File under "wow, our national reputation really is in the toilet": a Canadian court rules that since the US military in Iraq may have forced a deserti
July 6, 2008

File under "wow, our national reputation really is in the toilet": a Canadian court rules that since the US military in Iraq may have forced a deserting soldier to commit "a war crime, a crime against peace or a crime against humanity," he can legally apply for asylum in Canada to avoid further military service. CBC, h/t to commenter 'always interested':

[US Soldier Joshua] Key was sent to Iraq in 2003 as a combat engineer for eight months where he said he was responsible for nighttime raids on private Iraqi homes, which included searching for weapons.

He alleged that during his time in Iraq he witnessed several cases of abuse, humiliation, and looting by the U.S. army.

When Key was back in the U.S on a two-week leave, he said he was suffering from debilitating nightmares and that he couldn't return. A military lawyer told him that he could either return to Iraq or face prison.

Instead, Key took his family to Canada and applied for refugee status.

Citing a case from the U.S. Federal Court of Appeal, [Canadian Federal Court Justice Robert] Barnes said officially condoned military misconduct could still support a refugee claim, even if it falls short of a war crime.

"The authorities indicate that military action which systematically degrades, abuses or humiliates either combatants or non-combatants is capable of supporting a refugee claim where that is the proven reason for refusing to serve," Barnes wrote....

Key's lawyer, Jeffry House, said the ruling expands a soldier's right to refuse military service. Read more...

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