Loading articles...

Lawyer wants criminal investigation into Kamloops residential school

Last Updated Jun 3, 2021 at 12:45 pm MDT

A memorial grows at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on May 28, 2021, after the discovery of the remains of 215 children buried there. (Martin MacMahon/NEWS 1130)

CALGARY – A Calgary lawyer has spearheaded a campaign to launch an international criminal investigation into the bodies of 215 Indigenous children discovered in Kamloops.

Special Counsel Brendan Miller is leading a charge to seek the prosecution of the Vatican and the Government of Canada.

“What has happened to these 215 children constitutes, both domestically and internationally, a crime against humanity. And when that happens it’s not something that just needs to be talked about it needs to be investigated,” he said.

Miller sent a letter to the International Criminal Court urging its chief prosecutor to investigate how the 215 Indigenous children died.

He says documents regarding specifically the Kamloops school and other residential schools in Canada should be handed over to law enforcement so an investigation can begin.

“The Honorable Murray Sinclair has been calling for that for years and the government has not done it.”

RELATED: Canadians can expect more remains to be found at residential school sites: Sinclair

He says while many residential school contributors may be long gone, there can still be a way to hold parties to account.

“With respect to people left to prosecute for the crimes proper, there is probably few. With respect to the cover-up of this matter, which is a crime against humanity in and of itself, there would be. And that needs to be looked into,” he said.

Miller is backed up by 14 other Canadian lawyers from across the country and more litigators are expected to come on board.

He says an investigation by the ICC would encourage Canada and the Vatican to fast-track their own investigations and also hold those responsible for the residential school system accountable.

The letter says the mass grave found at Kamloops is evident of the extermination, apartheid, and persecution of an identifiable group.

It also says Canada may have broken its own war crimes act.

-with files from Joey Chini