ECtHR - Kebe and Others v. Ukraine (no. 12552/12) [Articles 3 and 13], 12 January 2017

Thursday, January 12, 2017

On 12 January 2017, the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in Kebe and Others v. Ukraine (no. 12552/12) concerning two Eritrean nationals and one Ethiopian national who attempted to claim asylum in Ukraine.
The applicants had arrived in the port of Mykolayiv in Ukraine in February 2012 after they had stowed themselves away on a commercial vessel flying the Maltese flag. They complained that when the ship they were travelling on had arrived in Ukraine, border guards had prevented them from entering Ukraine, stopped them from lodging claims for asylum, and exposed them to the risk of ill-treatment in their countries of origin by ensuring that they remained on the vessel (which was headed to Saudi Arabia). They also complained that they had had no opportunity to use a domestic legal procedure to address these actions. The Court struck out the application in so far as it concerned two applicants: one of the applicants had died in the course of proceedings (and no family member had applied to continue the case); and one applicant had ended contact with his lawyer in 2014.
In the case of the third applicant Mr Kebe, the Court held that, after it had indicated an interim measure in March 2012, the applicant had been allowed to leave the ship and make an asylum application in Ukraine. He was therefore no longer at immediate risk of ill-treatment in his country of origin and there had been no violation of Article 3 of the Convention.
The Court held that there had been a violation of the third applicant’s right to an effective remedy under Article 13 taken in conjunction with Article 3 of the Convention. Prior to the Court’s interim measure, the border guards had prevented the applicant from disembarking in Ukraine, which made him liable to be removed from Ukraine at any time without having his claim of potential ill-treatment being examined by the authorities.


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Effective access to procedures
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment