Czech Republic - Supreme Administrative Court, 20 June 2007, R.K. v Ministry of Interior, 6 Azs 142/2006–58

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
20-06-2007
Citation:
n.6 Azs 142/2006–58
Additional Citation:
N.10/2007 of The Law Reports and Opinions Collection of the Supreme Administrative Court
Court Name:
The Supreme Administrative Court
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Headnote: 

This case examines the differences between the procedure for examining a claim for asylum and the procedure for examining the application of exclusion clauses.

Facts: 
The applicant served in the armed corps in Chechnya during the 1990s as a result he faced persecution by the police.  In 2005 he applied for international protection in the Czech Republic. His asylum claim was refused by the Ministry of Interior (MOI).

A substantive examination of the applicant’s claim did not take place. The MOI claimed that there was a justified suspicion that the applicant had committed a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity, according to section 15 of the Asylum Act, implementing Art 1F of the 1951 Geneva Convention.

The MOI based it's decision on a report compiled by the Security Information Service, which was designated as “restricted.” As the report was considered classified information, the competent authority did not allow the applicant to access it.  The applicant brought an action against the authority to the Regional Court. The Court annulled the decision of the MOI; the authority brought a cassation complaint to the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC).
 
Decision & Reasoning: 
The SAC firstly considered the procedure to be applied when an applicant is suspected of having committing a crime against peace, a war crime, or a crime against humanity.

The SAC confirmed that when an asylum claim is being determined,  according to section 12 of the Asylum Act or Art 1A(2) of the 1951 Geneva Convention, it is the competent authority which carries out the relevant assessment and makes findings based on objective facts and the credibility of the applicant.

On the other hand, when the application of an exclusion clause is being considered, (according to section 15 of the Asylum Act or Art 1F of the 1951 Geneva Convention) the competent authority is only required to ascertain whether there are serious reasons for considering that a relevant crime has taken place, which would exclude the applicant from being granted asylum.

The burden of proof is transferred to the applicant, only the applicant can refute a presumption. If the competent authority makes it impossible for an applicant to refute a presumption, then he is placed in a disadvantageous situation (in this instance the report used against the applicant was classified). The fact that one piece of evidence is classified information cannot be a sufficient reason to restrict the basic (constitutional) right of the applicant to challenge all of the evidence used against him.

If the disclosure of the classified information results in a denial of the basic aim of the Protection of Classified Information Act, then the competent authority should disclose only information relevant to the procedure, and in a suitable format. On these grounds the Supreme Administrative Court held that they would not deviate from the decision of the court of first instance and the cassation complaint was dismissed.
 
Outcome: 

The appeal of the MOI was dismissed and the decision of the regional court conformed.

Observations/Comments: 

Case available on the website of the Supreme Administrative Court - www.nssoud.cz

Case Law Cited: 

Czech Republic - Pl. ÚS 41/02 (Constitutional Court)

Czech Republic - Pl. ÚS 11/2000 (Constitutional Court)

Czech Republic - II. ÚS 28/02 (Constitutional Court)