Key and other war resisters were barred from ever presenting their actual cases to the IRB, as the Board ruled that the illegality of the invasion of Iraq was not relevant. Yet that illegality was the basis of Key's objection to service! Key's lawyer, Jeffry House, has always argued that the resisters were forced to face the IRB with one hand figuratively tied behind their backs.
Now Key has won an appeal!
I have a good idea what this means for all the resisters, but I will hold off until I get hard info from the Campaign. Stay tuned. You can also look for updates here.
House will be on CBC Newsworld at 4:00 Toronto time.
Update. From the CBC (wire service story - posted in several places online).
The Federal Court has ordered Canada's refugee board to take another look at an American deserter's failed refugee claim.
In a ruling issued Friday, the court found the board had made a mistake in turning down Joshua Key's bid for asylum.
The court found that someone who refuses to take part in military action which "systematically degrades, abuses or humiliates" combatants or non-combatants might qualify as a refugee.
The court also determined that the board should hear evidence on whether deserters like Key can rely on the American government to treat them fairly.
Key served as a combat engineer for eight months in 2003 in Iraq, where he says he was involved in, or witnessed, soldiers committing savage acts against civilians.
While on leave in November 2003, the deeply troubled father of four from Oklahoma decided he could not return to Iraq and fled to Canada.
Upperdate. From the Campaign website.
In an extremely important decision released on Friday, July 4th, the Federal Court has ruled that the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) made mistakes in turning down war resister Joshua Key's asylum claim and must relook at his case. The Federal Court decision disagreed with the IRB's view that Key had to have been forced to systematically commit war crimes in order to have a legitimate refugee claim.
Federal Court Justice Robert Barnes argued that "Officially condoned military misconduct falling well short of a war crime may support a claim to refugee protection."
In light of this new ruling, it is more critical than ever that the Minister of Immigration, Diane Finley, immediately cease any removal proceedings already underway against U.S. Iraq war resisters. Canadian people and the Canadian Parliament have come down solidly on the side of the war resisters and want them to be allowed to obtain permanent resident status in Canada. This decision reinforces the need for the Minister to act quickly and implement a provision to allow US war resisters to stay in Canada.