Court name: Constitutional Court
State: Romania
Date of decision:

Decision no. 458/2012 concerns an objection to the unconstitutionality of Article 13 (1) of the Romanian Citizenship Law no. 21/1991 (the “Romanian Citizenship Law”), an article which requires individuals applying for acquisition/re-acquisition of citizenship to submit their request in person.

The applicant argued that the article infringes (i) Article 16 (1) of the Romanian Constitution guaranteeing the equal treatment of individuals before the law, (ii) Article 21 (1) - (2) of the Romanian Constitution regarding the free access to justice, (iii) Article 24 of the Romanian Constitution – the right of defence, as well as (iV) the right to a fair trial guaranteed under Article 6 ECHR.

The Romanian Constitutional Court rejected the objection. It noted that, as this procedure is purely administrative, it does not fall under the scope of Article 16 (1) and Article 21 (1) - (2) of the Romanian Constitution, nor is Article 6 of ECHR applicable. The Romanian Constitutional Court highlights that the presence of the applicant (in the process of acquiring citizenship) is the first proof of the interest that one shows in obtaining citizenship, as an expression of the connection and belonging of a natural person to the Romanian State.

Court name: Court of Justice of the European Union
State:
Date of decision:

The case concerned the interpretation of Article 19 of the Directive (2011/95/EU, Qualification Directive). Specifically, the applicant had been granted subsidiary protection by the Austrian authorities on the mistaken basis that he was an Algerian national. The applicant was not responsible for the mistake, having rather declared throughout the proceedings that he was stateless. The CJEU held that under the Qualification Directive a State is under the obligation to revoke subsidiary protection if information emerges to prove that an individual never satisfied the requirements under the Directive.

Court name: District Court of Prague 7
Date of decision:

The Court ordered the Ministry of Interior to pay damages to an applicant to the statelessness determination procedure for experiencing delays in the procedure and excessively detaining him while awaiting a statelessness determination decision. 

 

Court name: Spanish Supreme Court
State: Spain
Date of decision:

The Supreme Court held that the initiation of the administrative procedure to recognise statelessness does not require the applicant to be in Spain. It is sufficient that he/she is at the border post. 

Court name: Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
Date of decision:

The communication concerned M.K.A.H., a stateless child, and whether Switzerland violated his rights under Articles 2 (2), 6, 7, 16, 22, 24, 27, 28, 29, 37 and 39 UNCRC when it decided to return him and his mother to Bulgaria, pursuant to the agreement between Switzerland and Bulgaria relating to the readmission of migrants in irregular situations, where they had previously obtained subsidiary protection.

Some of the findings of the Committee were that (i) Switzerland had not respected the best interests of the child nor heard him at the time of hearing the asylum request; (ii) the child ran a real risk of being subject to inhuman and degrading treatment in case of a return to Bulgaria; (iii) Switzerland had not sought to take the necessary measures to verify whether the child would be able to acquire a nationality in Bulgaria. The Committee also found that Article 7 UNCRC implicates that States must take the necessary positive actions to implement the right to acquire a nationality.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
State: Ukraine
Date of decision:

The applicant was born in the Russian Federation and his birth was not duly registered. Lacking identity documents and unable to prove his nationality, he was detained in Ukraine for the purpose of expulsion. The Court held that the authorities did not act diligently when they waited almost eleven months to contact the Russian embassy and obtain documentation to evidence the applicant's Russian nationality, and failed to review the lawfulness of his detention and to provide an effective remedy, in violation of Articles 5(1), (4) and (5) ECHR.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
State: France
Date of decision:

The applicant, a Moroccan national who acquired French nationality, was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment in 2013 for involvement in a conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts in France and other countries. He was deprived of his French nationality and was served with an expulsion order: despite requesting an interim measure under grounds of Article 3 ECHR he was returned to Morocco.

The applicant claimed, inter alia, that his removal violated his rights under Article 3 ECHR due to the risk that he would be exposed to ill-treatment in the event of his return and that his removal in breach of the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) interim measure violated Article 34 ECHR.

