ECtHR- A.F. v. France, Application no. 80086/13, 15 April 2015

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Country of Applicant: 
Date of Decision: 
A.F. v. France, Application no. 80086/13, 15 April 2015
Court Name: 
European Court of Human Rights Fifth Chamber

The case relates to a Sudanese national of Tunjur origin who claimed a risk of being subjected to ill-treatment if expelled to Sudan on the grounds of his ethnic origin and supposed ties with the JEM, the rebels’ movement against the regime in Sudan. 


The applicant is a Sudanese national of Tunjur ethnicity who lives in Mulhouse (France). He left Sudan on 10 March 2010, after being arrested, detained and beaten by the Sudanese security services on several occasions because of his participation in discussion groups in his University on the violence perpetuated by the regime. On arriving in France he applied for asylum, but his application was rejected by the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA). He lodged an appeal with the National Court of Asylum (CNDA), in support of which he submitted numerous documents, namely a medical certificate reporting that his scars were compatible with his allegations of torture, a certificate confirming his membership of the ethnic group Tunjur and a letter from JEM certifying that he was the subject of prosecutions and repeated arrests. On 28 March 2012, the CNDA upheld OFPRA’s decision to reject his application.

On 31 July 2013, the applicant was served with an order to leave the French territory, which he unsuccessfully appeal against before the Administrative Court of Strasbourg.

After attempting to submit an asylum application under a false identity, he was arrested on 10 December 2013 and placed in a detention centre on the same day.

On 19 December 2013, the applicant applied to the ECtHR for an interim measure under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. An interim measure was granted for the duration of the proceedings before the Court.

Decision & Reasoning: 

Turning to Article 3 and the submissions by the applicant that in case of deportation to Sudan he would risk being subjected to ill-treatment, the Court noted that this risk should be examined based on the general situation of the country and the specific allegations of the applicant (Saadi v. the United Kingdom). Concerning the general situation in Sudan, the Court had recently pointed out in A.A. v. Switzerland the alarming situation in the country for political opponents of the regime, which had been deteriorating since the beginning of 2014 [49]. The Court further mentioned international reports demonstrating that mere membership of an individual to a non-Arab ethnic group in Darfur entails for the latter a risk of persecution, excluding any possibility of relocation within the country [50].

Reiterating much of the situational evidence presented in international reports, including the distrust that the Sudanese authorities viewed Darfuris with upon return to Sudan, the Court firstly noted that the French Government had not presented motivated reasons for doubting the applicant’s ethnicity, a first ground for persecution [52]. Secondly, given the corroboration of the applicant’s submissions with international documentation and medical certification, the incoherencies referenced by the government were not sufficient to question A.F.’s credibility [55]. Moreover, and with regards to a second asylum application that A.F. made under a false name, the Court concluded that the risks of persecution advanced by the applicant were consistent with the first application [56]. Thus, given A.F.’s profile and systemic violence towards ethnic Darfuri, return to Sudan would constitute an Article 3 violation [58].


Violation of Article 3 in case of return of the applicant to Sudan

Case Law Cited: 

Klaas and Others v. Germany, no. 5029/71

W.M. v. France , no 13134/10

R.S. v. France , no 50254/09

ECtHR - Mo P. v. France, Application No. 55787/09

ECtHR - N. v Sweden, 20 July 2010, no. 23505/09

ECtHR - Collins and Akaziebe v Sweden (Application no. 23944/05)
Other sources cited: 

International Crisis Group, Darfur’s New Security Reality (Africa Report no 134), November 2007

United Kingdom Home Office, Country of Origin Information Bulletin – Sudan: The Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Attack on Omdurman, 10 May 2008

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Eleventh periodic report on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, 23 January 2009

Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Kalma Outrage Victims Demand Investigation, 17 December 2008

Human Rights Watch, Darfur: UN Should End Silence on Rights Abuses, 21 August 2014

UN News Service, Darfur: UN official urges support for peace process amid unfolding new dynamics, 24 April 2014

United Kingdom Home Office, Country of Origin Information Report- Sudan, 11 September 2012

United Kingdom: Home Office, Operational Guidance Note: Sudan, August 2012

United States’ Department of State,2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – Sudan, 19 April 2013







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