Minister Anita Anand announced the appointment of Colonel Robin Holman as the next Judge Advocate General (JAG) for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Effective June 28, 2023, he will serve in this role for a term of four years and will be promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General.
As provided at sections 9.1 and 9.2 of the National Defence Act, the JAG is the legal advisor to the Governor General, the Minister of National Defence, the Department of National Defence, and the CAF in all matters relating to military law. The JAG also has the superintendence of the administration of military justice in the CAF.
Col Holman is a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada, (B.Eng.), Queen’s University (LL.B.) and McGill University (LL.M.), and joined the Office of the Judge Advocate General as a legal officer in February 2002. Colonel Holman has served as a military prosecutor, as a deployed legal officer and in a series of leadership roles within the Office of the JAG including Deputy JAG for Military Justice and Deputy JAG for Operational and International Law. He has served as the Acting Judge Advocate General since November 2021.
The appointment of the JAG is a Governor in Council appointment, made on the recommendation of the Minister of National Defence, under section 9 of the National Defence Act. The JAG holds this office for a term of up to four years.
Col Holman succeeds Rear-Admiral Geneviève Bernatchez in the role of JAG. RAdm Bernatchez, who was the first woman to be appointed as the JAG on June 28, 2017, will be retiring having completed 26 years of service as a Regular Force Legal officer.
17344 Robin Holman, RMC Class of 1990 Bio:
Rob Holman is a Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the Deputy Judge Advocate General for Operational and International Law. He joined the CAF in 1986. After initially serving as a pilot, he undertook legal training and joined the Office of the Judge Advocate General upon being called to the bar of Upper Canada (Ontario) in February, 2002. Rob’s practice as a legal officer has been split between military justice and operational law. He served for five years as a trial and appellate military prosecutor and, more recently, as Deputy Judge Advocate General for Military Justice. His operational law experience includes advising on CAF domestic and international operations and within coalition and NATO military headquarters.
Rob is a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada (B.Eng. (Engineering Physics)), Queen’s University (LL.B.) and McGill University (LL.M. in International Air and Space Law). He has logged 2000 hours of flying time in gliders, small civilian aircraft and military jet aircraft. He lives in Ottawa with his wife and their three children.
Previous Military Colleges Connections to the office of the JAG:
Major-General 10468 Jerry S.T. Pitzul (CMR 1975), 1998-2006
Major-General Jerry S.T. Pitzul,, was the Judge-Advocate-General for the Canadian Forces at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario from 1998 to 2006.
Major-General Pitzul has enjoyed a distinguished legal career in the Canadian Forces and the public sector. He has held various appointments within the Office of the Judge-Advocate General, including that of Director of Law/Prosecutions and Appeals where he acted as chief prosecutor for the Canadian Forces. He was later appointed by the Minister of National Defence to the position of Deputy Chief Military Trial Judge where he presided over courts martial across Canada and in various parts of Europe including the former Republic of Yugoslavia.
In 1995, Major-General Pitzul retired from the Canadian Forces and accepted an appointment in Nova Scotia as Director of the Public Prosecution Service and lawful Deputy of the Attorney General where he was responsible for all Crown prosecutions within the province. He subsequently returned to the Canadian Forces in 1998 upon appointment by Order in Council to the position of Judge Advocate General in the rank of Brigadier-General.
Major-General Pitzul has written various publications on military law, including A Handbook for Military Prosecutors. He has also authored several manuals for military judges on trial procedure, substantive criminal law, and evidence.
Major-General Pitzul earned his Bachelor of Administration (BAD) in 1975 from the Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean, Québec. He later earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 1976 and his Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in 1979 at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
In December 2000 Major-General Pitzul was appointed to the Order of Military Merit (Canada) in its highest grade, that of Commander.
Major-General Pitzul was promoted to his present rank effective 8 April 2002 and was reappointed as Judge-Advocate-General of the Canadian Forces for a further four-year term effective 14 April 2002. He has since retired and been replaced by Brigadier-General Ken Watkin.
