ECtHR- Labsi v. Slovakia, Application no. 33809/08, 24 September 2012

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Country of Applicant: 
Algeria
Date of Decision: 
24-09-2012
Citation: 
ECtHR- Labsi v. Slovakia, Application no. 33809/08, 24 September 2012
Court Name: 
European Court of Human Rights Third Chamber
Headnote: 

The European Court of Human Rights held that the expulsion of an Algerian national from Slovakia to Algeria, in contempt of an interim measure issued by the Court, was in violation of Articles 3, 13 and 34 of the Convention.

Facts: 

The applicant, an Algerian national, was found guilty of involvement in terrorist acts in France, received a five-year sentence and was excluded from the territory of France.  Following his release, he travelled to Slovakia where he applied three times for asylum, without succeeding. His appeals arguing the risk of ill-treatment or of a death sentence upon return as well his family ties in Slovakia were rejected. The Supreme Court upheld that decision. In 2006, the Slovakian immigration authorities ordered his expulsion and banned him from re-entering the country for ten years. Following this decision, the Algerian authorities requested his extradition to Algeria where in 2005 he had been sentenced in his absence to life imprisonment for membership of a terrorist organisation and forgery. The Bratislava Regional Court gave its consent to the applicant’s extradition to Algeria, decision that was later approved by the Supreme Court.  In 2008 the Slovak Supreme Court ruled that the applicant could not be extradited to Algeria owing to the risk that he would be subjected to torture and the European Court issued an interim measure under Rule 39 of its Rules requiring the Slovak authorities not to extradite him. In March 2010 the Supreme Court upheld the immigration authorities’ original decision in 2006 to expel the applicant after finding that he represented a safety risk in Slovakia on account of his involvement in terrorism.  The European Court specifically informed the Slovak Government that the Rule 39 interim measure remained in force pending a possible constitutional complaint by the applicant. The applicant was nevertheless expelled to Algeria three days later. 

Decision & Reasoning: 

Taking cue from its jurisprudence and international reports on Algeria, the Court highlighted the real risk of ill-treatment to which individuals suspected of terrorist activities were exposed while in the hands of the Department of Intelligence and Security (DRS) [125]. Citing H.R. v. France (no. 64780/09), the Court specified that the risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 resulted from the continued practice of the DRS of gathering information from people suspected or convicted of terrorist activities using methods which had been denounced by a number of international reports, practice that was still used in this country [127]. Accordingly, at the time of his expulsion, there were substantial reasons for believing that the applicant faced a risk of being subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3 of the Convention in his country of origin [128]. Further, the applicant had reportedly been detained by the Algerian Intelligence for twelve days following his return to Algeria and there had been no follow-up to the request for a visit by a Slovak official to check compliance with the Algerian authorities’ assurances as regards his treatment [130]. Therefore, it found a violation of Article 3 of the Convention [132].

With regards to the applicant’s complaint under Article 13 of the Convention, the Court noted that his expulsion to Algeria just one working day after the Supreme Court’s judgement of March 2010 had deprived him of an effective remedy against this decision, preventing him from attempting to obtain redress by means of a constitutional complaint following the final decision given in the asylum proceedings [138]. It therefore found a violation of Article 13 of the Convention [140].

Turning to the applicant’s complaint under Article 34, the Court noted that his expulsion prevented it from examining his complaints and protecting him under Article 3, despite the fact that it issued an interim measure [150]. Accordingly, it found a violation of Article 34 [151].

Outcome: 

Violation of Article 3

Violation of Article 13

Violation of Article 34

Subsequent Proceedings : 

The CoE Committee of Ministers adopted two decisions wherein it considered no further individual execution measures to be necessary since the applicant had been released from Algerian prison in May 2012, and assurances had been given that he is free and enjoying all his constitutional rights. With regard to general measures, on the one hand the CM accepted the position of the Slovakian Government that violations of Arts. 3 and 34 found by the Court had been exceptional; On the other hand, the CM urged the Government to put in a place a remedy with automatic suspensive effect as required by Art. 13. 

Case Law Cited: 

ECtHR- Mostafa and Others v. Turkey, Application No. 16348/05

ECtHR - Daoudi v. France, Application No. 19576/08

ECtHR - Mamatkulov Askarov v Turkey, Applications nos. 46827/99 and 46951/99

ECtHR - Shamayev v Georgia (April 2005) (Application no. 36378/02)

ECtHR - Ismoilov v Russia (2008) (Application no. 2947/06)

ECtHR - Ben Khemais v. Italy, Application No. 246/07

ECtHR - Boutagni v. France, Application No. 42360/08

ECtHR - Garayev v. Azerbaijan, Application No. 53688/08

ECtHR- Aoulmi v. France, Application No. 50278/99

ECtHR - Khaydarov v. Russia, Application No. 21055/09

ECtHR - Koktysh v. Ukraine, Application No. 43707/07

ECtHR - Paladi v. Moldova [GC], Application No. 39806/05

ECtHR - H.R. v France, Application No. 64780/09

ECtHR - Olaechea Cahuas v. Spain, (no. 24668/03)

ECtHR - Toumi v. Italy, (no. 25716/09)

ECtHR- Post v. the Netherlands (dec.), Application No. 21727/08
Other sources cited: 

United Nations, Third periodic report of Algeria submitted under Article 40 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 2008

UN Committee against Torture , Concluding observations in respect of the third periodic report submitted by Algeria under Article 19 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Amnesty International Report 2011: The State of World’s Human Rights, 2011

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights(ICCPR)- Article 40

Authentic Language: 
English
State Party: 
Slovakia
National / Other Legislative Provisions: 
Slovakia- The Asylum Act 2002
Slovakia- The Bar Act 2003
Slovakia- The Constitutional Court Act 1993