January 25, 2018 – Commodore Geneviève Bernatchez, Judge Advocate General today issued the following statement:
“Earlier today, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service laid charges against Chief Military Judge (Colonel Mario Dutil).
“Today’s announcement serves to remind us that, as in the civilian justice system, no one is above the law. All Canadian Armed Forces members, regardless of their rank or position, remain subject to the Code of Service Discipline.
“As in all cases, the subject of charges is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
“I will not comment on the specifics of this case, which is not yet before the court.
“I will however, comment on the capacity of our military justice system to handle this type of unprecedented situation.
“As the Judge Advocate General for the Canadian Armed Forces, it is my duty to oversee the administration of military justice. I can assure you that the military justice system has the appropriate mechanisms to deal with this exceptional situation, fairly and in accordance with the law.
“The military justice system is an important part of the Canadian legal system and is specifically recognized in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to which it is subject.
“We ask the women and men of our Armed Forces to conduct activities with discipline and effectiveness, and to deploy around the globe at a moment’s notice. Parliament and the Supreme Court have consistently recognized that there is a need for separate tribunals to enforce special disciplinary standards in the military.
“Today’s announcement of charges by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service against the Chief Military Judge presents unique challenges for the Canadian military justice system. As the Judge Advocate General in charge of overseeing this system, I am fully confident that we have the processes in place to deal with the current circumstances fairly, and in accordance with the law.
“I have every confidence that all actors of the military justice system will continue to perform their duties in a fair, independent and impartial manner. And as in the civilian system, the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”