October 25, 2017

Jura novit curiae?

A critical review of the judgments 2347/2017 and 2348/2017 by the plenary of the Council of State


With its judgments 2347/2017 and 2348/2017, the Greek Council of State ruled against the annulment applications brought by two Syrian refugees, whose asylum application had been rejected by the Independent Appeals Committees as inadmissible - namely without an examination as to whether they qualify for refugee status according to the 1951 Geneva Convention – because Turkey was designated a “safe third country”, where they can receive appropriate protection pursuant to Article 38 of the 2013/32/EU Directive . It should be noted that, although the provision in question exists in the European law since 2005 (previous Directive 2005/85/EC) and was transposed into Greek law as early as 2008, the Greek administration applied the concept “third safe country” for the first time in March 2016 following the implementation by the Greek government, of the EU-Turkey Statement. The applicants had requested that a reference for a preliminary ruling is submitted before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) by the national Court, so that the applicable provision is interpreted vis-à-vis the legal and actual situation in Turkey, especially after the state of emergency was declared and the subsequent deviation from fundamental rights, but also with regard to the systematic illegal practices applied by the Turkish government. However, the Council of State with a limited majority of 13 to 12 judges, decided not to refer the case to the CJEU, thus violating not only Article 6 of the ECHR on the right to a fair trial, but also the obligations of the Greek authorities under international and European refugee law. It is striking that the majority imposed its opinion, that the European provisions are clear, without providing any justification, despite the fact that the mere existence of a minority of 12 judges clearly highlighted that the interpretation of the aforementioned provisions was by no means obvious beyond any reasonable doubt, as required by the CJEU.

April 23, 2017

COMUNICATO STAMPA - Solidarietà al giornalista italiano Gabriele Del Grande

Solidarietà al giornalista italiano Gabriele Del Grande 

Il 9 aprile 2017 le autorità turche hanno arrestato illegalmente e senza alcun motivo il giornalista italiano Gabriele Del Grande nella città turca di Hatay, dove stava svolgendo un’inchiesta per il suo nuovo libro “Un partigiano mi disse”. È evidente che l’attività giornalistica del 35enne Gabriele Del Grande, che nel suo ultimo lavoro racconta il conflitto siriano attraverso le testimonianze dei profughi e descrive la nascita dell’ISIS, infastidisce le autorità turche. Gabriele Del Grande è sottoposto a continui interrogatori delle autorità turche, che cercano di constringerlo a rivelare informazioni (e ovviamente anche persone e nomi) che riguardano la sua attività professionale, senza però attribuirgli alcun reato e senza avergli permesso di comunicare con un avvocato.

February 22, 2017

Decision 445/2017 of the COUNCIL OF STATE

Decision 445/2017 THE COUNCIL OF STATE 
4th Chamber

Having deliberated in public on its hearing of 29 November 2016, composed of: Demosthenes P. Petroulias, Deputy President, President of the 4th Chamber, D. Cyrillopoulos, Κ. Pispirighos, El. Mazos, Ο. Papadopoulou, Judges, Δ. Skoura, D. Mavropodi, Associate Judges. Secretary Η. Papacharalampous.
To judge the annulment application dated of 14th September 2016: Of .............., under administrative detention for purposes of readmission in the Police Station of Mitilene,
who was represented by Panagiota Masouridou, attorney-at-law [...], whom he appointed upon authorization,
Against Ministers: 1) of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction, already of Migration Policy, who was represented by Pantelis Papadakis, Adviser at the State Legal Council, 2) of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights, who was represented by Aggeliki Anastopoulou, Adviser at the State Legal Council and 3) of Finance, who was represented by Pantelis Papadakis, Adviser at the State Legal Council.

See the whole decision here

See the summary of the decision here.

February 17, 2017

Amnesty International: Human rights cost of EU refugee deal with Turkey too high to be replicated elsewhere

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: 

The EU-Turkey refugee deal has left thousands of refugees and migrants in squalid and dangerous living conditions, and must not be replicated with other countries, Amnesty International said today ahead of the deal’s one year anniversary.

The deal aimed at returning asylum-seekers back to Turkey on the premise that Turkey is safe for them, has left thousands exposed to squalid and unsafe conditions on Greek islands. In the new briefing “A Blueprint for Despair” Amnesty International also documented unlawful returns of asylum-seekers to Turkey in a flagrant breach of their rights under international law. 



March 26, 2016

Greece condemned for Ineffective investigation into a racist assault on an Afghan national and his conditions of detention in an Athens police station

In the case of Sakir v. Greece (application no. 48475/09) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) and a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention on Human Rights with regard to Mr Sakir’s conditions of detention in in the Aghios Panteleïmon police station in Athens, a violation of Article 3 of the Convention with regard to the conduct of the investigation carried out following the assault.

ANNOUNCEMENT: The Group of Lawyers is moving!

The Group of Lawyers for the Rights of Migrants and Refugees has moved to new premises.

Free legal counseling will be provided from 29 March 2016 every Tuesday from 6 pm to 8pm at Lontou 6 & Mesologiou Str., Exarheia, 2nd floor.

Thank you. 

April 22, 2015

Denouncement – refugee transferred by the Greek Police to the consulate of her country of origin in breach of Geneva Convention

O.A., citizen of Turkey, applied on 16.04.2015 for asylum due to the persecution she has faced and is in danger of facing by the Turkish authorities for reasons of her political beliefs.

Since then she is being held at the detention facilities in Elliniko and the Greek authorities, instead of proceeding with the examination of her asylum application, releasing her and informing her about the applicable procedure, transferred her today surprisingly to the Turkish consulate in order to deport her.

We denounce the transfer of the above asylum applicant to the consulate of her country of origin as an act that constitutes blatant violation of the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.

These actions encroach gravely on the rights of refugees, breach the principle of non-refoulement and expose their lives to danger.