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Permission has been granted to the library of York University to lend or sell copies of this thesis, to the National Library of Canada to microfilm this thesis and to lend or sell copies of the film.
I reserve other publication rights, and neither the thesis nor extensive extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without my written permission. As an exception to the above reservation, individuals who have accessed this document on the Internet, are authorised to download or print it, in part or in full, for personal use only.
In preparing my thesis, I endeavoured
to accurately attribute all ideas and direct quotations contained in it.
I would appreciate the same courtesy from all individuals who use my work.
This thesis examines the distinction
between legitimate criminal prosecution and persecution in the law of refugee
status. It argues that, as a general rule, individuals whose claims are
based on conduct analogous to that of a political offender (as defined
in extradition law) meet the 1951 Convention refugee definition. The principled
and pragmatic reasons for using this analogy to analyze certain categories
of refugee claims are outlined. Primarily, the political offender analogy
provides decision-makers with principled and nuanced criteria for distinguishing
criminal from political conduct and focuses their attention on the context
in which a claimant's offence was committed.
During the initial year of my studies at York, I was fortunate to receive the Jacqueline Greatbach Memorial Fellowship administered jointly by Osgoode Hall Law School and the Centre for Refugee Studies. Without this valuable financial support, I would have been unable to undertake graduate studies.
May people were instrumental in the successful completion of this thesis. My supervisor, Professor William Angus, was patient and supportive, meticulous in correcting early drafts, and went beyond the call of duty by inviting me to family gatherings. His wife Anne and family were a warm and welcoming substitute for my own family on such occasions.
Professor James C Hathaway, both a member of my supervisory committee and my 'boss' in the Law Unit at the Centre for Refugee Studies, gave me work that helped pay the rent, was challenging and stimulating, and broadened my understanding of legal responses to the plight of refugees. His willingness to share his thoughts and writing, and to listen to my opinions, was invaluable.
Professor Reg Whitaker (a member of my supervisory committee), Professor Balfour Halévy (Dean's representative), and Richard Stainsby (external examiner) made my oral defense an enjoyable experience through their careful reading of my thesis and thoughtful questioning.
I would like to thank York University's Centre for Refugee Studies for providing me with many of the necessities of life (an office, a computer, a telephone) and a pleasant, stimulating work environment. Several of my colleagues at the Centre deserve special mention, in particular (but not exclusively), Elizabeth Adjin-Tettey, Michael Barutciski, John Dent, Leanne MacMillan, Kurt Mills, Alex Neve, Barbara Treviranus and Len Wong. Michael, John and Alex read and corrected several chapters of the thesis and Leanne assisted with earlier papers.
Without my family's financial and moral
support, my studies would not have been possible. My colleagues in the
Graduate program and Toronto buddies also provided valuable support and
friendship. Finally, I would like to thank Rodger Haines who first introduced
me to refugee law, and Rick Brown whose encouragement was instrumental
in convincing me to consider graduate studies in Canada.