Belgium - Council for Alien Law Litigation, 24 June 2010, Nr. 45.396

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
24-06-2010
Citation:
Nr. 45.396
Additional Citation:
Published in: Rev. dr. étr., 2010, nr. 158, p. 186
Court Name:
Council for Alien Law Litigation
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Headnote: 
Referring to Belgian law and the provisions of the Qualification Directive, the Council for Alien Law Litigation (CALL) held in a General Assembly decision that the need for protection should be assessed against the country of nationality or against the country of former habitual residence (where the applicant is a stateless person or their nationality is unclear).
Facts: 
The CALL dealt with the case of an applicant from the former Yugoslavia. The applicant was of Roma ethnicity, but there was uncertainty regarding his country of nationality, against which the assessment had to be made: Kosovo or Serbia. He was born in Kosovo and had lived a part of his life there. He had also lived parts of his life in Serbia, and he had a birth certificate that had been issued in Serbia stating that he had Serbian nationality. The applicant had made contradictory statements throughout the asylum procedure, undermining his credibility. The Office of the Commissioner General for Refugees and Stateless Persons (CGRS) rejected his application as they found him not to be credible, because he delayed in submitting his application and because the he had not demonstrated a well-founded fear of persecution in either Kosovo or Serbia.
Decision & Reasoning: 
In its consideration of the appeal, the CALL focused largely on determining the country of protection of the applicant. Referring to Belgian law, but also to Art 2(e) and 2(k) of the Qualification Directive, as well as the UNHCR Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for the Determination of Refugee Status (§87-89), the CALL held that the need for protection should be examined against the country of which the applicant has nationality or the country of his former habitual residence (in the case of a stateless person or someone whose nationality is unclear). The CALL took into account the same considerations as in its decision nr. 45.395, regarding the burden and standard of proof (see summary for case nr. 45.395, also in this database).

In the case at hand, the CALL decided that the applicant had not provided sufficient evidence to conclude that he had either nationality. However, the only consistent element in his statements was that he was of Roma ethnicity and that his place of birth was in Kosovo. He had also lived for a large part of his life in (what is now) Kosovo. The CALL therefore held that any assessment of persecution should be assessed against Kosovo, which could be considered as the country of his former habitual residence.

Given that the statements of the applicant were contradictory and could be construed as implausible, the CALL held that a well-founded fear of persecution was not proven. The CALL recognised, however (given that the only consistent element in the applicant’s account was that he was Roma) that it had to be examined whether the situation of the Roma in Kosovo was such that it could warrant international protection. The CALL ruled that, even if the situation of the Roma in Kosovo was sometimes difficult, there was no such need to grant international protection.
Outcome: 

The case was dismissed.

Observations/Comments: 

This decision was taken by the General Assembly of the CALL, in which all the judges – from both the Dutch and French language chambers – sit. The purpose of such decisions is to ensure the unity of the CALL’s caselaw.