Czech Republic - Supreme Administrative Court, 24 January 2008, E.M. v Ministry of Interior, 4 Azs 99/2007-93

Country of Decision:
Country of Applicant:
Date of Decision:
24-01-2008
Citation:
4 Azs 99/2007 – 93
Court Name:
Supreme Administrative Court
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Headnote: 
 
When assessing if the applicant could seek protection in their country of origin, it is necessary to establish if the solution would be feasible, adequate, rational and sensible. Internal protection is a concept that is applied within the country of origin only and not if that protection exists outside the country of origin.
 
Facts: 
The applicant left the Democratic Republic of Congo and applied for international protection in the Czech Republic, on the grounds that she belonged to the ethnic minority Hema, which was persecuted by the local militia. She further claimed that neither the state authorities, nor international peacekeeping forces were able to prevent this persecution and ensure her safety. The possibility of internal protection was, according to the applicant, prevented by illegal control checkpoints and by poor conditions in refugee camps.

The claim was dismissed by the Ministry of Interior (MOI). The applicant appealed to the Regional Court. This appeal was also dismissed in the decision 56 Az 373/2006 – 51, because the Court found no irregularity in the decision of the MOI and that the previous decision was sufficiently comprehensive. Therefore the applicant brought a cassation complaint to the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC).
 
Decision & Reasoning: 
The SAC overruled both the decision of the MOI and the Regional Court. The SAC primarily disagreed with the reasoning that the applicant could avail herself of protection by fleeing to another part of her country of origin or even outside her country of origin

Regarding the assessment of the situation in the country of origin, the SAC referred to its previous decisions, such as 6 Azs 50/2003-89 or 6 Azs 235/2004-57. In those decisions the Court stated that the applicant was not obliged to prove their persecution by any other means than by their own sworn testimony.

Concerning the existence of an internal protection alternative, the SAC stated that it is necessary to deal with the issue of whether the applicant can access such protection and whether that protection is effective. Furthermore, the Court stated that the two previous decisions did not take into account the fact that the applicant was a single woman.

Furthermore, the Court emphasised that internal protection was limited to the country of origin, dismissing the reasoning of the lower courts that the applicant could flee to a neighbouring country.
 
Outcome: 

Decision of the Regional Court was dismissed.

Subsequent Proceedings : 

Subsequently the MOI decision was overturned by the Regional Court. 

Observations/Comments: 

Case available on the website of the Supreme Administrative Court - www.nssoud.cz