Q and A: CoRMSA v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others – Everything you need to know about the Nyamwasa Case
October 25, 2012
On 29 and 30 October 2012 the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria will hear argument in Consortium for Refugees and Migrants Rights in South Africa (CoRMSA) v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others. CoRMSA, with the support of SALC and legal representation of the Wits Law Clinic, will argue that former Rwandan general and suspected war criminal, Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, is not eligible for refugee status. This Q and A will tell you everything you need to know about the case. For live updates from the Court room follow SALC on twitter @follow_SALC and visit the SALC website for even more information.
September 21, 2012
According to United Nations statistics South Africa accounted for one fifth of the world’s asylum applications, registering a staggering 180 600 applications in 2010 alone, making South Africa the most sought after destination for asylum seekers in the world. Not every one of those persons would have been successful; in fact, if South Africa’s immigration authorities did their job properly, some would have been turned away, the deserving would be allowed to stay and some would have been found to be ineligible. With regard to ineligibility, South Africa is, under international refugee law, prohibited from extending protections to persons if there is reason to believe that he or she has been involved in the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. This prohibition is contained in the exclusion provisions, found in virtually every domestic refugee act around the world, and is perhaps a country’s first line of defence against becoming a safe haven for international offenders.
Last month, SALC together with the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants Rights in South Africa (CoRMSA) initatiated legal proceedings against the South African authorities to review their decision to grant former Rwandan General, Kayumbe Nyamwasa, refugee status. And today another twist in this saga occurred. South African newspaper, the Business Day reported that the South African “government is negotiating the handover of alleged Rwandan war criminal and former general Kayumba Nyamwasa to a ‘neutral country'”. Still to be confirmed and rather scant on details, this move certainly raises a number of questions. If done properly this move may even warrant reluctant commendation. See SALC’s views here.
June 14, 2011
A country’s refugee and immigration laws should, if administered properly, safeguard its territory from individuals attempting to evade justice for serious international crimes. Domestic and international law specifically identify those that it deems undeserving of the protections afforded to refugees. South Africa’s borders however appear to be somewhat leaky and very little has been done to plug that leak. This leak is clearly demonstrated by Rwandan General and suspected war criminal, Faustin Kayumbe Nyamwasa, being granted refugee status in South Africa.
Concerned about the integrity of South African asylum regime and South Africa’s obligations under international criminal law SALC and the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants Rights in South Africa (CoRMSA) have initiated legal proceedings to judicially review the South African authorities’ decision to grant Nyamwasa refugee status. The basis for the application is that Nyamwasa is ineligible for the grant of refugee status on account of his alleged involvement in the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Not only does this decision offend international law but it is unlawful under South Africa’s Refugee’s Act which specifically excludes those accused of committing international crimes.
Nyamwasa’s presence in South Africa only came to light after an attempted assassination. One can’t help wondering how many other undesirables are being harboured, knowingly or unknowingly, in South Africa.