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Germany
Country of Decision : Germany
Court Name : DE: Regional Administrative Court [Verwaltungsgerichte]
Date of decision : 26/08/2020
Type : Judgment
ECLI : DE: VGKARLS: 2020: 0826.A1K1026.20.00
Case Number/Citation/ Document Symbol : A 1 K 1026/20

Applicant (Iraq) v Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)

Iraq

DE: Regional Administrative Court stated that transfer period under Dublin Regulation can be interrupted by an official suspension of the execution of the transfer order due to transfer obstacles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The applicant is an Iraqi national who arrived to Germany in December 2019 via Greece and Austria and applied for asylum. The Eurodac check revealed that the applicant had previously applied for asylum in Austria and the Federal Office (BAMF)  issued a decision in February 2020 to declare his application in Germany as inadmissible and to transfer him back to Austria under the Dublin Regulation. The applicant appealed the decision, claiming that he was at risk of ill treatment in Austria, that in case of return from Austria to Iraq he would be subject to abuse and that due to the COVID-19 outbreak, a specific individual assurance from Austria was necessary. On 9 June 2020 the Federal Office informed the applicant that the transfer back to Austria would be suspended until further notice due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and on 26 June 2020 the Federal Office lifted the suspension of the transfer. In August 2020 the applicant filed for an interim order from the Regional Court in Karlsruhe to stop the transfer until the finalization of the appeal procedure. The applicant also argued that the transfer period that had started with Austria accepting the transfer request of German authorities has expired after the standard period of 6 months.

The court dismissed the applicant’s appeal and stated that the transfer decision was lawful.  The court stated that the suspension of the transfer was in response to border closings during the COVID-19 pandemic was lawful. If legal proceedings are pending, it has the effect that the transfer period is interrupted and the responsibility for determining the asylum application does not pass to the Federal Republic of Germany after the original deadline. It is the task of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees to keep a transfer order under control until it is implemented. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees can react to the occurrence of an actual obstacle to deportation by suspending enforcement and even grant temporary (official) legal protection. The suspension of the transfer does not therefore require that it serves to provide effective judicial protection. An obstacle to the transfer can result from the border closings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19/Emergency measures; Dublin procedure;

Dublin Regulation III (Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for IP);

EASO Courts and Tribunals Network

Germany, Regional Administrative Court [Verwaltungsgerichte], Applicant (Iraq) v Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), A 1 K 1026/20, DE: VGKARLS: 2020: 0826.A1K1026.20.00, 26 August 2020. Link redirects to the English summary in the EASO Case Law Database.

https://caselaw.easo.europa.eu/pages/viewcaselaw.aspx?CaseLawID=1365