ECtHR - N.A. v Finland - Application no. 25244/18

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Country of Applicant: 
Date of Decision: 
Court Name: 
The European Court of Human Rights

The applicant’s complaint is based on the allegation that her father had not left Finland voluntarily but had been forced to return to Iraq because of the decisions already taken by the Finnish authorities. Those decisions, therefore, engaged the responsibility of Finland for having exposed the applicant’s father to a real risk of death, which ended up happening. Finland’s actions amounted to a violation of Articles 2 and 3 ECHR.


Since 2015, the applicant’s father was seeking international protection in Finland because he was being threatened in his home country, Iraqi.

In October 2017, the applicant’s father appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court requesting leave to appeal and that the court order a stay on his removal. The Supreme Administrative Court did not order a stay on removal and, in November, the court refused the applicant’s father leave to appeal.

Assisted voluntary return was then granted and, after returning to his home country, the Applicant’s father was killed in December 2017.

Decision & Reasoning: 


First, the Government pleaded that the applicant could not be regarded as an indirect victim of the alleged violation concerning her father and that the complaint should be rejected as incompatible ratione personae. The Court noted that, according to its well-established case-law, it may be possible for a person with the requisite legal interest as next-of-kin to introduce an application raising complaints related to the death or disappearance of his or her relative in a situation in which the alleged victim of a violation has died before the introduction of the application. Therefore, the Court considered that being the daughter of the direct victim, the applicant could legitimately claim to be an indirect victim of any omissions in her father’s case.

Secondly, the Government argued that the circumstances of the case did not engage the jurisdiction of Finland, because the applicant’s father had left Finland voluntarily for Iraq, where he had subsequently been killed. Regarding this argument, the Court noted that the applicant’s father left Finland at a time when the Supreme Administrative Court had not granted his request to stay the enforcement of his removal. The removal order was thus enforceable. Consequently, his departure was not voluntary in terms of his free choice.

Finally, the government implied that the applicant’s father had waived his right to protection under Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention. In the circumstances of the case, the Court considered that the applicant’s father did not have a genuinely free choice, which rendered his supposed waiver invalid.

While analysing the merits of the case, the Court found that the domestic authorities and courts were aware, or ought to have been aware, of facts which indicated that the applicant’s father could be exposed to danger to life or a risk of ill‑treatment upon his returning to Iraq. Hence the conclusion of The Court that the Finnish authorities and courts failed to comply with their obligations under Articles 2 and/or 3 of the Convention when dealing with the applicant’s father’s asylum application.



Violation of Article 2 and 3.

Other sources cited: 

Tort Liability Act; Aliens Act; The United Kingdom Home Office’s Country Information and Guidance on the security situation in Iraq; Amnesty International Deutschland’s 2015 Report on Iraq.

Authentic Language: 
State Party: 
National / Other Legislative Provisions: 
Finland - Constitution