Protection under the European Convention on Human Rights – Oasis for Asylum Seekers in Europe?

Even though the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) does not explicitly address the rights of asylum seekers and refugees, the case law of the European Human Rights Court (ECtHR) confirms that their rights can be successfully defended under this mechanism. In parallel, in its evolving jurisprudence on asylum the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) refers to the Strasbourg case law, where there is a certain interrelationship between these two jurisdictions, in particular given the recent ECtHR pronouncement on “EU Dublin transfers”. The article aims at evaluating protection available for asylum seekers and refugees under the ECHR, while comparing it with protection of asylum relevant fundamental rights under the EU legal order and the most recent jurisprudence of the CJEU in asylum cases. The authors also analyze which of the two systems is more favourable and what are their limitations. Thus, the article offers to students and practitioners a detailed analysis of ECtHR and CJEU jurisprudence in asylum cases through a comparative perspective, as well as the key problematic aspects arising in both jurisdictions and their junction. The jurisprudence of the ECtHR reveals that despite the most developed protection from expulsion under Article 3 of the ECHR, it does not sufficiently secure status for the concerned persons. Effective remedy requirements under the ECHR allow for filling the gaps of national asylum procedures, while recognition of vulnerability and special status of asylum seekers by the ECtHR assist in addressing still commonly prevailing detention problems of asylum seekers in Europe. In the context of family protection, the recognition of positive obligations by states to reunite the refugee families is still rudimentary, thus, clearly Article 3 protection in expulsion cases takes over Article 8. At the same time, the jurisprudence of the CJEU in asylum cases is still inconsistent, as the court sometimes takes decisions without including human rights into its’ analysis (Kadzoev, Arslan, K.), while in other cases refers to the Charter (MA and others), verifies if its’ own decision is in line with the ECtHR jurisprudence (Elgafaji) or shapes secondary legislation in line with Strasbourg arguments and findings (N.S.). Quite likely, the ECtHR practice will have an important influence on the developments of subsidiary protection in the EU, at least in the context of Articles 2 and 3 of the ECHR, and serve as an important reference for interpretation of various concepts under the EU Qualification and Procedures Directives. The comparative analysis of pros and cons of the two mechanisms demonstrates that the main advantage of the ECtHR is individual justice possibility, which is not yet accessible under CJEU preliminary judgement procedure and its input in developing asylum law concepts, such as non-state agents of persecution, internal protection or even subsidiary protection regime under EU asylum law. Thanks to the ECtHR, the realistic possibility to question the application of certain EU norms has emerged (Dublin Regulation). While the ECtHR does not have such a specific competence over asylum issues as the CJEU and is clearly a slow and seriously overburdened mechanism, the pilot judgement procedure seems to be increasingly capable of providing guidelines to the states concerning systematic problems in their asylum procedures. Thus, both jurisdictions in their own ways contribute to strengthening asylum seekers’ protection while forming a common oasis for these individuals in Europe
Keywords Europos Sąjungus Teisingumo Teismas  ECHR  prašymas pateikti prejudicinį sprendimą  prieglobstis  Charter  Europos Sąjungos prieglobsčio teisynas  Europos žmogaus teisių konvencija  Europos Žmogaus Teisių Teismas  request for preliminary ruling  Chartija  asylum  EU asylum acquis
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DOI 10.13165/JUR-13-20-3-03
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