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International Law Case Brief Essay

Facts: George Christian Hanna (23 years old) is a stateless person trying to find a country for refuge. In 1954 the United Nations addressed the problem of “stateless” persons to solve the problem when one seeks refuge within a country; however, Canada is not a signatory. Spending most of his life as a ship-bound passenger, Hanna does not have a homeland. Hanna applied for refuge from The “Gudveig” a Norwegian motor-ship in which he was treated as a “stowaway” and imprisoned for more than 16 months. During these 16 months aboard the ship, Hanna made at least three trips to Canada. Hanna found himself in Canada looking for immigration status after being released by the act of habeus corpus. Immigration was not given and an order of deportation was handed down. The order was appealed on the basis that the order is defective, incomplete, and impossible to interpretation or enforcement and beyond the authority of the immigration officer.

Issue: Is the deportation order made by the immigration officer (acting as a special inquiry officer) legal and made within the means of his power?

Decision: The deportation order would force Hanna to be imprisoned aboard The “Gudveig” for an indeterminate amount of time. The circumstances that this deportation order created are not acceptable and the order was found to be illegal and Hanna was to be released from detention.

Reasoning: The deportation order included four directives. Directive No. 2 thru No. 4 was discredited by the court and No. 1 was the only directive considered and it went as follows: that Hanna be deported to the place whence he came to Canada. The court found that this meant many different things and that it was not possible to find where Hanna came from before he stepped into Canada. The fact remains that Hanna is a “stateless person” and there is no mutual agreement on where he is actually from. The court was not satisfied with the affidavit of the immigration officer which fixed his birthplace as Djibouti in French Somaliland.

Also the court was not satisfied with the Norwegian lawyers claims that he is an Egyptian who was born in Alexandria. Other interpretations such as the port in which this journey began in Eritrea and the port which Hanna came to Canada from in Beirut, Lebanon did not satisfy the court because even is the Lebanese authorities agreed Hanna stowed away from their port, they country is quite foreign to him. The court noted that it had referenced other authorities cited by counsel where deportation orders were made without all the facts being present.

None of those orders though were comparable to the Hanna case, because this deportation order was not to deport to a country but back into detention aboard a ship. The immigration officer delegated to the owners of The “Gudveig” the responsibility for interpreting the deportation order, which brings the court to believe that he himself (immigration officer) does not know what the order means. This fact alone is enough for the court to reason that the order is illegal. The judgment was found in the favour of Hanna because the deportation order was impossible to interpret and enforce.

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