Greece - Council of State, 15 September 2000, 495/2000

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
15-09-2000
Citation:
Council of State (Suspension Committee) 495/2000
Court Name:
Council of State (Suspension Committee)
Relevant Legislative Provisions:
International Law > 1951 Refugee Convention > Art 1
International Law > 1951 Refugee Convention > Art 32.1
International Law > 1951 Refugee Convention > Art 33
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Greece - Προεδρικό Διάταγμα 61/1999 (Presidential Decree)
Greece - Άρθρο 33 παρ. 7 του ν. 1975/1991 (Art 33(7) of Act 1975/1991)
Greece - Άρθρο 33 παρ. 9 του ν. 1975/1991 (Art 33(9) of Act 1975/1991)
Greece - Αρθρο 52 Προεδρικό Διάταγμα 18/1989 (Art 52 of Presidential Decree 18/1989)
Greece - Άρθρο 35 Ν. 2721/1999 Α’ 112 (Art 35 of Act 2721/1999 A112)
Greece - Άρθρο 222 Ποινικός Κώδικας (Art 222 of the Penal Code)
Greece - Αρθρα 1 Σύμβασης της Γενεύης 1951 ( Νομοθετικό Διάταγμα 3989/1959 Α’ 201) (Art 1 1951 Convention (Legislative Decree 3989/1959 A201))
Greece - Αρθρα 32 παρ. 1 Σύμβασης της Γενεύης 1951 ( Νομοθετικό Διάταγμα 3989/1959 Α’ 201) (Art 32(1) 1951 Convention (Legislative Decree 3989/1959 A201))
Greece - Αρθρα 33 Σύμβασης της Γενεύης 1951 ( Νομοθετικό Διάταγμα 3989/1959 Α’ 201) (Art 33 1951 Convention (Legislative Decree 3989/1959 A201))
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Headnote: 

Application to give suspensive effect to a decision by the Minister for Public Order 

This case concerned deportation of a recognized refugee (Articles 32 and 33 of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees) after a conviction for a criminal offence under common law. 

Immediate deportation would expose the applicant to the risk of suffering irreparable harm in the event that his application for annulment is successful. Because of the severity of that harm, moves to deport him must be given suspensive effect until there has been a final decision on his application for annulment, even though the decision to deport him was motivated by the protection of public order.

The case also considered ending the applicant's detention andreturning the refugee residence permit, which had been withdrawn, to the applicant. 

Facts: 

By decision of the Minister for Public Order the applicant, a Turkish national, was recognized as having refugee status and was granted asylum in Greece in accordance with the relevant legislation. Subsequently, the General Secretary of the Ministry of Public Order issued a ruling which ordered his deportation from the country on the grounds that “During his stay here, with refugee status, he was engaged in unlawful activities and participated in acts which could be detrimental to public security in the country”.

The applicant appealed to the Minister for Public Order against the said ruling, and it was in that appeal that the contested decision (the annulment of which is now being sought) was issued. Whilst the decision upheld the appeal as regards the applicant's refugee status – which was maintained – it dismissed the appeal as regards the order to deport him.

In particular, the contested decision held that deporting the applicant was supported by Articles 32 and 33 of the 1951 Convention, and used the justification that “during his stay here with refugee status, he was arrested and received a final conviction for particularly serious crimes and, therefore, is considered to be a danger to the country”.  Moreover, as is clear from the evidence in the dossier, the applicant, during his stay in Greece, had been sentenced to a total prison sentence of eighteen months (converted to a financial penalty) and a fine for the crimes of illegally employing foreigners without a permit, facilitating the illegal stay of foreigners in Greek territory (Article 33 paragraphs 7 and 9 of Act 1975/1991) and misappropriation of documents (Article 222 of the Penal Code).

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Court (Suspension Committee) held that the immediate implementation of the contested act, as regards the ordered deportation, would expose the applicant to the risk of suffering irreparable harm in the event that his application for annulment was successful. It reached this conclusion taking into consideration that:

- deporting the applicant would entail refoulement to Turkey.

- the applicant, according to the contested act itself, retains his refugee status which implies that the Administration believes that, should he be returned to his country, there is a well-founded fear of him being persecuted within the meaning of the 1951 Convention.

The Court also held that, because of the severity of the potential harm, implementation of the contested act must be given suspensive effect until a final decision was issued on the application for annulment, even though the act was truly motivated by the protection of public order.  Because of that suspension of effect, the detention of the applicant must end and his permit to reside in the country, which had been withdrawn, must be returned to him.

Outcome: 

The application was granted. Execution of the contested decision was given suspensive effect in part, ordering the repayment of the fee. The State shall bear the applicant's Court Costs. 

Subsequent Proceedings : 

Council of State 441/2008 (Annulment proceedings) which annulled the contested decision. /node/4644

Observations/Comments: 

Suspension Committee of the Council of State

I. Mari, State Councillor and President of the 3rd Summer Chamber; A. Rantos, Councillor; I. Gravaris, Associate Councillor. Court Registrar A. Koliopoulou

A significant decision as to the breadth of the protection the Court can provide to applicants, ordering, inter alia, that the Administration must end the applicant's detention and renew the residence permit which had been taken from him.