Profile of D.A. Bellemare
D.A. Bellemare once said:
"It is not easy to be a prosecutor. It is often a lonely journey. It tests character. It requires inner strength and self-confidence. It requires personal integrity and a solid moral compass. It requires humility and willingness, where appropriate, to recognize mistakes and take appropriate steps to correct them. Prosecutors must be passionate about the issues, but compassionate in their approach, always guided by fairness and common sense."
A native of the province of Quebec, Daniel A. Bellemare started his career as a line federal prosecutor in Montreal where he prosecuted mainly drug cases, virtually all of them in the French language, which has been the main language of the courts in that province since the 18th century.
He then moved to Ottawa, Canada’s capital, first to work in criminal law policy for the Canadian Department of Justice, then to head the legal services unit of the Ministry of the Solicitor General, which oversees federal corrections and policing, and finally to take the helm of the Federal Prosecution Service (FPS) as assistant deputy attorney general of Canada on June 1, 1993.
His first years in Ottawa proved a brutal awakening to the young lawyer who essentially possessed only book knowledge of the English language. It did not take long for him, however, to gain oral and writing skills that surpassed those of many native speakers of the language.
The FPS, which D.A. Bellemare has led since 1993 (an all-time record for a prosecution head in Canadian history), is part of the Canadian Department of Justice. As such, it is a national service comprising more than 450 in-house prosecutors as well as 800 prosecution agents from private firms who handle routine cases in areas of the country where the FPS has no office. FPS prosecutors represent the attorney general of Canada in all 10 Canadian provinces and three territories. The FPS has published an extensive deskbook that has been qualified as "one of the best sources of ethical guidance" for prosecutors and criminal law practitioners. It is a public document that can be accessed online.
The role of federal prosecutors in Canada is varied and multi-faceted. In addition to their core prosecution functions,
The public expects prosecutors to participate in community outreach programs, and share their expertise by providing training programs, ranging from training law enforcement officers on the implications of new legislation, to training colleagues in foreign jurisdictions. A prosecutor at the beginning of the 21st century has to be sensitive to diversity issues, aboriginal concerns, diversion, victims’ rights and new sentencing options.
The International Assistance Group (IAG), which is the Canadian Central Authority for Extradition and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, is also part of the FPS in Ottawa.
Throughout his tenure as a prosecution leader, D.A. Bellemare has been a strong proponent of cross-jurisdictional cooperation and he has pushed for operational level dialogue and cooperation between the FPS and provincial prosecution services, and between Canadian prosecutors and prosecutors in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.
Mr. Bellemare is a founding member and vice-president of the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP). He is a long-time friend of NDAA and has tirelessly promoted active cooperation between Canadian and American prosecutors, especially along the Canada-U.S. border. In an article in a previous issue of The Prosecutor magazine, Mr. Bellemare discussed the necessity of international cooperation and the importance of personalizing relationships with foreign counterparts.
His efforts culminated in the joint NDAA Summer Conference "United States and Canada: Partners in Crime-Fighting" held in Vancouver, British Columbia, in July 2004.
He has invited NDAA presidents to FPS Annual Conferences and also facilitated meetings between the NDAA president and executive director and the Canadian provincial and territorial heads of the Prosecutions Committee that he chairs.
The Prosecutions Committee is a national advisory forum on prosecution issues. Committee membership includes the head of prosecutions for each province and the head of the FPS. The committee, which is a great example of sustainable cooperation between federal and provincial prosecution authorities, fulfills the need to address issues that arise from enforcing a common criminal law and procedure for the entire country while addressing the regional disparities caused by Canada’s expansive geography.
Through regular discussions of best practices, the Federal Provincial Territorial (FPT) Heads of Prosecutions have melded into a solid network of colleagues and a trusted source of advice. Therefore, rather than bickering over jurisdiction and cases, provincial prosecution services and the FPS, more often than not, find ways to streamline the prosecution process and increase the consistency of approaches across the country, where appropriate and required by the public interest.
Paul Logli’s report of his trip to St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, is a good example of the kind of cooperation that has emerged from Mr. Bellemare’s leadership. Meetings between American prosecutors from Alaska and their Canadian counterparts from the Yukon, as well as a recent meeting in Quebec City between NDAA members from New England and Quebec prosecutors are but two examples of this active cooperation.
As vice president of the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP), D.A. Bellemare actively promoted the involvement of NDAA on the international scene. In that regard, jointly with the U.S. DOJ, the State Department and the Association of Attorneys General, the NDAA sponsored the 8th IAP Annual Conference in Washington, DC.
D.A. Bellemare is an avid collector who is forever looking for antique furniture (he also enjoys refinishing antique furniture himself), fountain pens, cuff links and police forage caps. His police hat collection is one of the most extensive anywhere and contains dozens of samples from every continent.
The relationship between American and Canadian prosecutors continues to grow. The U.S. and Canada look forward to future work together.
Sources: ndaa.org, Ya Libnan
Tags: Ban, Beirut, Bellemare, Brammertz, Canadian, Hariri, Lebanon, Tribunal