Google Translate is an amazing thing; or, how to teach a Dutch refugee law judgment without knowing Dutch

What materials to give my Refugee & Asylum Law students in preparation for visits from experts in connection with our “Children & International Criminal Justice” conference this week? How to link the work of the International Criminal Court to our current study of how nation-states comply (or fail to comply) with obligations they assumed by ratifying the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and/or its 1967 Protocol?

raadI might have focused on the refugee as a stakeholder in the work of the Court, an important topic given that many of the world’s 50-plus million forced migrants have fled armed violence or its consequences.

Instead, I turned to a specific legal problem: the cases of 3 Congolese nationals permitted to enter the Netherlands solely to testify for the defense in the Katanga and Ngudjolo trial. When that role came to an end, they sought asylum rather than return to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Earlier this year, they were returned following a judgment against one of them issued by the Raad van State, the Netherlands’ Council of State.

One problem: I could only find that judgment in Dutch (above).

Problem solved: I ran it through Google Translate and came up with an English version of The Alien and the Secretary of State that, with a bit of tweaking worked well as an English-language version, the basis for a great discussion. In case it’s of use others, that  version, along with a couple contemporary news releases, is available here.

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