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.

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The Southern Africa Litigation Centre and REDRESS are pleased to share the Report, Closing the Impunity Gap – Southern Africa’s Role in Securing Justice for the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda. Read the rest of this entry »

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.

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.

For more information see the press release below. Read the rest of this entry »