Czech Republic - Supreme Administrative Court, 15 May 2013, A.S. v. Ministry of the Interior, Azs 56/2012-81

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
15-03-2013
Citation:
Azs 56/2012-81
Court Name:
Supreme Administrative Court
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Czech Republic - Constitution - Art 1(2)
Czech Republic - Asylum Act (325/1999 Coll.) - Art 12
Czech Republic - Asylum Act (325/1999 Coll.) - Art 14a
Czech Republic - Asylum Act (325/1999 Coll.) - Art 2(8)
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Headnote: 

Regardless of the parallel extradition proceedings, the Ministry of the Interior is obliged within the proceedings to assess the consequences of prosecution of the Applicant for a criminal offence in the country of origin in the context of fulfilling the conditions for international protection. In case of fear of action by private persons, the possibility and effectiveness of protection provided by the state against such actions is to be assessed.

Facts: 

The Applicant, a citizen of the Russian Federation, applied for international protection because of fear of threats and blackmail from another business person and allegedly fabricated prosecutions against him for criminal offences in Russia, for which reason his extradition was sought. The prosecution for a criminal offence was, according to the Applicant, as a result of the fact that he tried to complain about the aforementioned influential entrepreneur and his actions. The Ministry of the Interior did not find reasons for granting either of the forms of international protection and refused the application. The Municipal Court subsequently confirmed this decision, reasoning that it was not possible to assess the nature of prosecution for a criminal offence committed by the Applicant in the country of origin, or the conditions in prisons, as part of the procedure for international protection. These facts are assessed in the extradition procedure. The Applicant filed a cassation complaint with the Supreme Administrative Court appealing the ruling of the Municipal Court.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Court first ruled on the parallel proceedings for international protection and the so-called extraditionproceedings. According to the Court, it is primarily the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior to oversee that the Czech Republic does not breach its obligation of non-refoulement within the context of international protection proceedings. This obligation cannot be renounced in the context of extraditionproceedings. If the two proceedings are concurrent, it is necessary, according to the Court that:

  1. the procedure for granting international protection and the extraditionproceedings run separately,
  2. the decision on permitting extradition is not issued before the proceedings on international protection are lawfully completed, and
  3. the Ministry of the Interior is obliged, despite the ongoing extraditionproceedings, to examine the application for granting international protection not only from the point of view of national law but also from the point of view of international obligations, and in particular with regard to the obligation of non-refoulement.

Both the Ministry of the Interior and the Court were obliged to examine the consequences of the prosecution of the Applicant for a criminal offence in the country of origin. This should happen regardless of the fact that they do not examine whether the Applicant committed the acts in Russia for which his extradition is requested.

The Court also mentioned that if the Applicant claimed his fear of serious harm resulted from the actions of private persons, so-called non-state actors of persecution, it is necessary to examine the effectiveness of protection against such actions by the Russian authorities.

Outcome: 

The judgment of the Municipal Court was overturned and the case was returned for further proceedings.

Other sources cited: 
  • UNHCR Guidance Note on Extradition and International Refugee Protection, April 2008;

  • Šturma. P, Azyl vs. extradice pachatelů teroristických činů: malé zamyšlení k jednomu aktuálnímu tématu a  klinickému právnímu vzdělávání, Bulletin  advokacie, č. 4/2006

Case Law Cited: 

Czech Republic - Supreme Administrative Court, 31 October 2008, 5 Azs 50/2008-62

Czech Republic - Supreme Administrative Court, 10 August 2010, Azs 10/2010-99

Czech Republic - Azs 13/2006-39 (Supreme Administrative Court)