Canada’s obligations under the Genocide Convention at issue as the CANSEC arms show comes to Ottawa, May 29-30

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: A #CeasefireNow march passes the US Embassy in Ottawa; January 28, 2024.

The CANSEC weapons show, that bills itself as “Canada’s leading defence, security & emerging technology event”, will take place on May 29-30 in Ottawa.

The organizing body, the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI), highlights that it “welcomes more than 12,000+ registrants from all over the world”, that “74% of attendees have purchasing power”, that there will be “50+ international delegations”, and that “600+ VIPS, generals, top military & government officials” will be present.

Among the exhibitors this year will be the Canadian Commercial Corporation (that helps “forge commercial contracts between Canadian businesses and foreign governments”) and the Global Affairs Canada Trade Commissioner Service (that “helps Canadian companies and organizations of all sizes grow and operate internationally”). The Trade Commissioner Service continues to note on its website that “Defence and Security” is one of the sectors that offers “the greatest opportunities for Canadian companies” in Israel.

The list of exhibitors also notes “Israel Representatives”.

Elbit Systems at CANSEC

The exhibitors this year at CANSEC will also include Elbit Systems, the largest Israeli weapons company with $4.75 billion in sales in 2021.

Elbit supplies hundreds of products to Israel’s Defence Ministry, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), artillery, munitions and electronic warfare systems.

In the third-quarter of 2023, Elbit said it earned $1.65 per diluted share excluding one-time items, up from $1.40 per share a year earlier.

In that third-quarter report on November 28, 2023, Elbit noted: “Since the beginning of the Swords of Iron War, Elbit Systems has experienced a considerable increased demand for its solutions from the IMOD compared to the routine levels of demand.”

Elbit’s fourth-quarter report is expected later next month.

The AFSC Action Center on Corporate Accountability has specified that the Elbit-made weapons now being used against Palestinians in Gaza include MPR 500 multi-purpose bombs (that contain 26,000 controlled fragments for “high kill probability”), 155mm artillery shells, Hermes 450 and 900 multi-payload unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Skylark tactical surveillance drones, and Head-Mounted Display helmet technology used by the pilots of fighter jets and helicopters as well as the crews of battle tanks.

Photo: It is believed that a bullet manufactured by the Elbit Systems’ subsidiary IMI killed Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on May 11, 2022.

Twelve more companies

In the AFSC’s list of companies profiting from Israel’s 2023-2024 attacks on Gaza, those that will also be present at CANSEC include the American transnationals The Boeing Company, Colt, General Dynamics, L3 Harris Technologies, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin, Palantir Technologies and Raytheon (now RTX); British transnationals BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce; and the German transnationals Rheinmetall and ThyssenKrupp.

These weapons companies have sold to the Israeli military M109 howitzer mobile artillery systems (BAE), Apache AH-64 attack helicopters (Boeing), M16 assault rifles (Colt’s), MK-80 bombs (General Dynamics), AGM-114 Hellfire missiles (Lockheed Martin), and 120mm tank ammunition shells (Rheinmetall).

International Court of Justice ruling

Last month, the International Court of Justice found that it is “plausible” that Israel has committed acts that violate the Genocide Convention.

The Court’s ruling can be read in full here.

Three Toronto-based law professors have commented: “Properly understood, the order should dramatically alter both the foreign and domestic policy decisions of Israel’s allies, including Canada and the United States.”

“The obligation to prevent genocide, combined with the court’s finding of a serious risk of genocide, means that all parties to the Genocide Convention [ratified by Canada in 1952] must refrain from taking steps that would actively frustrate the effective implementation of the court’s order.”

They add: “Because the ICJ found a serious risk of genocide in Gaza, continuing to export arms to Israel would be illegal [under the Export and Import Permits Act where Canada’s ascension to the Arms Trade Treaty is reflected]. It would also be flagrantly inconsistent with Canada’s obligation to prevent genocide, and could expose Canada and Canadian officials to liability for participation in genocide.”

What’s next?

It remains to be seen what will be the intersection between the CANSEC arms show and the ICJ ruling, the calls from Project Ploughshares, Oxfam Canada and others to stop arms sales to Israel, Mayor Mark Sutcliffe who has already welcomed CANSEC 2024 to Ottawa “on behalf of Members of Ottawa City Council”, and Ottawa By-law and Regulatory Services, backed by Ottawa Police Services, that have ticketed at least 12 people nearly $10,000 for using megaphones at #CeasefireNow mobilizations.

It does appear though that Israeli attacks will still be happening when CANSEC takes place in a little less than four months from now.

While at least 27,238 Palestinians have been killed and 66,452 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza over the past 122 days, it has been reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said just two weeks ago that he anticipates the war to continue into 2025, well past this coming CANSEC 2024.

We continue to monitor this situation.

SAVE THE DATE: May 29-30 in Ottawa.

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