ECtHR inadmissibility decision in L.H. and V.S. v. Belgium (no. 67429/10) [Article 8 ECHR]

Friday, October 4, 2013

The applicants are an Armenian couple who entered Belgium in 2010 and applied for asylum. At the initial interview aimed at determining their situation regarding the Dublin Regulation, they declared that the parents of one of them lived in Belgium. The Belgian authorities found out that both applicants had obtained visas from the Italian embassy in Armenia before arriving in Belgium, although they had never travelled to Italy. The Belgian authorities ordered the applicants to leave the country. The applicants requested the suspension of this order invoking Articles 8 and 13 of the Convention, alleging that such order interfered with their right to family life as it involved their separation from the parents of one of them, with whom they lived. Their application was dismissed. The applicants also applied unsuccessfully for regularisation on medical grounds. They were placed in a detention centre and in February 2011 they were sent to Italy, where they live in an open reception centre.
Before the Court, the applicants argued that their transfer to Italy has separated them from their family in Belgium and has thus constituted a violation of their right to family life arguing, in particular, that the Belgian authorities had relied on the definition of family given by Article 2 of the Dublin Regulation, while the concept of "family life" protected by Article 8 ECHR may comprise family members in a larger sense.  They alleged that they had established particularly strong dependency bonds to the parents of one of them with whom they lived in Belgium.
The Court recalls that the notion of family life under Article 8 is a factual question which, a priori, is not limited to the definition of Article 2 of the Dublin Regulation. However, family bonds between adults are not protected under Article 8 save in the presence of additional elements of dependency. In the case of asylum seekers, the particularities of their status and their factual situation may be taken into account when establishing the existence of such elements. Nevertheless, the Court considers in that, in this case, the Belgian authorities had taken into account the applicants' family life under Article 8 of the Convention and that the applicants had not brought before the Court elements to substantiate their allegations under Article 8. Therefore, the complaint is declared inadmissible. Other complaints under Article 5 are declared inadmissible as well.

The Weekly Legal Update  and EDAL would like to thank Belgian ELENA Coordinator Tristan Wibault for sharing this information.

Read the full text of the decision on the website of the European Court of Human Rights.

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Dependant (Dependent person)
Dublin Transfer
Family unity (right to)