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FI: Supreme Administrative Court ruled that refugee status shall be granted for risk of being subject to violations of justice and lack of protection upon return to Iraq

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Other Source/Information:
Referral to the CJEU
Original Documents
Relevant Legislative Provisions
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;
Finland, Supreme Administrative Court [Korkein hallinto-oikeus], A(Iraq) v Finnish Immigration Service, ECLI:FI:KHO:2020:30, 30 March 2020. Link redirects to the English summary in the EUAA Case Law Database.
Permanent link to the case
Case history
Related cases:

According to Yearbook decisions of the Supreme Administrative Court:

The Finnish Immigration Service had rejected an application for international protection of A., Iraqi national. The Administrative Court had rejected A's appeal against the asylum. However, the Administrative Court, referring to A's Sunni background, the previous violation of justice he had experienced and his work, and the security situation in Baghdad, had considered that the Finnish Immigration Service (FIS) had not been able to reject A's application for international protection in other respects on the grounds mentioned in its decision and referred the matter back to the FIS in order to grant subsidiary protection.

Both A and the Finnish Immigration Service appealed against the administrative court's decision to the Supreme Administrative Court. The appeal by the FIS concerned the fulfilment of the conditions for subsidiary protection of Section 88(1) of the Aliens Act. In that regard, it was, in particular, necessary to assess the importance of the personal circumstances of the applicant concerned in that assessment. A's complaint, on the other hand, was to assess whether he should have been granted asylum within the meaning of Article 87(1) of the Aliens Act.

The Supreme Administrative Court stated that the application of Article 88(1)(3) of the Aliens Act requires that there is a serious and personal risk arising from arbitrary violence in the event of an armed conflict. The assessment of the need for subsidiary protection referred to in that paragraph is influenced not only by collective factors, but also by personal circumstances. Such personal circumstances may, in the context of Article 88(1)(3), be regarded as implying, in principle, circumstances which, in comparison with the rest of the population, present an increased risk of serious harm caused by inseparable violence. When assessing personal circumstances, account may be taken, inter alia, of aspects relating to a person's age, health and gender, as well as other aspects highlighting vulnerable situations, such as the lack of a safety net and lack of local knowledge. For example, a family with children may be at particular risk for such a reason. Similarly, persons residing in or near a conflict zone or persons who, by profession, are subject to movement in the area of armed conflict may be at risk.

The Supreme Administrative Court found that, in the present case, the facts relating to Mr A.'s past experience were not specific to his personal circumstances which could be regarded as increasing his risk of serious harm as a result of indiscriminate violence within the meaning of Article 88(1)(3) of the Aliens Act. On the other hand, on the basis of A's experience and activities, and taking into account the country information that Sunnis continued to suffer serious violations of justice by Shiite militias, the Supreme Administrative Court rightly considered that A had reason to fear that he would be subjected to violations of justice in his home country that were causally linked to his past experiences, religion and political opinion. In Baghdad, it was generally not possible for a person with A's background to obtain effective protection from the authorities against the threat of Shiite armed groups. A therefore had to be granted asylum.

Country of Decision
Court Name
FI: Supreme Administrative Court [Korkein hallinto-oikeus]
Case Number
Date of Decision
Country of Origin
Actors of protection
Asylum Procedures/Special Procedures
Refugee Protection