ECtHR - R.J. v. France, Application No. 10466/11

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Country of Applicant: 
Sri Lanka
Date of Decision: 
Application No. 10466/11
Court Name: 
Fifth Section; European Court of Human Rights

The French authorities’ failure to conduct an adequate inquiry into the Applicant’s medical evidence resulted their dismissal of the credibility of the Tamil applicant, who, according to the ECtHR, would face a real risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 if returned to Sri Lanka.


The Applicant is a Tamil from Sri Lanka who sought asylum in France on 2nd February 2011. He claims that he was persecuted by the Sri Lankan authorities because of his origin and his political activities in support of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). He also claims that, while acting as treasurer of a trade union, he paid part of its assets to the LTTE. He was arrested by the authorities and, he claims, subjected to physical abuse while in detention. The day after he arrived in France, the Applicant obtained a medical certificate that purported to demonstrate evidence of physical abuse.

On 7 June 2011 the French Agency for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) rejected his asylum application.

The Applicant alleged before the ECtHR that the enforcement of the order for his removal would place him at risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment). 

Decision & Reasoning: 

The Court considered the case to turn on the credibility of the Applicant's evidence, and regarded the relevant principles of law as settled. While the Court shared the French government's doubts as to the applicant's claims concerning detention conditions and financial support for the LTTE, the Court found that the French government had failed to effectively rebut the strong presumption raised by the medical certificate of treatment contrary to Article 3. Despite a Rule 39 Interim Measure by the ECtHR requesting government inquiry into the origin and nature of the Applicant's wounds, no such inquiry was conducted.

The Court accordingly found that the forced return of the applicant to Sri Lanka would constitute a violation of Article 3.


The Court found that a return to Sri Lanka risked a violation of Article 3.

Case Law Cited: 

ECtHR - F.N. and Another v. Sweden, Application No. 28774/09

ECtHR - E.G. v. United Kingdom, Application No. 41178/08

ECtHR - T.N. v. Denmark, Application No. 20594/08

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

ECtHR - Klaas v Germany, Application No. 15473/89

ECtHR - Chalal v. the United Kingdom, Application No. 1948/04

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

ECtHR - Collins and Akaziebe v Sweden (Application no. 23944/05)
Other sources cited: 
  • Report on human rights in Sri Lanka of U.S. State Department April 8, 2011;
  • Country of Origin Information Report of the UK Home Office 4  July, 2011.
Authentic Language: 
State Party: 
National / Other Legislative Provisions: 
France - Ceseda (Code of the Entry and Stay of Foreigners and Asylum Law) - Art L.712-1