The applicant originates from former Soviet Union, and has lived in Luxembourg since 2004, unsuccessfully applying for the recognition of a statelessness status on numerous occasions. His identity has never been confirmed, and there were doubts as to the credibility of his testimony stemming from his asylum procedures. The applicant claimed that after 15 years of inability to determine the country of destination for his removal the attempts at deportation should be terminated, and his statelessness recognised, especially considering his poor health condition.
The applicant is of Roma ethnic origin, with parents from former Yugoslavia, who was born, grew up, and worked his whole life in Austria. He has had a permanent residence permit until 1995, when the latter was withdrawn due to applicant's criminal convictions. The Court found the applicant to be stateless, and determined that expulsion of a stateless person without a former country of habitual residence amounts to violation of Article 3 ECHR.
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.
Stateless people should be granted a legal status and identity card during the statelessness determination procedure. The State's failure to grant a right to stay on the territory while waiting for a decision is in violation of the applicant's right to respect for private and family life.