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ECtHR rules on repeated collective expulsions to Belarus and refusal to accept asylum applications at the Polish border from Chechen applicants

Input Provided By
Other Source/Information:
Referral to the CJEU
Original Documents
Relevant Legislative Provisions
EU Charter of Fundamental Rights ; European Convention on Human Rights; Other EU legislation; Revised Asylum Procedures Directive (Directive 2013/32/EU on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection) and/or APD 2005/85/CE; Revised Qualification Directive (Directive 2011/95/EU on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as BIP for a uniform status for refugees or for persons eligible for subsidiary protection- recast)/or QD 2004/83/EC; Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union;
Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights [ECtHR], M.K. and Others v Poland, Applications nos. 40503/17, 42902/17 and 43643/17, 23 July 2020. Link redirects to the English summary in the EUAA Case Law Database.
Permanent link to the case
Case history
Related cases:

Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights [ECtHR], T.Z. and Others v Poland, No 41764/17, ECLI:CE:ECHR:2022:1013JUD004176417, 13 October 2022. Link redirects to the English summary in the EUAA Case Law Database.


According to the ECtHR's Press release:

The case concerned the repeated refusal of Polish border guards on the border with Belarus to admit the applicants, who had come from Chechnya and had asked for international protection.

The Court found in particular that the applicants had repeatedly arrived at the Terespol border crossing between Poland and Belarus and had made it clear, despite the Polish authorities’ statements to the contrary, that they wished to seek international protection.

Instead, the border guards had returned them consistently to Belarus, without a proper review of their applications. Furthermore, the Government had ignored interim measures issued by the European Court to prevent the removal of the applicants, who had argued that they were at a real risk of chain-refoulement and treatment contrary to the Convention.

The Polish State had demonstrated a consistent practice of returning people to Belarus in such circumstances, a policy which amounted to collective expulsion. Given the authorities’ refusal to implement the Court’s interim measures, the Polish State had also failed to live up to its obligations under the Convention.

The ECtHR held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights, a violation of Article 4 of Protocol No. 4 (prohibition of collective expulsion of aliens) to the Convention, and a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the Convention, in conjunction with Article 3 and Article 4 of Protocol No. 4. It also held, unanimously, that Poland had failed to comply with its obligations under Article 34 (right to individual petition) of the Convention.

Country of Decision
Council of Europe
Court Name
CoE: European Court of Human Rights [ECtHR]
Case Number
Applications nos. 40503/17, 42902/17 and 43643/17
Date of Decision
Country of Origin
Access to procedures
Asylum Procedures/Special Procedures
Border procedures
Effective remedy