Italy - Court of Cassation, 23 December 2010, No. RG 717/2010

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
No. RG 717/2010
Court Name:
Corte di Cassazione Prima Sezione Civile
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The existence of a risk of persecution in the country of origin should be assessed on the basis of information concerning the country of origin rather than on the basis of the credibility of the asylum seeker.


The Applicant, a Nigerian citizen, had submitted a request for international protection which was rejected. Following an appeal, the Court upheld the decision taken by the administrative authorities, stating that there was no evidence to support any fear of persecution. The Appeal Court to which the appeal was then submitted upheld this decision and pointed on the one hand to the general and vague nature of the Applicant statements and, on the other, to the absence of evidence to support a request for international protection.

The Applicant then submitted an appeal to the Court of Cassation.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Court of Cassation ruled that the Appeal Court had been mistaken in considering that the main and decisive criterion was the credibility of the Applicant and that the burden of proof lay on him. In fact, according to the Court, the risk of persecution should be assessed on the basis of ‘external’ and ‘objective’ information concerning the country of origin. Any assessment of personal qualities such as credibility is only relevant for evaluating the situation of the Applicant within the overall context.


The Court of Cassation quashed the judgment and sent it back to the Appeal Court for reconsideration in light of the principle stated above.