Applicants are two Syrian Kurds who entered Switzerland on Syrian passports and claimed asylum, but the asylum application was rejected. They subsequently claimed recognition as stateless persons, but that request failed too.
The applicant was born in Armenia and belongs to Yazidis minority. After many years of unlawful residence in Austria, and several unsuccessful attempts to deport him, he applied for a toleration permit, which was refused as he did not cooperate sufficiently with the authorities' attempts to obtain travel documents for him to travel to Armenia, and there is also a possibility he may be a Russian or a Ukrainian national. The Court sided with the applicant, stating that it was the authorities' responsibility to substantiate any presumed links between the applicant and a specific state, before the duty to cooperate could be imposed.
The applicant was born in Syria, where he was involved in violence in the context of an armed conflict. During his life in France he was convicted if multiple crimes and served prison sentences. His application for the statelessness status was rejected for two reasons - firstly, he did not show sufficient efforts to obtain or confirm his Syrian nationality, and secondly he fell under the exclusion clauses of the 1954 Convention - the latter having been the reason for rejecting his asylum claim too. The Court upheld the administrative decision on both grounds.
The applicant claimed to have been born in Kuwait to parents of Palestinian origin. OFPRA denied him stateless status on the basis that neither his Palestinian origin nor his place of birth being Kuwait could be confirmed, and the Court upheld this administrative decision. The Court also ruled that Palestinians who are outside of the UNRWA territory are in principle not excluded from protection under the 1954 Convention.
The Supreme Court decision laid down the principle according to which the statelessness determination procedure requires evidence of: (i) the lack of nationality of the State with which the person has significant connections and (ii) the legal or factual impossibility of obtaining the nationality of that State.
The appellant requested the revocation of a deportation order on the grounds that he was stateless. The appeal raises two points of principle: first, the standard of proof applicable to the determination of whether a person qualifies for the status of a stateless person as defined in the 1954 Convention; and secondly, the relevance of a finding that a person is stateless for the purposes of revocation of a deportation order. The court determined that a person claiming to be stateless must provide evidence satisfying the standard of balance of probabilities.