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Legal Brief: Ezokola v. Canada

    On 17 January 2013, Ezokola v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) was heard by the Supreme Court of Canada. Amnesty International Canada was an intervener, represented by Michael Bossin, Laïla Demirdache, and Chantal Tie, with assistance from articling student Anna Shea. This case concerns who can qualify as a refugee under international law. More specifically, the case deals with one of the Refugee Convention’s exclusion clauses (Article 1F(a)), which states that people who have committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity are excluded from the protection of the Convention, and therefore cannot claim refugee status. Currently, Canadian law permits the exclusion of people who are not even remotely connected with the commission of these types of offenses. Michael Bossin presented Amnesty International’s submissions to the Supreme Court, arguing persuasively in favour of the need for a clear and coherent test for exclusion from refugee status, grounded in the human rights principles that underlie the Refugee Convention. As Mr. Bossin affirmed in his oral submissions, “Excluding persons whose conduct does not constitute a crime under international law – indeed could not be considered a crime under international law – does not advance the cause of justice. On the contrary, it undermines the human rights object and purpose of the Refugee Convention to provide protection for those persons with a well-founded fear of persecution.”

    You can watch Michael Bossin’s intervention at the Supreme Court here (begin at 167.58 minutes)

    Amnesty Canada intervenes in a Supreme Court Case looking at who qualifies as a refugee under international law.
    Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 11:59