OTTAWA, July 5 (UPI) -- A Canadian federal judge has decided Canada's refugee board made a mistake when it rejected a U.S. soldier's request for asylum.
Justice Robert Barnes said the Immigration and Refugee Board was incorrect when it decided Joshua Key was unable to seek asylum in Canada because the military actions he was dodging weren't extreme enough to be considered war crimes.
The Friday ruling may pave the way for other American deserters who try to claim refugee status in Canada, The Globe and Mail in Toronto reported.
The judge said evading military orders that are "contrary to the basic rules or norms of human conduct" is a substantial reason to seek asylum.
Barnes asked the immigration board to reconsider the request submitted by Key, a former private who left the United States five years ago while on leave from Iraq.
After Key said he was ordered to participate in at least 70 raids on the homes of Iraqi civilians, the board decided he had seen "a disturbing level of brutality," but the military actions were not war crimes.