B.A.C. v. Greece (no. 11981/15) [Articles 3, 8 and 13], 13 October 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

On 13 October 2016, the European Court of Human Rights gave its judgment in B.A.C. v. Greece (no. 11981/15) concerning the failure of the Greek authorities to process the applicant’s asylum claim and the effect of such a delay on the individual’s right to family life.
The case relates to a Turkish national, who had been waiting for a decision from the Greek authorities regarding his asylum application since 2002. The applicant submitted an application to the ECtHR complaining of an interference with his private life in breach of Article 8 ECHR because he had been living in Greece for 12 years with an uncertain status. He further claimed that he faced a real risk of being subjected to ill-treatment if he were returned to Turkey in violation of Article 3 ECHR. In relation to both these complaints, he also held that he did not have an effective remedy by which to complain of these violations.
In relation to Article 8 ECHR, the Court found that the competent authorities had failed to comply with their positive obligation under Article 8 ECHR to provide an effective and accessible means of protecting the right to private life. This should have been done through appropriate regulations ensuring that the applicant’s asylum application was examined within a reasonable time in order to keep his state of uncertainly to a minimum. In addition, the Court held that there had been a violation of Article 13 ECHR in conjunction with Article 8 ECHR.
In relation to Article 3 ECHR in conjunction with Article 13 ECHR, the Court concluded that there would be a violation of both Articles if the applicant were returned to Turkey without an assessment of his prospective personal circumstances. In their assessment, the Court considered the evidence, submitted by the applicant in support of his asylum application in Greece, as conclusive given previous ill-treatment in Turkey. Moreover, the Court observed that the legal status of the applicant remained uncertain because his asylum application still had to be determined. This put him at risk of sudden removal to Turkey without an effective examination of his asylum claim.  
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.



Effective access to procedures
Effective remedy (right to)
Family unity (right to)
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment