Germany - Administrative Court Frankfurt/Main, 24 June 2011, 1 K 383/11.F.A

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
Additional Citation:
Court Name:
Administrative Court of Frankfurt/Main
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Rome Statute of the ICC
Rome Statute of the ICC - Art 7
Rome Statute of the ICC - Art 8
Rome Statute of the ICC - Art 8.2 (c)
Rome Statute of the ICC - Art 8.2 (e)
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A former Chechen fighter was not excluded from refugee status as active participation in the Second Chechen War in itself does not constitute a war crime. The clashes that have taken place in Chechnya since 1999 represent an internal armed conflict according to Art. 8 of the ICC Statute.


The applicant is of Chechen ethnicity. He applied for asylum in September 2008. He stated that he had participated in the armed conflict until December 2007.

The authorities rejected the asylum application because the applicant was deemed not credible. They held that the applicant could relocate to other parts of the Russian Federation even if he had actually been subject to persecution in the Chechen Republic. The applicant appealed this decision.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The authorities' decision was annulled. The applicant was deemed eligible for refugee status.

Having examined the reports on the situation in Chechnya and on the Second Chechen War, the Administrative Court was convinced that the applicant’s statement was credible and that he fled from an imminent risk of being persecuted. Since the applicant was already under suspicion of the Russian security forces, he could not be expected to relocate to other parts of the Russian Federation. The Court found:

The applicant was not excluded from refugee status on the grounds of having committed war crimes or crimes against humanity. The conflict in Chechnya is an internal armed conflict according to the Statute of the International Criminal Court. Since the rebels' actions are not directed against the civilian population, they are not considered “crimes against humanity”. The fact that the applicant took part in hostilities is not sufficient to assume that he participated in war crimes within the meaning of Art. 8 of the ICC Statute, for example by participating in cruel or degrading treatment of combatants who were out of action. International criminal law and international humanitarian law do not penalise any use of force against the enemy. Even the looting of the opponent's military convoys with the aim of cutting off supply  is compatible with international law of war, so is the capturing of enemy soldiers, even if they are to be used as hostages.

Neither the applicant’s statements, nor the Court's information on the military unit the applicant belonged to, indicated that he participated in crimes against humanity or terrorist acts.


The authorities were obliged to grant the applicant refugee status.

Subsequent Proceedings : 


Case Law Cited: 

Germany - Federal Administrative Court, 6 February 2010, 10 C 7.09