Dominic Raab says European judges are “wrong” to block deportation flight to Rwanda

Justice Minister Dominic Raab refused to give an ironclad guarantee that all asylum seekers would be deported to Rwanda by the end of the year

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Rwanda: Raab admits “no exact date” for the first deportation flight

European judges have unjustly intervened in Britain’s attempt to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda, the justice minister said.

Dominic Raab argued that the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) exceeded its powers by issuing a last-minute ruling that prevented the first flight to Kigali from taking off on Tuesday.

Ministers are persistently pushing attempts to charter planes, estimated to cost taxpayers £500,000, to bring asylum seekers to the east African country – although these could be rejected by courts.

130 migrants were originally scheduled to board the jet to Rwanda, but as of Tuesday morning only a handful of people remained amid a spate of legal challenges.

Home Secretary Priti Patel is drafting plans for the next flight, due to take off within weeks – but Mr Raab refused to offer a cast-iron guarantee that all asylum seekers would be deported to Rwanda by the end of the year.

In a series of interviews, Mr Raab slammed the Strasbourg court, which gave a last-minute stay to people facing deportation, saying it shouldn’t be legally binding in the UK.

Home Secretary Priti Patel wants to push ahead with the next flight to Rwanda


PRU/AFP via Getty Images)

He told Times Radio: “Regarding the recent intervention from Strasbourg, so-called Rule 39 injunctions, which are not based on the European Convention, they are based on the rules and procedures, the internal rules of the court.

“In any event, I believe they should not have any legally binding effect under UK law.

“Especially in a situation such as we have seen recently where the High Court (and) the Court of Appeal have considered the questions at length, particularly whether to allow injunctive relief, and flatly rejected them in this particular case.

“I do not think it is right in this case or in general that the Strasbourg court assumes an injunction and then applies it.

“It’s not in the Convention and I don’t think it’s right for political reasons.”

The deputy prime minister said reports the government was considering ignoring ECtHR judgments were a “slight caricature” of the situation.

The Boeing 767 was supposed to bring asylum seekers to Rwanda


AFP via Getty Images)

Pressing the Daily Mail headline, he told Sky News: “It’s a mild caricature of a complex legal situation.

“First, we will shortly present and publish our Bill of Rights.

“One of the problems that has arisen is whether Strasbourg has injunction powers.”

Mr Raab refused to give a date for the deportation of the first migrants to Rwanda.

He told LBC: “I don’t think I can give an exact date. It is important to understand that this ongoing legal challenge relates to the injunctions.

“A full hearing is due in a few weeks and all issues can be broadcast there.”

Asked if he would stake his professional reputation on bringing at least one migrant to Rwanda by the end of the year, he said: “Well, I don’t know exactly what the courts will decide at trial .

“What I can tell you is that I am very confident that we have put in place a sensible, proportionate plan that, far from undermining human rights, will protect human rights because it will help stop this trade in migrants , to stem this trade in human misery.”

The ECtHR is an international court established in 1959 to hear claims of violations of civil and political rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

It is not an EU institution, which means that the UK’s relationship with the Strasbourg-based court will not be affected by Brexit.

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