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Latest Registrations are available here arranged by date of insert/registration in the EUAA Case Law Database (not by date of publication).

08/02/2023
CZ: The Supreme Administrative Court ruled on the regular review of third countries designated as safe countries.

According to the summary provided by the EUAA Courts and Tribunals Network:

"The applicant, an Algerian national with Berber origins, applied for international protection in the Czech Republic. However, the Ministry rejected his application arguing (among other things) that the applicant could not be granted asylum on the grounds that Algeria is considered a safe country of origin according to Ordinance No. 328/2015 Coll., and at the same time, the applicant did not prove the contrary in his case.

The applicant filed an action against the Ministry’s decision. However, the Regional Court in Brno rejected the action.

Subsequently, the applicant filed a cassation complaint to the Supreme Administrative Court (“the Court”) against the regional court’s judgment. The Court revoked the challenged judgment and preceding ministerial decision arguing that the concept of a safe country needs to be assessed case by case and needs to include relevant and current information as stated in the Procedural Directive.

The Court pointed out that the Ministry can refuse to grant international protection. However, the refusal has to be kept in line with the requirements stated in art. 37(2) of the recast Asylum Procedures Directive, i.e., the Ministry has to regularly review the situation in third countries designated as safe countries of origin. Therefore the Ministry is to review the country’s safety at least once a year, monitor the situation in the safe country of origin, and consider re-evaluating the country’s safety if urgent or sudden significant change in the country’s situation arise.

The Court further explained that the Ministry could also refuse to grant international protection if the safe country of origin assessment was based on criteria in art. 37(3) of the recast Asylum Procedures Directive. However, if information from other Member States, EUAA, UNHCR, the Council of Europe, and other relevant international organisations suggest that a particular country is not safe or might not be safe, in that case, the Ministry has to thoroughly explain its decision to designate the country in question as a safe country. Furthermore, the applicant can be refused international protection if the country of origin was designated as safe based on information which fulfil criteria under Annex I of the recast Asylum Procedures Directive."

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08/02/2023
CZ: The Supreme Administrative Court ruled that to prove persecution on the grounds of political opinion, the applicant must prove any activity involving the exercise of political rights and freedoms.

According to the summary provided by the EUAA Courts and Tribunals Network:

"The applicant, a Cuban national, applied for international protection in the Czech Republic. He stated that the Cuban police persecuted him in 2014-2016, had a well-founded fear of persecution, and on several occasions had been ill-treated, summoned or detained (as a result of the applicant's real or alleged offence, or in connection with the anti-regime activities of other persons, although he has not been politically active and has no political opinion).

The Ministry of the Interior rejected his application. His action filed against this decision was dismissed by the Municipal Court in Prague. The applicant challenged the Municipal Court's judgment before the Supreme Administrative Court ("the Court"). The Court annulled the judgment of the Municipal court as well as the administrative decision and remanded the case back to the Ministry for further proceedings. It stated that according to the Art. 4(4) of the Qualification Directive [t]he fact that an applicant has already been subject to persecution or serious harm, or to direct threats of such persecution or such harm, is a serious indication of the applicant’s well-founded fear of persecution or actual risk of suffering serious harm unless there are good reasons to consider that such persecution or serious harm will not be repeated. In their decisions, neither the Ministry nor the Municipal court gave serious reasons for believing that it was not reasonably likely that the complainant would be subjected to similar persecution even after his return to his country of origin and have not questioned the general credibility of the applicant.

The Court concluded that if the applicant (as a politically unreliable person) was subjected to police harassment in the country of origin, such action could, depending on the circumstances, reach the intensity of persecution under § 2(4) of Act No. 325/1999 Coll., Act on Asylum, even if the applicant was not subjected to physical violence.

The Court noted that according to the Art 10 (2) of the Qualification Directive, when assessing if the applicant has a well-founded fear of being persecuted it is immaterial, whether the applicant possesses the characteristic related to a political opinion that attracts the persecution, provided that that characteristic is attributed to the applicant by the actor of persecution. On the contrary, to prove persecution on the grounds of political opinion according to § 12 (a) of the Act on Asylum, the applicant must prove any activity involving the exercise of political rights and freedoms."

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08/02/2023
BE: The Council for Alien Law Litigation recognised refugee status to a Burundi national due to the risk of persecution based on imputed political opinions.

A Burundi national appealed against a decision of the CGRS rejecting her application for international protection. The applicant stated that her father was involved in political activities of the National Congress for Freedom and he has been threatened by Imbonerakure militia. The applicant married a Danish national of Burundian origin to be able to move to Denmark and once there, the applicant learnt about her husband's political engagement in CNDD-FDD. For this reason and following the violent behavior of her husband, the applicant left Denmark and traveled to Belgium, applying for international protection.  

The CGRS refused to grant international protection to the applicant, arguing that there were no elements to establish a well-founded fear of persecution and also due to the lack of credibility about the political profile of the applicant's father's. According to the applicant's statements and COI, the CGRS noted the implausibility and inconsistency of the situation described and concluded that Burundi was not in the context of an internal armed conflict. 

