Czech Republic - Supreme Administrative Court, 31 July 2008, N.G.H. v Ministry of Interior, 5 Azs 55/2008 – 71

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
31-07-2008
Citation:
5 Azs 55/2008 – 71
Court Name:
The Supreme Administrative Court
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Headnote: 

This case concerned an appeal against a decision of the Ministry of Interior (MOI) to refuse a grant of asylum. Having regard to a report from the country of origin, the MOI classified the applicant´s account as not credible. In his appeal, the applicant challenged this decision on the grounds that the MOI did not ascertain the real state of affairs, using only one source of information. The appeal was successful. The Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) held that the country of origin information must be verified from various sources and laid down other conditions for using the country of origin information.

Facts: 
 
The applicant left his country of origin in December 2006 due to political violence in Brazzaville, caused by the members of the rebel group “Ninjas.” Immediately after his arrival in the Czech Republic, he applied for asylum.

The MOI refused his claim for asylum on the grounds that the applicant’s account was not credible primarily due to inconsistencies in his account. In it's decision, the MOI also stated, that according to the available report from the country of origin, there were no ongoing struggles between the rebel groups and government forces from 2003 in the Republic of Congo. In light of this information, the MOI classified the applicant´s account as not credible.

The applicant appealed to a regional court, which fully agreed with the decision of the MOI. The applicant lodged a cassation complaint to the SAC. The applicant claimed that the MOI did not ascertain the real state of affairs in the Republic of Congo. The MOI used only one source of information, which was not objective and which did not correspond with the actual situation that existed.
 
Decision & Reasoning: 
 
The SAC agreed with the applicant stating that the real state of affairs in the applicant’s country of origin was not ascertained in the previous procedure. With regard to the applicant’s reasons for leaving his country of origin, the MOI was obliged to deal with the applicant´s allegations concerning political violence in Brazzaville, caused by the members of the rebel group “Ninjas”. In considering the applicant´s account, the MOI obtained just one source of information, the Report of OAMP (Department for Asylum and Migration Policy) of the 18th April 2007, which completely contradicted the applicant´s statement. The report claimed that after the 2003 political violence between the rebel group and government forces there was no further violence.

However, according to the Court, this conclusion was inconsistent with many other reports on the Republic of Congo. The SAC quoted two further reports which clearly showed that the struggle in the Republic of Congo continued even after 2003.

The SAC further stated, that when assessing Country of origin information it must be, to the greatest extent possible:  1) relevant, 2) reliable and balanced, 3) up-to-date and verified by various sources and 4) transparent and traceable.

According to the court, the MOI did not fulfill the third condition In order to obtain the overall picture of the situation in Brazzaville at the end of 2006, the MOI had to take into account other reports from various sources, and not rely solely on the report provided by the Department of Asylum and Migration Policy.
 
Outcome: 

The appeal was successful and the Regional Court decision annulled.

Observations/Comments: 

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

Other sources cited: 

Gyulai, G: Country Information in Asylum Procedures: Quality as a Legal Requirement in EU, Budapest, 2007

US Department of State, Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2007 – The Republic of Congo, 06.03.2007

US Department of State, Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2007 – The Republic of Congo, 11.03.2008

Case Law Cited: 

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