This morning, CCLA will intervene in the Supreme Court of Canada in the case of Rachidi Ekanza Ezokola v Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. The case concerns the proper application of the Article 1F(A) exclusion clause of the UN 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which is incorporated into Canadian law through the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Article 1F(A) denies refugee protection to an individual where “there are serious reasons for considering” the individual has committed war crimes or crimes against humanity. The issue is how to apply this clause when the individual did not directly himself commit these crimes, but was employed by a government that did commit such crimes.
CCLA will argue that presumptions of individual responsibility drawn from membership or employment in a group are wrong — rather, we will argue, individualized assessment that considers whether the material elements of the crime are satisfied, must be applied by the decision-maker. Further, CCLA will argue that a standard of proof that looks for clear, credible and convincing evidence of individual responsibility is required, and that section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms mandates CCLA’s approach in order to ensure compliance with the principles of fundamental justice in the face of serious consequences to the individual’s interests at stake. CCLA will submit international law and jurisprudence that supports our argument.