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Excluding the Undesirable: Interpreting Article 1F(a) of the Refugee Convention in Australia

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Chapter Summary

The Refugee Convention dictates that an applicant is to be excluded if there are 'serious reasons for considering' that they have committed a war crime or crime against humanity, not because their guilt has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. This chapter explores the jurisprudence of the Federal Court of Australia and the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in relation to art IF(a), focussing on the consequences of utilising particular definitions of war crimes and crimes against humanity contained in international legal documents. The choice of a particular international instrument may have significance for three areas: determining whether an act can be classified as a war crime or a crime against humanity, the range of defences available; and the type of criminal responsibility that would lead to the conclusion that there are 'serious reasons for considering' that a crime has been perpetrated as mandated by art IF.

Keywords: Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT); crimes against humanity; Federal Court of Australia; individual criminal responsibility; international criminal law; International Military Tribunal (IMT); Nuremberg Charter; Refugee Convention; war crimes



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