OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada has granted the appeal of a former Congolese diplomat who was seeking refugee status in Canada in a ruling that will have implications for future war crimes cases.
In a 9-0 ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that Rachidi Ekanza Ezokola is entitled to a new hearing on whether he was complicit by association in war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the government of his country.
The ruling is precedent-setting because it clarifies the line that defines whether senior public officials should be excluded from the definition of a refugee for being part of a government that commits war crimes.
Ezokola was the second in command at the Democratic Republic of Congo's United Nations embassy in New York when he fled to Canada with his wife and eight children in 2008.
He sought asylum in Canada after a falling out with his ambassador because he no longer supported the re-election of President Joseph Kaliba, and feared he would be accused of treason.
The Immigration and Refugee Board, which originally ruled against him, will now reconsider his case based on today's ruling.