Applicant is a refugee from Vietnam, whose refugee status was withdrawn after a number of criminal convictions, combined with the fact that he made a safe trip to Vietnam. He applied for a travel document for foreigners claiming that he is stateless or at least that his nationality status is unclear. The authorities maintained that he was still a Vietnamese national, but the Court sided with the applicant, insisting that the authorities should have taken more factors into account in considering the applicant's potential statelessness.
The judgment relies on earlier Constitutional Court judgments that have established that stateless persons who lost their nationality involuntarily and demonstrated that they do not have the right to permanent legal residence elsewhere should get residence rights in Belgium on an equal footing with refugees, and that the necessary national legislation is lacking to give effect to such rights. The applicant has a criminal record and was denied residence rights on that basis, but the Court ruled that criminal convictions are irrelevant for his residence rights, and ordered authorities to regularise his residence until new legislation comes to force that regulates the stateless persons' right to residence.
The applicant moved to Ukraine in 2005 from Transnistria, a disputed territory of Moldova, and lived in Ukraine for 14 years with his long-term partner and her children and grandchildren, before receiving a deportation order to Moldova. He disputed the deportation order on the basis of being stateless, having no connection to Moldova, and having a family and private life in Ukraine that are protected under article 8 ECHR. The first two instance courts rejected the applicant's claim, but the Supreme Court of Administrative Cassation ruled in favour of the applicant on the basis of new evidence from the Consulate of Moldova confirming he is not a national of Moldova.