On 18 October 2002, Major-General Pitzul was appointed Queen’s Counsel by the Province of Nova Scotia.
Brigadier-General 11027 Ken Watkin, (RMC 1976) 2006-2010
Brigadier General Kenneth “Ken” Watkin,(born 1954) is a Canadian lawyer, soldier and jurist. Watkin was Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the Canadian Forces from 2006 to 2010. He is an expert on military law.
He was promoted to brigadier general and appointed JAG effective April 2006, for a four-year term.
In June 2010, the Israeli government appointed Watkin to be one of two international observers serving on an Israeli commission of inquiry looking into the events surrounding an Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara.
Watkin was born in Kingston, Ontario, a non-identical triplet, along with a brother (11026 Kerry Watkin RMC 1976) and sister (Kathy); he also has an older brother (Robert). He and his siblings attended Loyalist Collegiate.
Watkin is a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada (B.A., 1976) and Queen’s University Law School in Kingston, Ontario, where he received Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws degrees. From 2002 to 2003, Watkin was a visiting fellow at the Human Rights Program of Harvard Law School
Watkin served as a Canadian Forces legal officer, starting in 1982, for 24 years prior to his appointment to JAG. He was trial counsel at courts-martial and appellate counsel before the Canadian Court Martial Appeal Court. He worked as legal counsel on several investigations into the 1994 Rwandan genocide, and counselled Canadian naval commanders in Bosnia and during a fisheries dispute with Spain. He has written papers on the topics of human rights, international humanitarian law, and military operational law.
- Appointed to the Order of Military Merit (2002)
- Appointed Queen’s Counsel (Q.C.) (2006)
- Maritime Commander’s Commendation
- 2017 Francis Lieber Prize, American Society of International Law, Best Book on Law and Armed Conflict, Fighting at the Legal Boundaries: The Use of Force in Contemporary Conflict
- 2008 Lieber Society Military Prize, American Society of International Law, for the article “Assessing Proportionality: Moral Complexity and Legal Rules”
Diplômé de la promotion 1990 du CMR nommé nouveau juge-avocat général
La ministre Anita Anand a annoncé la nomination du colonel Robin Holman à titre de nouveau juge-avocat général (JAG) pour les Forces armées canadiennes (FAC). Il servira dans ce rôle à compter du 28 juin 2023 pour un mandat de quatre ans, et il sera promu au grade de brigadier-général.
Tel que précisé aux articles 9.1 et 9.2 de la Loi sur la défense nationale, le JAG agit à titre de conseiller juridique du gouverneur général, du ministre de la Défense nationale, du ministère de la Défense nationale et des FAC pour les questions de droit militaire. Le JAG exerce également son autorité sur tout ce qui touche à l’administration de la justice militaire au sein des FAC.
Le Col Holman est diplômé du Collège militaire royal du Canada (B. Ing.), de l’Université Queen’s (LL.B.) et de l’Université McGill (LL.M.). Il s’est joint au Cabinet du juge-avocat général à titre d’avocat militaire en février 2002. Le Col Holman a servi en tant que procureur militaire et en tant qu’avocat militaire en déploiement, et il a occupé divers postes de direction au sein du Cabinet du JAG, notamment en tant que JAG adjoint dans la justice militaire et JAG adjoint en ce qui concerne le droit opérationnel et international. Il assume les responsabilités de juge-avocat général intérimaire depuis novembre 2021.
Le JAG est nommé par le Gouverneur en conseil, sur recommandation du ministre de la Défense nationale, en vertu de l’article 9 de la Loi sur la défense nationale. Le JAG occupe son poste pour un mandat d’une durée maximale de quatre ans.
Le Col Holman succède à la contre-amirale Geneviève Bernatchez au poste de JAG. La Cam Bernatchez, qui est devenue la première femme à être nommée au poste de JAG le 28 juin 2017, prendra sa retraite après 26 ans de service en tant qu’avocate militaire de la Force régulière.