Carleton University funds war crimes: report

A student group at Carleton University has discovered that the university’s pension fund invests in certain companies that contribute to Israeli military operations in the Palestinian territories.

According to the report released by Students Against Israeli Apartheid – Carleton (SAIA – Carleton), this discovery “raises serious concerns regarding the university’s stated commitment to human rights and social justice.”

The report suggests that, as the companies may be involved in “significant violations of international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” Carleton University could be “[complicit] in the commission of crimes under international law.”

“Students are appalled to learn that Carleton is affiliated with companies providing support for illegal military occupation,” said Yafa Jarrar, a member of SAIA – Carleton.

“We thought our university was guided by more than just the balance sheet.”

The report identifies five companies that SAIA – Carleton considers to be involved in supporting the Israeli military: BAE Systems, L-3 Communications, Motorola, Northrop Grumman and Tesco.

As the pension fund’s investment in those five companies amounts to only $2,762,535 out of its $766,194,000 total, which includes approximately 550 companies, the report states that divesting from the companies would not have a significant effect on the fund’s viability.

However, the report does show that the investments in two of the companies, L-3 Communications and Motorola, the largest investments of the five, did in fact increase in value in 2007-08.

“By investing in these firms, not only does Carleton violate its own ethical principles, but it essentially becomes complicit in breaches of international law and human rights violations,” said Trevor Purvis, a professor of law at Carleton.

The report recommended that the Carleton University pension fund should immediately divest of its stock in the five companies mentioned, refrain from investing in any company “involved in violations of international law” and work with the university community to implement a socially responsible investment policy.

Canadian laws breached

  • Geneva Conventions Act
  • The Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act

International laws breached

  • Nuremberg Principles
  • The Fourth Geneva
  • UN Security Council
  • The Rome Statute of the
    International Criminal Court

Companies supporting the Israeli military

BAE Systems, L-3 Communications, Motorola, Northrop Grumman and Tesco