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Is it a Crime to be a Member of a Terrorist Organization?

It is not a crime to be a member of a terrorist organization, however there are terrorism criminal offences in the Criminal Code.

It is not a crime to be a member of a terrorist organization, however there are terrorism criminal offences in the Criminal Code.

 

  • Motivated by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States as of December 18, 2001, section 83.05 of the Canadian Criminal Code allowed the Governor in Council to maintain a list of entities that have been deemed to be engaged in terrorism, facilitating it, or acting on behalf of such an entity.
  • Prior to being made public these entities are reviewed by the Minister and the Chief Justice of the Federal Court in an effort to ensure their suitability to be listed, before they are published in the Canadian Gazette and on the website of Public Safety Canada.
  • The listing of entities is intended by the Government to be a public means of identifying a group or individual as being associated with terrorism.
  • An entity includes a person, group, trust, partnership or fund, or an unincorporated association or organization that has been deemed to be associated with terrorism.
  • The Anti-Terrorism Act, enacted after September 11, 2001 allows the Government of Canada to create a list of entities.
  • It is not a crime to be listed and you cannot be charged with a criminal offence simply for being on the list or being a associated with a group or individual on the list
  • However the entity’s civil liberties can be suspended and their property can be the subject of seizure/restraint and/or forfeiture.
  • As well financial institutions have to abide by reporting requirements with respect to an entity’s property and must not allow those entities to access the property.
  • These institutions may not deal or otherwise dispose of the property.
  • It is a criminal offence to knowingly participate in or contribute to, directly or indirectly, any activity of a terrorist group.
  • This participation is only a criminal offence if its purpose is to enhance the ability of any terrorist group to facilitate or carry out a terrorist activity.

 

What are Terrorism Criminal Offences in the Criminal Code?

  • Financing of Terrorism

Marginal note: Providing or collecting property for certain activities

  • 83.02 Every one who, directly or indirectly, wilfully and without lawful justification or excuse, provides or collects property intending that it be used or knowing that it will be used, in whole or in part, in order to carry out

(a) an act or omission that constitutes an offence referred to in subparagraphs (a)(i) to (ix) of the definition of terrorist activity in subsection 83.01(1), or

(b) any other act or omission intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to a civilian or to any other person not taking an active part in the hostilities in a situation of armed conflict, if the purpose of that act or omission, by its nature or context, is to intimidate the public, or to compel a government or an international organization to do or refrain from doing any act,

is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years.

  •  83.03 Every one who, directly or indirectly, collects property, provides or invites a person to provide, or makes available property or financial or other related services

(a) intending that they be used, or knowing that they will be used, in whole or in part, for the purpose of facilitating or carrying out any terrorist activity, or for the purpose of benefiting any person who is facilitating or carrying out such an activity, or

(b) knowing that, in whole or part, they will be used by or will benefit a terrorist group,

is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years.

 

  • 83.04 Every one who

(a) uses property, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, for the purpose of facilitating or carrying out a terrorist activity, or

(b) possesses property intending that it be used or knowing that it will be used, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, for the purpose of facilitating or carrying out a terrorist activity,

is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years.

 

  • Participating, Facilitating, Instructing and Harbouring

Marginal note:Participation in activity of terrorist group

  • 83.18 (1) Every one who knowingly participates in or contributes to, directly or indirectly, any activity of a terrorist group for the purpose of enhancing the ability of any terrorist group to facilitate or carry out a terrorist activity is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.

Marginal note:Prosecution

(2) An offence may be committed under subsection (1) whether or not

(a) a terrorist group actually facilitates or carries out a terrorist activity;

(b) the participation or contribution of the accused actually enhances the ability of a terrorist group to facilitate or carry out a terrorist activity; or

(c) the accused knows the specific nature of any terrorist activity that may be facilitated or carried out by a terrorist group.

Marginal note:Meaning of participating or contributing

(3) Participating in or contributing to an activity of a terrorist group includes

(a) providing, receiving or recruiting a person to receive training;

(b) providing or offering to provide a skill or an expertise for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a terrorist group;

(c) recruiting a person in order to facilitate or commit

(i) a terrorism offence, or

(ii) an act or omission outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would be a terrorism offence;

(d) entering or remaining in any country for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with a terrorist group; and

(e) making oneself, in response to instructions from any of the persons who constitute a terrorist group, available to facilitate or commit

(i) a terrorism offence, or

(ii) an act or omission outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would be a terrorism offence.

Marginal note:Factors

(4) In determining whether an accused participates in or contributes to any activity of a terrorist group, the court may consider, among other factors, whether the accused

(a) uses a name, word, symbol or other representation that identifies, or is associated with, the terrorist group;

(b) frequently associates with any of the persons who constitute the terrorist group;

(c) receives any benefit from the terrorist group; or

(d) repeatedly engages in activities at the instruction of any of the persons who constitute the terrorist group.

 

  • Hoax Regarding Terrorist Activity

Marginal note:Hoax — terrorist activity

  • 83.231 (1) Every one commits an offence who, without lawful excuse and with intent to cause any person to fear death, bodily harm, substantial damage to property or serious interference with the lawful use or operation of property,

(a) conveys or causes or procures to be conveyed information that, in all the circumstances, is likely to cause a reasonable apprehension that terrorist activity is occurring or will occur, without believing the information to be true; or

(b) commits an act that, in all the circumstances, is likely to cause a reasonable apprehension that terrorist activity is occurring or will occur, without believing that such activity is occurring or will occur.

Marginal note:Punishment

(2) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.

Marginal note:Causing bodily harm

(3) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) and thereby causes bodily harm to any other person is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding eighteen months.

Marginal note:Causing death

(4) Every one who commits an offence under subsection (1) and thereby causes the death of any other person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life.

2004, c. 15, s. 32.

Proceedings and Aggravated Punishment

Marginal note:Attorney General’s consent

  • 83.24 Proceedings in respect of a terrorism offence or an offence under section 83.12 shall not be commenced without the consent of the Attorney General.

2001, c. 41, s. 4.

Marginal note:Jurisdiction

  • 83.25 (1) Where a person is alleged to have committed a terrorism offence or an offence under section 83.12, proceedings in respect of that offence may, whether or not that person is in Canada, be commenced at the instance of the Government of Canada and conducted by the Attorney General of Canada or counsel acting on his or her behalf in any territorial division in Canada, if the offence is alleged to have occurred outside the province in which the proceedings are commenced, whether or not proceedings have previously been commenced elsewhere in Canada.

Marginal note:Trial and punishment

(2) An accused may be tried and punished in respect of an offence referred to in subsection (1) in the same manner as if the offence had been committed in the territorial division where the proceeding is conducted.

 

1 Nov 2016

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