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M. S., Russian national, contested the OFPRA decision of 15 January 2020 to terminate his refugee status because he poses a threat to the security of the state and the applicant has obtained a Russian Federation passport at the Strasbourg consulate. M.S. invoked fear of persecution upon potential return to the Russian Federation due to his political opinions. OFPRA on the contrary argued circumstances related to the State security and exclusion grounds as provided in the art. 1 C (1) of the Geneva Convention.
The CNDA noted that the General Directorate of Internal Security sent a white note to the OFPRA to inform about M.S. links with partisans of radical Islamic groups and a potential threat to the state security. In a second white note, the OFPRA was informed that the applicant obtained a Russian passport on 8 May 2018, after having obtained the refugee status.
The CNDA considered itself competent to analyse first the applicability of the section 1 C1 of the Geneva Convention (termination clause) and to address this issue before addressing the applicability of section L.711-6 (threat to national security) because the later provision only applies to persons who are recognized as refugees, and its applicability depends in the first place on the existence of refugee status on the decision date.
Following a thorough analysis of the EU law, precisely the revised Qualification Directive and the CJEU caselaw, M v. Ministerstvo vnitra (C‑391/16) (CZ), and X (C‑77/17), X (C‑78/17) v. Commissaire général aux réfugiés et aux apatrides (FR), of 14 May 2019, the CNDA concluded that M.S. had voluntarily been issued a passport by the authorities of the Russian Federation, without it being proven that it had been obtained by corruption or that compelling reasons or any coercion justified this approach, and that he had therefore again placed himself under the protection of the Russian authorities. Consequently, the cessation clause is applicable in this case and in the absence of any other reasons to maintain the refugee status, the applicant’s protection must cease accordingly.
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