Court name: ECtHR
Date of decision:

After discovering that the applicant had omitted information when applying for Russian nationality, his nationality was annulled and an entry ban was enforced. The Court applied a two-pronged approach to assess whether the deprivation of the applicant’s nationality was an interference with his right to private and family life, which assessed (i) the consequences for the applicant, and (ii) whether the measure was arbitrary. In light of the far-reaching consequences of this decision and its apparent arbitrary nature, the Court held that the annulment interfered with the applicant's rights guaranteed under Article 8 ECHR. Further, the Court found that the expulsion of the applicant from Russian territory failed to respect the principle of proportionality, given the lack of evidence of any threat to Russian national security posed by the applicant, thereby violating Article 8.

Court name: Council of State of the Netherlands (Raad van State)
Date of decision:

The applicant is a dual Dutch/Moroccan national whose Dutch nationality was withdrawn on the basis of a criminal conviction for terrorist activities. The Court rejected the applicant's appeal, concluding, among others, that prevention of statelessness is a valid reason for differentiated treatment between those with a single and with multiple nationalities, and that withdrawal of nationality is not a punitive measure. Withdrawal of nationality in addition to the criminal sentence does not violate the principle that prohibits repeated punishments for the same action.  

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
State: Bulgaria
Date of decision:

A stateless person of Palestinian origin, born in Kuwait resided in Bulgaria with his two children who were born in Bulgaria and hold Bulgarian nationality. His permanent residence permit in Bulgaria was withdrawn on the grounds that he was engaged in alleged religious extremism, and he was detained and subsequently deported to Syria. The Court held that there had been a violation of Articles 5(§4), 8, and 13 ECHR as a result of the deportation. In this judgment, the Court outlines the procedural safeguards required by the ECHR in decisions to detain a person for the purposes of deportation, including where an allegation of a threat to national security is made. The guarantee of an effective remedy requires some form of adversarial proceedings, and that the competent independent appeals authority must be able to assess whether the conclusion that a person is a threat to national security, which justifies deportation, is arbitrary or unreasonable.

Court name: High Court
State: Ireland
Date of decision:

The applicant is a child who was born in Ireland to a Cameroonian mother and a Ghanaian father, it was asserted that the child was stateless. The Refugee Appeal Tribunal denied the child applicant refugee status and the applicant requested a judicial review of the tribunal’s decision. The application centred around the tribunals alleged wrongful reliance on the applicant’s right to acquire citizenship in Ghana and Cameroon. The application for judicial review was ultimately unsuccessful.

Court name: Supreme Court
State: Ireland
Date of decision:

The applicant brought an appeal challenging the constitutionality of s.19 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, which governs the procedure by which revocation of naturalisation is determined. The fact that the Minister initiated the revocation process, appointed the committee charged with conducting the inquiry and then reached the final decision, was unconstitutional according to the applicant, as it breached the right to fair procedures. The Court held that s.19 was unconstitutional because it did not provide the procedural safeguards required to meet the high threshold of natural justice applicable to a person facing such severe consequences, i.e. revocation of naturalisation.

Court name: Prague District Court
Date of decision:

Procedural aspects of statelessness determination should be the same as in the asylum application procedure, as the SPD procedure is not specified in national law. This means that the deadline for issuing a decision on statelessness is 6 months with the possibility of extension.

Court name: European Court of Human Rights
Date of decision:

This case concerns a person born in 1962 in Uzbekistan, who has been residing in Russia since 1990. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the applicant did not acquire a new citizenship, and was therefore stateless. He was arrested and detained until expulsion because of his undocumented status, and released after two years based on the expiry of the time-limit for enforcement of the expulsion order. The applicant brought the case to the ECtHR on the grounds that appeal procedures and the conditions of his detention had been inadequate. The Court ruled that there had been a violation of Articles 3 and 5 ECHR.