ECtHR decision in R.J. v France, Application No. 10466/11, 19 September 2013

Friday, October 4, 2013

The applicant is a Tamil from Sri Lanka who sought asylum in France on 2nd February 2011. He claims that he was persecuted by the Sri Lankan authorities because of his origin and his political activities in support of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). He also claims that, while acting as treasurer of a trade union, he paid part of its assets to the LTTE. He was arrested by the authorities and, he claims, subjected to physical abuse while in detention. The day after he arrived in France, the applicant obtained a medical certificate that purported to demonstrate evidence of physical abuse. On 7 June 2011 the French Agency for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA) rejected his asylum application.

The applicant alleged before the ECtHR that the enforcement of the order for his removal would place him at risk of treatment contrary to Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment). The Court considered the case to turn on the credibility of the applicant's evidence, and regarded the relevant principles of law as settled. While the Court shared the French government's doubts as to the applicant's claims concerning detention conditions and financial support for the LTTE, the Court found that the French government had failed to effectively rebut the strong presumption raised by the medical certificate of treatment contrary to Article 3. Despite a Rule 39 Interim Measure by the ECtHR requesting government inquiry into the origin and nature of the applicant's wounds, no such inquiry was conducted. The Court accordingly found that the forced return of the applicant to Sri Lanka would constitute a violation of Article 3.

Read the full text of the judgment (French version only) on the Court's website.

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Credibility assessment
Medical Reports/Medico-legal Reports
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
United Kingdom