The applicant appealed before the CALL, claiming a violation of article 3 of ECHR and article 48/3 and 48/4 of the Law of 15 December 1980 and Law of 29 July 1991 on the formal statement of reasons for administrative acts.

The Council observed that the applicant was not involved in the political activities of her father and gave precise statements in the application questionnaire and noted that new COI elements occurred in Burundi and the current security situation was to be assessed, including risks in case of return to the country.

With regard to the burden of proof, governed by Articles 48/6 and 48/7 of the Law of 15 December 1980, the CALL recalled the CGRS's obligation to state reasons and provide explanations related to the credibility of the applicant's statements. The Council noted that the CGRS provided general and not specific reference to the situation of the applicant, as well as the security situation in Burundi, as according to updated COI, it was deteriorated and the applicant could face a real risk of persecution due to her father's political opinions imputed by national authorities.

For these reasons, the CALL recognized the refugee status of the applicant.

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07/02/2023
IT: The Cassation Court highlighted the manner in which the determining authority must assess cases involving victims of torture who request international protection.

In the current case the applicant, a member of the Kurdish ethnic group, had reported being taken to police custody, and being beaten and tortured in Türkiye. Medical documentation of both the applicant's scars and his severe state of mental prostration was submitted to the territorial court.

The Supreme Court upheld the appeal and stated that, in international protection related matters, the assessment of credibility of statements made by the applicant who has suffered physical or mental trauma from torture must be conducted on the basis of the criteria set forth in the Istanbul Protocol, and, in particular, the expert medico-legal certification must be considered in conjunction with the statements made by the applicant, during the verbalization of applications and during the hearing, as well as information about the country of origin and other documents or testimony brought to the attention of the determining authority.

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07/02/2023
FR: The Council of State held that the recognition of the status of stateless person implies establishing that the State likely to regard a person as its national by application of its legislation does not consider him/her as such.

The applicant, M.D.A., asked the Administrative Court of Nantes to annul the decision of 18 December 2017 by which the Director of the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) refused to recognise the stateless person status. By judgment of 16 September 2020, the Administrative Court of Nantes rejected the request.

By judgment of 15 June 2021, the Nantes Administrative Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal brought by the applicant. The applicant lodged a cassation appeal and asked the Council of State to cancel this judgment.

The Council made reference to Article 1(1) of the New York Convention of 28 September 1954, which defines the term “stateless person” as a person whom no State considers to be its national by application of its legislation. Under the terms of article L. 812-1 of the CESEDA, the status of stateless person is recognized for any person who meets the definition of Article 1 of the New York Convention of 28 September 1954 relating to the Status of Stateless Persons. The Council further noted that the recognition of the status of stateless person implies establishing that the State likely to regard a person as its national by application of its legislation does not consider him/her as such.

With regard to the applicant in the present case, the Council noted that to reject the application for recognition of the status of stateless person of M.D.A., who was born in 1978 in Laayoune in Western Sahara, the OFPRA relied on the extract from the act of birth which was issued to the person concerned on 14 October 2013 by the civil registrar of the municipality of Laâyoune and which mentioned the Moroccan nationality, and on the person’s refusal to take steps with the Moroccan authorities with a view to obtain identity documents.

The Council further noted that the accuracy of the mention of Moroccan nationality on the extract from the birth certificate is not seriously disputed by the applicant who availed himself of this act and had availed himself of the Moroccan nationality in support of a previous and unsuccessful attempt to obtain asylum. The Council added that the mere fact that Western Sahara is a territory included in the list of non-self-governing territories within the meaning of Article 73 of the Charter of the United Nations is not sufficient to consider as stateless persons of Sahrawi origin who have received Moroccan nationality. The Council also noted that if the applicant would have renounced this nationality, such a unilateral renunciation would not open, by itself, the right to be recognised as a stateless person.

Thus, the Council confirmed the judgment of the Administrative Court of Nantes and the OFPRA’s decision to reject the request for recognition of statelessness.

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07/02/2023
MT: The Immigration Appeals Board ordered an age assessment for an applicant from Lebanon who had initially declared that he was an adult.

The applicant, a Lebanese national, entered Malta by boat on 22 September 2022. On 25 September 2022, the Principal Immigration Officer (PIO) was informed that the applicant wished to voluntarily return to Lebanon. On 1 November 2022, the applicant informed PIO that he was minor, and he wished to apply for asylum. A detention order was issued for the applicant on 2 November 2022 while on the same day the applicant informed the authorities that he was born in 2006 instead of 2004. 

The applicant contested the decision, claimed that he changed his date of birth out of fear that he would be separated from his brother and that he was minor. According to PIO, this fear was not justified given that there were other siblings on the same boat which were immediately grouped together.

The Immigration Appeals Board considered that the Agency for Welfare of Asylum Seekers (AWAS) must carry out an age assessment, including a bone test, to determine the applicant's age. AWAS was also instructed to appoint a legal guardian and to ensure that the applicant is kept in appropriate accommodation given his declaration of minority.

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