Applicant (Pakistan) v Ministry of the Interior (Ministero dell'Interno)
IT: The court ruled that informal readmissions to Slovenia are illegal.
The applicant is a Pakistani national, who explained that in mid-July 2020 he reached Italy at the Trieste border after a very long journey through the so-called ‘Balkan route’ and suffered violence and inhuman treatment at the Croatian border. He fled his country after being persecuted on account of his sexual orientation. He arrived in Italy to make an application for international protection and in the space of a few hours he was rejected to Slovenia, in the absence of any measures, then to Croatia and subsequently to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where he had no support. He also suffered violence from the Slovenian authorities and inhumane treatment by the Croatian authorities during the chain refoulement and had not been able to apply for international protection in neither of these countries.
He stated that he had arrived in Italy with a group of Pakistani who were all willing to apply for international protection and that, when approached by police in civilian clothes all of them provided information regarding their origin and expressed their willingness to apply for asylum. They had been taken to a police station, asked to sign certain documents in Italian and then loaded into a van and taken to a hilly area on the Slovenian border.
The court ruled that pushbacks to Slovenia in accordance to the informal readmissions agreements are illegal. It noted that there is no doubt that the compulsory repatriation in Slovenia affects the legal position of the persons concerned, with the result that, in accordance with Articles 2 and 3 of Law No 241/90, the return of the person concerned must be ordered by reasoned administrative decision, notified to the person concerned and open to challenge before the judicial authorities as otherwise the person is left without effective judicial remedy. The court observed that the Italian State should not have initiated informal refusals in the absence of guarantees as to the effective treatment that foreigners would have received in Slovenia with regard to respect for their fundamental rights, the right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment and the right to lodge an application for international protection. It also held that the Ministry was in a position to know, in the light of the reports and investigations of the most important international press outlets, the reports of NGOs on the ground, the UNHCR resolutions and, most recently, the letter of 7 December 2020 from the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights on the situation of migrants in Bosnia, that readmission to Slovenia would in turn result in informal readmission to Croatia and return to Bosnia, as well as the fact that migrants would be subjected to ill-treatment by the police. The court also cited case law from the CJEU and ECtHR on the prohibition of chain refoulement. Thus, the court concluded that the conduct of the Italian authorities was contrary to its obligations under national law and international law.
Access to procedures; Non-refoulement;
ASGI (Associazione Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione)
Italy, Civil Court [Tribunali], Applicant (Pakistan) v Ministry of the Interior (Ministero dell'Interno), R.G. 56420/2020, 18 January 2021. Link redirects to the English summary in the EASO Case Law Database.