Spain - Supreme Court, 12 July 2012, Nº 5114/2012

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
Court Name:
Supreme Court. Chamber for Contentious Administrative Proceedings, third section (Rapporteur: María Isabel Perelló Doménech)
National / Other Legislative Provisions:
Spain - Ley 5/1984, de 26 de marzo, reguladora del derecho de asilo y de la condición de refugiado (Act regulating the right to asylum and refugee status)
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The case refers to an appeal to the Supreme Court brought by the appellant against the High National Court’s decision to reject the appellant’s administrative appeal against the denial of his application for refugee status. 

The appellant is a Columbian national and claims to fear political persecution if he is returned to his country because of threats from the FARC group (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia) due to the appellant’s refusal to permit two of his sons to join the armed group.

 The Supreme Court rejects the appeal, affirming the High National Court’s decision to deny asylum.Furthermore, the Supreme Court rejects the appeal for protection on the grounds of humanitarian considerations as contained in Spanish Law.   


The appellant, a Columbian national, bases his fear of returning to his country of origin on his claim of political persecution.He claims that due to his refusal to allow two of his sons to join the FARC (Revolutional Armed Forces of Columbia) armed group, the guerrilla group has threatened him, one of his sons has been murdered and a nephew has disappeared.After 6 years of persecution, the appellant decided to leave Columbia. He claims to have a severe fear of suffering personal attacks.

Furthermore, in his appeal the appellant claims and provides proof of personal circumstances that support his right to remain in Spain on grounds of humanitarian considerations.In effect, he claims that he is an elderly person, with ill-health and needs a continual supply of oxygen on a daily basis.Therefore, he affirms that if he were to return to his country of origin, not only would he be in danger of political persecution but he would be completely helpless as it would be impossible for him to receive the necessary treatment.

Decision & Reasoning: 

The appellant provides two reasons for appealing the contested decision:firstly, he affirms that he has provided sufficient evidence of the persecution he suffered. This is by virtue of case law on the unenforceability of requirements for conclusive proof and the sufficiency of circumstantial evidence in relation to asylum.


Secondly, in case the denial of asylum is upheld, he claims to have provided evidence of conditions that give him the right to remain in Spain on grounds of humanitarian considerations.


In relation to the first reason, the Supreme Court affirms the denial of asylum, deeming the appellant's narrative of persecution to be contradictory, incoherent and implausible, and furthermore without sufficient supporting or circumstantial evidence.In particular, the Supreme Court highlighted the appellant’s inability to challenge the decisions of the Government and the High National Court, by not refuting their respective reasoning’s or clarifying the alleged contradictions.


In regards to the second reason for appeal, the appellant claims to have provided evidence of personal circumstances to support his right to reside in Spain on grounds of humanitarian considerations, namely, the fear of suffering personal attacks if he was to return to Columbia.The Supreme Court rejects his petition as it deems that the appellant has not provided a basis to allow this permission to be granted.In this sense, the Supreme Court abides by the same definition of “serious harm” contained in Article15(c) of the Qualification Directive, as well as the CJEU’s interpretation in case C-465/07, to affirm the non-existence of an armed conflict in Columbia (that is, a situation of widespread violence).In effect, according to the arguments raised, the Supreme Court deems that the violent situation that exists in some areas of Columbia does not extend to the whole territory or affect the entire population.Furthermore, it emphasises the implausibility of the appellant’s narrative, as well as his inability to provide evidence of a real risk of serious threats to his life and physical integrity in the event of his returning to his country.Therefore, the Supreme Court’s assessment is that in this particular case there are no grounds for humanitarian considerations which justify the appellant’s right to reside in Spain.  


The Supreme Court rejects the appeal.


The subject of this appeal is the High National Court’s (section 8) judgment of 21st October 2011, which rejected administrative appeal number 443/06 brought by the appellant against the Ministry of the Interior’s decision of 22nd July 2005 to refuse to recognise refugee status.

It should be noted that originally the case referred to protection on grounds of humanitarian considerations, whilst the Supreme Court in its ruling makes mention of the Qualification Directive and the concept of subsidiary protection.This is because at the start of the case Spain still had not incorporated into its internal legal system the concept of subsidiary protection and there was only protection on grounds of humanitarian considerations in Article 17(2) of the then valid Asylum Law.

Case Law Cited: 

Spain - High National Court, 14 July 2006, nº 449/2006

Spain - High National Court, 14 December 2007, No. 847/2005

Spain - High National Court, 22 February 2008, nº 832/2005

Spain - Supreme Court, 22 December 2006, No. 2956/03