In fall 2011, this seminar takes up the rule that persons suspected of being international criminals-- including those who may be "terrorists" --are excluded from refugee status, even if they are genuinely at risk of being persecuted. The text and history of the UN Refugee Convention suggest that the excluded class be defined by reference to relevant norms of international criminal law, which have evolved tremendously in recent years. How should international asylum rules take account of new jurisprudence on such topics as culpability, mitigating circumstances, and procedural safeguards? More generally, how should the balance be struck between protecting persons who face persecution versus ensuring the exclusion of persons whose admission would bring the refugee protection regime into disrepute? This seminar provides an overview of the issues related to criminal exclusion under international refugee law, immerses students in analysis of comparative jurisprudence and practice, and affords each seminar member the opportunity to author an independent analysis of a cutting-edge concern in the field.
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