11 April 2006

New JAG - Newfoundlanders taking over National Defence

National Defence minister Gord O'Connor today announced the appointment of Ken Watkin as the new Judge Advocate General (JAG) for the Canadian Forces and Watkins promotion from colonel to brigadier-general.

Watkin is originally from Newfoundland and Labrador and was called to the bar of that province in 1981. Trained as an infantry officer, Watkin has considerable operational experience as a lawyer.

In the field of operational law, Colonel Watkin served on the J5 legal staff during the 1991 Gulf War and was the legal advisor to the 1993 military/civilian board of inquiry that investigated the Canadian Airborne Regiment battle group in Somalia.

In 1995, he was the legal advisor to the Canadian navy during the turbot dispute with Spain. He has served as a legal advisor to the Canadian contingent commander in IFOR and as a division legal advisor in SFOR [NATO missions in the former Jugoslavia]. Colonel Watkin has advised military commanders on a variety of domestic operations.

Prior to this appointment, Watkin was deputy judge advocate general for operations and for a time served as a visiting fellow at Harvard Law School. His paper on human rights norms in contemporary military operations was printed in the January 2004 number of the American Journal of International Law.


Army Postscript:

If you are in the mess with Brigadier General Watkin, hope he rings the bell.

Otherwise, just celebrate Brigadier General Watkin's appointment by singing a chorus of this favourite tune of JAGs and barristers everywhere.