Netherlands: The Hague District Court – Dublin Transfer to Lithuania

Friday, June 3, 2016

In a judgment of 3 June 2016, The Hague District Court ruled on the subject of a Dublin transfer to Lithuania.
The case relates to a national of Tajikistan, who arrived in the Netherlands through Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Lithuania. As the applicant’s Schengen visa had been issued by Lithuania, the State Secretary of Security and Justice submitted a take back request to the Lithuanian authorities, which was subsequently accepted.
The applicant claimed that the principle of mutual trust within the framework of the Dublin Regulation should not have been applied with regards to Lithuania. In this regard, the applicant referred to the US Department of State report entitled ‘Country report on Human Rights Practices for 2015’ of April 2015. According to this report, the Lithuanian authorities, as a matter of policy, had previously barred asylum seekers coming from Safe Third Countries and Safe Countries of Origin and would return asylum seekers to such countries without reviewing the substantive merits of their asylum applications.
This practice was confirmed by the State Secretary. The State Secretary, however, claimed that it was the responsibility of the asylum seeker to demonstrate to what extent this practice similarly applied to his individual circumstances.   
The Court ruled against the State Secretary. According to the Court, the aforementioned report had revealed that certain groups of asylum seekers would be subjected to (indirect) refoulement. Most notably, the report had confirmed that this was ‘a matter of policy’. In view of this, the State Secretary had the obligation to further investigate the application of this practice in Lithuania with regards to the absolute character of Article 3 ECHR. The Court obliged the Secretary of State to take a new decision in light of the present ruling.
Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update.


This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update supported by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Funding Programme and distributed by email. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE, the IRC or its partners.



Indirect refoulement
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Safe country of origin
Safe third country